Porgy and Bess at SFO

Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess has a really interesting history.  It was always intended as a “grand opera”; pretty much the first American one.  It was written for the Metropolitan Opera but not performed there until 1985 and between it’s Boston debut in 1935 and a production in Houston in 1976 it was virtually always performed in a much cut edition designed for Broadway.  In fact by the time of the Houston production it was being done much at all; being seen as dated and dealing with issues of race that were particularly highly charged in Civil Rights Era America.  It took a bold, young Deneral Manager, David Gockley, and a Gershwin enthusiast, John DeMain, to recreate an opera rather than a musical.  It’s been following them round ever since and so, not very surprisingly, Gockley, now in charge in San Francisco, chose to stage it there last year in a new production by Francesca Zambello with DeMain conducting.

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