#tbt: Porgy and Bess

Mic Bell as Porgy in the 1987 production of Porgy and Bess

George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess was the closing production of LA Opera’s inaugural season.  It was seen as a highly influential production, created for Houston Grand Opera in 1976, that made the case for the work as a true opera, rather than a Broadway musical, and restored Gershwin’s complete original score. Director Jack O’Brien described the experience of working on the opera as “opening a treasure never seen,” because of the artistic community that formed to create the show. It was a triumphant season finale, conducted by John DeMain, with a magnificent cast that included Donnie Ray Albert and Carmen Balthrop, alternating in the title roles with Mic Bell and Henrietta Davis.

In May 2007, another production of Porgy and Bess closed LA Opera’s 22nd season. This production featured Kevin Short and Alfred Walker alternating as Porgy and Morenike Fadayomi and Indira Mahajan alternating as Bess. Watch a clip of the performance below.



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