Operatic Porgy and Bess vs. Broadway Porgy

poisonivy2 Profile Photopoisonivy2 Profile Photo
poisonivy2
Broadway Legend
joined:1/3/16
Broadway Legend
joined:
1/3/16
Operatic Porgy and Bess vs. Broadway Porgy#1
Posted: 9/29/19 at 12:37am

Has anyone been to the Met's new production of Porgy and Bess? I was wondering for those who have seen this how it compares to the recent Broadway revival which I did not see. 

I went to the opera last night and was totally overwhelmed by how moving the story was. I wrote about it on my blog:

https://humbledandoverwhelmed.blogspot.com/2019/09/porgy-and-bess-triumph-of-catfish-row.html

Updated On: 9/29/19 at 12:37 AM
joevitus Profile Photojoevitus Profile Photo
joevitus
Broadway Star
joined:7/10/19
Broadway Star
joined:
7/10/19

It's a great opera, and I'm glad you were moved. 

Updated On: 9/29/19 at 03:51 AM
CATSNYrevival Profile PhotoCATSNYrevival Profile Photo
CATSNYrevival
Broadway Legend
joined:3/1/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/1/04
I have never seen a production of Porgy and Bess but I have listened to the 1989 Glyndebourne Festival Opera recording as well as the recent Broadway revival recording and I find the Broadway revival recording much more accessible. It’s still operatic but definitely sounds more like the kind of Broadway music my ears are accustomed to and Audra McDonald is, of course, a delight.

I’m curious if there are other recordings that might be recommended to me that are as accessible as the Broadway cast album.
poisonivy2 Profile Photopoisonivy2 Profile Photo
poisonivy2
Broadway Legend
joined:1/3/16
Broadway Legend
joined:
1/3/16

I'm curious: did the Broadway version of Porgy keep Serena's "My man's gone now"? 

jagman1062
Stand-by
joined:7/25/19
Stand-by
joined:
7/25/19
Operatic Porgy and Bess vs. Broadway Porgy#5
Posted: 9/29/19 at 11:11am

I didn't see the Met's production of Porgy and Bess, but I did see a NYC Opera production.  I don't recall there being much difference between that production and the production on Broadway with Audra McDonald, except that at the opera, the performers have more classically trained voices and don't always excel at acting compared to performers in musical theater.  I think I noticed the difference more with characters such as Sportin' Life and Crown where the performers' have to rely more on their acting skills.  I enjoyed both productions, but I would say I enjoyed the Broadway production more.  

sinister teashop Profile Photosinister teashop Profile Photo
sinister teashop
Stand-by
joined:3/5/08
Stand-by
joined:
3/5/08
Operatic Porgy and Bess vs. Broadway Porgy#6
Posted: 9/29/19 at 11:37am

The Operatti over at parterre.com seem to think that there are a number of different versions of P&B's score and that each has a different feeling and impact. From what I gather, P&B is still debated as to whether it works better as an opera or as a Broadway style show. A few people recommend the recording with Simon Rattle conducting to hear the full operatic breadth of Gershwin's scoring influenced by modernists like Alban Berg.

I didn't see the last revival but I did see the current Met production and it's an evening of glorious singing and acting.

from Message Board User Guidlines: "We reserve the right to track your IP address and contact your ISP to report abuse and violations of our policies. We also reserve the right to contact a local law enforcement agency to report violations that violate federal, state and local laws."
Updated On: 9/29/19 at 11:37 AM
poisonivy2 Profile Photopoisonivy2 Profile Photo
poisonivy2
Broadway Legend
joined:1/3/16
Broadway Legend
joined:
1/3/16

I've been watching this on YT:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdRTfqGy9TE

GavestonPS Profile PhotoGavestonPS Profile Photo
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/10/12

The gold standard for P&B recordings remains the Houston Grand Opera production at the Uris in 1976. HGO restored all the recitative that the Theater Guild made Gershwin change to spoken dialogue back in the 1930s.

The OBCR is still available at iTunes. It is the first recording of the complete score.

