Seventy five years after its premiere, Porgy and Bess exceeds composer George Gershwin’s most outsized expectations. Produced all over the world, from the Metropolitan Opera to that operatic holy of holies, La Scala in Milan, the opera has become an American icon, the source of now classic standards “Summertime,” “I Got Plenty of Nothin’” and “It Ain’t Necessarily So.”
The 75th anniversary touring company comes to Cincinnati for one night with a production approved by the Gershwin estate and overseen by Michael Capasso, general director of New York’s Dicapo Opera Theatre. The cast of 25 singers and a live orchestra are led by Pacien Mazzagatti, who also created new orchestrations for the production.
Set in the vibrant black working class neighborhood of Catfish Row in Charleston, S.C., the story of the crippled beggar Porgy and his love for good-time girl Bess plays out against the realities of a tightly-knit community, segregation, violence and drugs.