Campus News

Porgy and Bess

The Performing Arts Center will present a concert version of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess with live orchestra on Feb. 19 in Hodgson Hall. Tickets are $25–$30 (half-price students), from the box office in the center.

Porgy and Bess premiered in 1935. Gershwin called it a “folk opera,” a folk tale in which people would naturally sing. Today, Porgy and Bess is recognized as a masterpiece of pride and passion with a memorable score that includes “Summertime,” “I Got Plenty o’ Nuttin’,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So” and more.

In the 1950s Porgy and Bess toured Europe, becoming the first opera by a native-born American to be staged at Italy’s famed La Scala; it was that tour that launched the career of Leontyne Price, who led the all-black cast. The Gershwin estate and the terms of Gershwin’s will specify that English-speaking countries may only produce Porgy and Bess with an all-black cast.