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Gershwin: Porgy and Bess®: the new Hungarian State Opera production in Budapest. 27/1

porgy and bess artwork

27 January - 8 February 2018

The first premier at the Hungarian State Opera might go down in opera history as a world sensation. András Almási-Tóth is to put The Gershwins®’ Porgy and Bess® on stage with Hungarian singers at the Erkel Theatre thus breaking the restriction of almost forty years that only allowed all-black casts to perform the piece.
When George Gershwin’s masterpiece Porgy and Bess was first produced in 1935, some – misunderstanding the intention of the composer – felt aggrieved at the prejudice strengthening against Afro-Americans. Nothing could be further from Gershwin, who had studied their music for a long time, but to prevent their emancipation. With the operatic hit like I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’ or Summertime that had such success as pop chart hits, the composer managed to put the Afro-American culture into the spotlight.
As an act in favour of the emancipation the librettist (and brother) of the composer, Ira Gershwin introduced the rule of the all-black cast in the 1980s, a few years before his death. Before this rule was introduced, the Hungarian State Opera had put Gershwin’s piece on stage with its own artists in the 1970s. Although this production, directed by András Mikó even had a revival a decade later, in the past four decades neither the Hungarian State Opera, nor any other company were not allowed to put Porgy and Bess on stage if not complying with the rules.
This restriction is broken by the Hungarian State Opera in January 2018 following a two-year negotiation with the copyright holders. Having got the permission, the Opera produces the Gershwins’ masterpiece with excellent Hungarian singers. Hopefully, this historic and sensational premiere can pave the way for other opera companies in the world so that this brilliant opera can be heard in more and more places.

Conductor: István Dénes
Director: András Almási-Tóth
Porgy: Marcell Bakonyi / András Palerdi
Bess: Orsolya Sáfár / Gabriella Létay Kiss

Venue:
Erkel Theatre
Budapest
János Pál pápa tér 30
http://www.opera.hu/

Premiere: 27 January 2018, Further performances: 28 January, 1, 8 February 2018

“The worldwide copyrights in the music of George and Ira Gershwin® for this presentation are licensed by the Gershwin Family.”
“PORGY AND BESS® is presented by arrangement with TAMS-WITMARK MUSIC LIBRARY, INC. 560 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10022.”
“GERSHWIN® is a registered trademark and service mark of Gershwin Enterprises. PORGY AND BESS® is a registered trademark and service mark of Porgy and Bess Enterprises.”

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