Porgy and Bess

of these articles is concerned with the Folk opera Porgy and Bess, those the collecting main was for the film Porgy and Bess from the year 1959.

Porgy and Bess is an opera in three documents of George Gershwin. Gershwin called the piece “American Folk Opera”, whereby it was to be expressed that Gershwin brought in many elements of American music however to use (without original music of the afroamerikanischen inhabitants). In accordance with the will Gershwins may be specified the piece exclusively by black ones (exception: konzertante performance).

George Gershwin did not attach particular importance to it, with Porgy and Bess a musical, but an opera to have composed, and indeed the piece is close both by the use of the through-composed large form and because of the realistic environment design to the operas of the Verismo much. The piece stands for jazz nevertheless by the use popular the mirror-image ritual -, Blues -, become , and - elements stylistic at the border to the musical.

Many melodies from Porgy and Bess as for instance “I Loves You, Porgy” or” buzzer time “became jazz standards. The latter ranks among the most popular and most frequently played songs at all and by innumerable musicians was taken up.

Music: George Gershwin

libretto: DuBose Heyward and Irish Republican Army Gershwin after the novella “Porgy” of DuBose Heyward (1924) and the play of the same name of DuBose Heyward and Dorothy Heyward (1927)

premiere: Alvin Theatre, New York, 10. October 1935

Spieldauer: approx. 3 hours

place and time of the action: around 1870 in the Catfish Row in Charleston

table of contents


the opera describes the life of Afroamerikanern in the black settlement Catfish Row in Charleston.

The opera developed 1933 - 35 on behalf the Theatre Guild, although Gershwin was fascinated already 1926 by the novel Porgy. The premiere was only moderately successful. Only a second performance series starting from 1942 in New York and the European first performance in Copenhagen (1943, against the resistance of the national socialists) secured success for it. 1952 - a world tour with Leontyne Price in the title part and Cab Calloway followed 55 as Sportin' would run; in the filming from the year 1959 Dorothy Dandridge, Sidney Poitier and Sammy Davis Jr played.


  • Porgy, a crippled black one (Bassbariton)
  • Bess, a young black one (Sopran)
  • Sporting, dealer (tenor) would run
  • Crown, an good-earning, brutal black one (Bariton)
  • Jake, Fischer (Bariton)
  • Clara, its wife (Sopran)
  • crawl in, young Fischer (tenor)
  • Serena, its wife (Sopran)
  • Peter, an old black one (tenor)
  • Maria, its wife (alto)
  • Jim (Bariton)
  • Mingo (tenor)
  • Lily (Mezzosopran)
  • Annie (Mezzosopran)
  • crab salesman (tenor)
  • Mr. Archdale, white attorney (speech role)
  • Simon Frazier, lawyer (Bariton)
  • detective, policeman and Leichenbeschauer (speech roles)
  • inhabitants of the Catfish Row, Fischer, Kinder, Hafenarbeiter.


first act

in the Catfish Row, a residential street for black ones, beggars and criminal ones, dance the inhabitants in the summer evening to the piano. Clara sings the cradle song buzzer time for their child. The Krüppel Porgy appears on its small truck. Porgy inquires about the leichtlebigen Bess. This appears with the hünenhaften, violent Crown. The men sit down to the cube play around money. A controversy develops and for Crown ersticht the Catfish Row - inhabitants crawl in and takes flight. Before the police appears, Porgy of the Bess alone-let now offers assistance and Unterschlupf.

second act

later: An exit and a picknick on Kittiwah Iceland plan Fischer despite the stormy weather. . Porgy does not know financial concerns, it is lucky associated with Bess. Sporting would run tries Bess to persuade the fact that she goes with him to New York, where allegedly a better life waits, but leans Bess off it wants with Porgy to remain. Now it breaks open however together with Maria to the picknick Fischer. On the island Bess meets on Crown, that there keeps themselves hidden and purges to it again. It disappears with it into the forest. Bess turns only two days later gotten sick from the picknick back and confesses opposite Porgy that she cannot resist Crown. While a tempest emerges Crown, which wants to get Bess.

third act

Crown creeps in the night to Porgys dwelling around Bess to kidnap. Porgy ersticht it behind jerk. Serena of the murder is accused of by the police, but all protest their innocence. Porgy refuses identifying the corpse and thereupon because of ignoring the law one week long held. Thereupon Bess purges again to the drug and follows Sporting would run to New York. With its return Porgy Bess does not find and opens themselves to look for it in New York.

famous Schallplattenaufnahmen

total photographs

  • 1951 occupation: Lawrence of winter (Porgy), Camilla Williams (Bess), Columbia Orchestra, conductor: Lehman angel (CBS)
  • 1976 occupation: Wanting pool of broadcasting corporations White (Porgy), Leona Mitchell (Bess), Barbara Hendricks (Clara), François Clemmons (Sporting would run), Cleveland Orchestra, conductor: Lorin Maazel (Decca)
  • 1977 occupation: Donnie Ray Albert (Porgy), Clamma Dale (Bess), Houston Grand Opera Orchestra and Chorus, conductor: John DeMain (RCA)
  • 1997 occupation: Wanting pool of broadcasting corporations White (Porgy), Cynthia Haymon (Bess), Damon Evans (Sporting would run), London Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor: Simon Rattle (EMI)

working on


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