porgy and bess

High Notes On This Day
The Major Opera Recordings of Florence Quivar
Florence Quivar, born on March 3, 1944, is one of the great American mezzos of her time. She first came to love opera upon hearing the Met Opera on tour and then eventually launched on a mission to become a great opera singer in her own right. Her journey took her through the Julliard School, Philadelphia Academy of Music, and then a ton of major opera companies and orchestras including…
High Notes On This Day
The Defining Roles of Simon Estes’ Metropolitan Opera Career
Simon Estes, born on March 2, 1938, did not have an easy career path. While the bass-baritone succeeded in Europe in his early years, the United States didn’t take too well to him. He was only accepted for minor roles at most prominent theaters and it wasn’t until 1981, 16 years after his professional debut, that the Metropolitan Opera offered him a contract. The situation was so challenging for black…
News
Hungarian State Opera To Stage Unauthorized Version Of ‘Porgy And Bess’
The Hungarian State Opera was not authorized to perform "Porgy and Bess" with an all Hungarian cast. According to a press release the company released and an article OperaWire published, the company would be making history by performing with a non-black cast. However, the Tams-Witmark Music Library, which licenses the live stage performing rights for the opera on behalf of the owners of that work, never gave permission to the opera company to do so.…
News
Hungarian State Opera To Break ‘Porgy And Bess’ Rule
The Hungarian State Opera will present a new production of Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess" with a twist. The new production by András Almási-Tóth will break the restriction of almost 40 years that only an all-black cast can perform the piece. According to the Hungarian State Opera's press release, "When George Gershwin’s masterpiece 'Porgy and Bess' was first produced in 1935, some felt aggrieved at the prejudice strengthening against Afro-Americans. Nothing could be further…
High Notes On This Day
The Career Milestones of Leona Mitchell
Leona Mitchell had a tremendous opera career. For years, the soprano, born on Oct. 13, 1949, was a leading singer at the Metropolitan Opera, dominating in such operas as “La Bohème,” “Carmen,” “Don Carlo,” “Die Zauberflöte,” and “La Forza del Destino,” among others. Her first-ever “Madama Butterfly” at the Met was proclaimed  “a wedding of her beautiful, lyric voice to a part made to order for her by nature and…
Opera For Beginners
Opera Profile: Gershwin’s ‘Porgy and Bess’
George Gershwin’s folk opera "Porgy and Bess" has proven itself a piece of American history, having withstood the controversy it garnered for its portrayal of the African American community in Charlestown, South Carolina. Premiering on September 30th 1935, "Porgy and Bess" was noted for its casting of classically-trained African-American singers rather than having actors in blackface. While many felt the opera was racially-insensitive, the care that was put into the…
Interviews Stage Spotlight
Crossing Vast Oceans – Musa Ngqungwana’s Journey From South Africa To Rising Operatic Stardom
From South Africa to America. Between those two countries is a vast ocean and traversing from the former to the latter presents a number of major challenges, not only physical, but emotional and economic. Opera is rife with characters battling the ocean on their way to success or tragedy. Just to name a few are the characters in Jake Heggie's "Moby Dick" and even the fisherman in "Porgy and Bess,"…
News
‘Porgy and Bess’ Confirmed For Metropolitan Opera’s 2019-20 Season
Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” is set for a major Met Opera return during the 2019-20 season. According to an article by the New York Times, the new production will be directed by Bartlett Sher and feature Eric Owens. Owens performed a duet from the opera at the recent Metropolitan Opera 50th anniversary gala celebration and program notes indicated that he would take on the title male lead in an upcoming…
News
14 Brilliant Insights on Art & Music From the Great Maestro Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Nikolaus Harnoncourt would have turned 87 today if not her his passing earlier in 2016. The venerated maestro, well-known as one of the pioneers of early music and historically informed performances. His was an intellect that was constantly in search of experimentation and just listening to a few minutes any of the dozens of recordings he left behind will be inevitably won over. His career spanned over 60 years from…