<i>Porgy and Bess</i> in Revival

Howard Pollack

in George Gershwin

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780520248649
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933149 | DOI:
Porgy and Bess in Revival

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Less than a year after Gershwin's death, Merle Armitage launched the first revival of Porgy and Bess. However, the great Southern California flood of March 3 prevented planned visits to other cities, and the tour ended prematurely. Cheryl Crawford had better luck with her 1941 revival of the work, which reduced the opera to about a two-and-a-half-hour show. Critics widely assumed that the Crawford production owed its success to its overhaul of the work's recitatives. In 1951, Columbia Records and producer Goddard Lieberson released the first near-complete recording of the opera. The idea of presenting the work abroad under government auspices proved controversial. As the Breen–Davis production toured the continent, American and Canadian audiences and critics responded enthusiastically. By this time, Porgy and Bess had become something of a global cottage industry, with two ongoing productions, both initiated in the early 1990s.

Keywords: Merle Armitage; Southern California flood; Cheryl Crawford; Columbia Records; Goddard Lieberson; Breen–Davis production; Porgy and Bess

Chapter.  13381 words. 

Subjects: American Music

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