Porgy And Bess
"Summer time; and the livin' is easy...Daddy's rich, and you're Mama's good lookin'..."
is Gershwin's famous opera
, based on DuBose and Dorothy Hayward's book and play Porgy
Conceived as an American Folk Opera, Porgy and Bess
is Gershwin's take on the life of African-American fishermen scraping out an existence on Catfish Row, a fictitious locale based on Cabbage Row in Charleston South Carolina.
Bess is addicted to "Happy dust" (Cocaine), and strung along by her dealer/boyfriend Crown. When Crown kills another man over a craps game he escapes to a nearby island, leaving Bess. Porgy, a peddler well-liked in the community, takes her in. The story unfolds with Porgy and Bess' blossoming relationship and what happens to them in Catfish Row.
Opened to great controversy in 1935, but the music and themes are classic, and is now regarded as
one of the
great American opera; no other American opera comes anywhere near the popularity and critical acclaim (both domestic and abroad). Part of the acclaim is that it is the show that integrated theater audiences thanks to it's original cast. The leads would not go on if the audience in Washington D.C. was not fully integrated.
From The Other Wiki
:" "Summertime" is by far the best-known piece from the work, and countless interpretations of this and other individual numbers have also been recorded and performed. The second best-known number is "It Ain't Necessarily So". The opera is admired for Gershwin's innovative synthesis of European orchestral techniques with American jazz and folk music idioms."
Tropes used in this work include: