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Porgy a Bess

Porgy a Bess

wed 19. february 2025, 19:30
Betlémská kaple Betlémské náměstí 1004/8, Prague, cz
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350–550 CZK
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Information about the concert

Porgy and Bess is the first American opera, now one of the world’s most famous. Its premiere in New York in 1935 was not very successful, and the opera did not find a permanent place in the US musical repertoire until after Gershwin’s death. Its subject matter including social themes was apparently too sensitive for the interwar period, as was the need to use opera-trained African Americans. Based on the 1925 novel Porgy by Edwin DuBose Heyward and later adapted into a successful Broadway play, this faithfully rendered story is set in Charleston, South Carolina, in a community of Creole-speaking African Americans. George Gershwin decided to compose in the spirit of this region’s songs and spirituals. Alongside scenes reminiscent of the classics of opera, the style of Porgy and Bess is also created with stylized expressions of the culture of the descendants of black slaves from the American South, including elegies, magical incantations, and the calls of street vendors. Besides these, we can also hear blues, jazz and Gershwin’s typical songs. This opera marked the first time one could hear all these elements alongside each other in an opera. Since their creation, some songs have already established themselves as true hits in their own right and have a life of their own, probably the best example being Summertime. Gershwin thus became not only the composer convincingly opening up the possibilities of combining the two worlds of jazz and classical music in a new way, but also the first to perfectly blend African-American music with European opera.


  • George Gershwin: Porgy and Bess (orchestration by Andrew Litton), 65 min.


Betlémská kaple, Betlémské náměstí 1004/8, Prague
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