Friday, January 02, 2009

Racial Evolution of Porgy and Bess


Gershwin’s play Porgy and Bess, inadvertently highlights the tensions between the races through the decades. This article chronicles how this genius work of art affected American society during its journey to the ultimate goal of “ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL”.

Now that America has succeeded in its struggle to finally cross the barrier of racial divide (once called equal but separate) and elect an African American as its top executive and commander in chief, a look back at this poignant and beautiful work seems apropos.

The music in this opera will forever be remembered and embraced by any who possess the almost magical ability to empathize with other creatures of existence. Once heard you'll never forget songs like, IT AIN’T NECESSARILY SO and SUMMERTIME Thanks to for bringing this to my attention.
Porgy and Bess reflects the odyssey of the African American
in American culture.
--Lawrence Levine
While Porgy and Bess has become a cultural artifact, one of
the controversies over the opera reflects the complex way the issue
of race continues to be played out on the American scene. A new
documentary, Porgy and Bess: An American Voice, explores the
opera's place in contemporary music against the backdrop of the
developing history of race over the last sixty years.
The story is a simple one, set in Charleston, South Carolina,
at the turn of the century in a small black enclave called Catfish
Row. It tells about Porgy, a crippled beggar who travels about in
a goat-drawn cart, and who falls in love with Bess, a woman of
uncertain reputation who is under the domination of a stevedore
named Crown. Crown kills a Catfish Row inhabitant in a craps game
and flees.
When he returns for Bess, he is killed
in a fight with
Porgy goes to jail
clipped from
The Complicated Life of Porgy and Bess
blog it


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