Gershwin's 'Porgy and Bess' From the Lyric Opera of Chicago

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Saturday, July 04, 2015

A scene from 'Porgy and Bess'. (Todd Rosenberg /Lyric Opera of Chicago)

Join us at 1 pm for a Fourth of July broadcast of the great American opera Porgy and Bess, recorded this past season at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Directed by Francesca Zambello – who created the production for the Washington National Opera in 2008 – the opera is known for its epic beauty as well as its focus on issues of racial segregation.

A story of redemption, poverty and love, the opera takes place in a lively African-American community of Catfish Row on the South Carolina coast in the 1930s.

The opera stars Eric Owens as Porgy, the kindhearted beggar who is determined to reclaim the woman he loves, and Adina Aaron as Bess, a fun-loving girl who finds love with the sympathetic Porgy. Their relationship is threatened by handsome smooth-talker Crown (Eric Greene) and slimy drug-peddler Sportin’ Life (Jermaine Smith).


Porgy: Eric Owens
Bess: Adina Aaron
Crown: Eric Greene
Sportin’ Life: Jermaine Smith
Clara: Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi
Conductor: Ward Stare
Director: Francesca Zambello

In this clip, Owens talks with host Naomi Lewin about how Porgy can be a "blessing and a curse" and how he approaches the role:


Comments [3]

David from New Jersey

you can the Houston production here:

Nov. 30 2015 01:54 PM
Marilyn from Cambria Heights, NY

Les, I couldn't agree with you more regarding the "strawberry" woman -- a great voice in a miniscule part and, of course the man singing the lines, "I'm talking about the fish I sell." George Gershwin is truly the Great American Composer. The absolutely best production of "Porgy and Bess" that I ever saw was the one that was co-produced by the Houston Grand Opera and the Metropolitan Opera. It came to New York after its run in Houston and was part of the Metropolitan Opera's repertory for two seasons, then hasn't been seen at the Met since. One hopes that the tangible pieces went back to Houston and turns up on their stage occasionally. I believe the Houston cast recorded it on 33 1/3 rpm black vinyl and I don't think it was ever released on CD.

Aug. 08 2015 06:47 PM
Les from Miami, Florida

In addition to the solos and love duet known the world over, I'm as moved to the point of goose flesh with the vignettes "Strawberry Woman" and "Crab Man" that seem so elemental and eons old rather than composed when they were. Extraordinary. It's known Gershwin studied "Die Meistersinger von Nu"rnberg" and "Boris Godunov"; and the choruses in "Porgy and Bess" are equally memorable and gripping to me, such as "Leavin' for the Promise' Lan'", "Oh, Dere's Somebody Knockin' at the Do'"Oh, Lawd, I'm On My Way". (quotations from the vocal score published by Gershwin Publishing Corporation/Chappell & Co,, Inc., New York, New York). I'm not familiar yet with the other cast members, but with Eric Owens as Porgy, who can ask for more?

Jul. 04 2015 09:00 AM

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