Porgy and Bess

by Gershwin Year Published:

The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess: FEB 1, 2020 (New Production – James Robinson)

Porgy and Bess holds an iconic place in American musical history. An English-language opera written by one of America’s leading purveyors of popular song, based on a novel by a Charleston-based poet, and featuring an entirely African American cast, Porgy and Bess offered audiences in the 1930s a completely new idea of what opera could be. George Gershwin’s jazz-infused score features some of his most famous songs, including “Summertime,” “I Got Plenty of Nothing,” and “It Ain’t Necessarily So.” This season, Porgy and Bess returns to the Met for the first time in nearly 30 years, and students and teachers will have a chance to hear these songs in their original narrative and musical context.

The opera’s beating heart is the romance between Porgy, a kind, disabled beggar, and Bess, a beautiful, strong-willed woman determined to break free from addiction and abuse to find true happiness. Yet in a broader sense, the opera is about the fluctuating fortunes of a community on the Charleston waterfront. Joy and sorrow, violence and tenderness, the promise of youth, the tragedy of death, and the horrifying racism of the Jim Crow South are all brought together in this American masterwork, offering curricular connections to American history, African American studies, English/Language Arts, and jazz. 

Sung in English

Curricular Tie-ins: Music, American History, African American Studies, English/Language Arts

Grade Level:  Middle through High School
Content Advisory: Porgy and Bess contains drug use and domestic violence.*

February 1, 2020