Nothing other than FOLLIES and SWEENEY TODD moved me so deeply in the 1970s.

I can't wait for the HD broadcast of the Met production. We don't get it on this coast until January.

GeorgeandDot Profile PhotoGeorgeandDot Profile Photo
GeorgeandDot
Broadway Legend
joined:12/13/16
Broadway Legend
joined:
12/13/16
I'm seeing it at the Met tomorrow. I'll chime in with my thoughts then, but I loved the recent Broadway revival.
CATSNYrevival Profile PhotoCATSNYrevival Profile Photo
CATSNYrevival
Broadway Legend
joined:3/1/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/1/04
Operatic Porgy and Bess vs. Broadway Porgy#10
Posted: 9/29/19 at 9:13pm
How is the 2009 San Francisco Opera production on blu-ray?
joevitus Profile Photojoevitus Profile Photo
joevitus
Broadway Star
joined:7/10/19
Broadway Star
joined:
7/10/19
Operatic Porgy and Bess vs. Broadway Porgy#11
Posted: 9/29/19 at 9:29pm

GavestonPS said: "The gold standard for P&B recordings remains the Houston Grand Opera production at the Uris in 1976. HGO restored all the recitativethat the Theater Guild made Gershwin change to spoken dialogue back in the 1930s.

The OBCR is still available at iTunes. It is the first recording of the complete score.

Nothing other than FOLLIES and SWEENEY TODD moved me so deeply in the 1970s.

I can't wait for the HD broadcast of the Met production. We don't get it on this coast until January.
"

Yes! Yes! Yes! Thank you.

poisonivy2 Profile Photopoisonivy2 Profile Photo
poisonivy2
Broadway Legend
joined:1/3/16
Broadway Legend
joined:
1/3/16
Operatic Porgy and Bess vs. Broadway Porgy#12
Posted: 9/29/19 at 9:31pm

GeorgeandDot said: "I'm seeing it at the Met tomorrow. I'll chime in with my thoughts then, but I loved the recent Broadway revival."

Oh I think you'll like it a lot. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

And Gaveston I have that HGO recording. I also like the Glyndebourne video with Willard White as Porgy.

joevitus Profile Photojoevitus Profile Photo
joevitus
Broadway Star
joined:7/10/19
Broadway Star
joined:
7/10/19
Operatic Porgy and Bess vs. Broadway Porgy#13
Posted: 9/29/19 at 9:36pm

sinister teashop said: "The Operatti over at parterre.com seem to think that there are a number of different versions of P&B'sscore and that each has a different feeling and impact. From what I gather, P&Bis still debated as to whether it works better as an operaor as a Broadway style show. A few people recommend the recording with Simon Rattle conducting to hear the full operatic breadth of Gershwin'sscoring influenced by modernists like Alban Berg.

I didn't see the last revival but I did see the current Met production and it's an evening of glorious singing and acting.
"

There are indeed. It was cut for the first Broadway run, then all recitatives were removed for the first revival (and first hit staging), then a traveling production restored the recitatives but rearranged the placement of certain songs. Ultimately the original published 3 hour version of the score became the "definitive" version in the 1970's (the Houston Grand Opera production was the first such, though a studio recording had preceded it). But which version--the original cut Broadway production, or the score as published before rehersals began--is the "right" one continues to be debated. Musical criticis and historians have chimed in with different opinions over the years. The most recent argument against the 3 hour version can be found in the book On My Way: The Untold Story of Rouben Mamoulian, George Gershwin, and Porgy and Bess. 

JVJ93
Featured Actor
joined:3/27/16
Featured Actor
joined:
3/27/16
Operatic Porgy and Bess vs. Broadway Porgy#14
Posted: 9/30/19 at 12:34pm
Has anybody done standing room for this ? Or for the Met in general? I just got SRO for the dress Circle for tonight’s show and am curious how the view will be
poisonivy2 Profile Photopoisonivy2 Profile Photo
poisonivy2
Broadway Legend
joined:1/3/16
Broadway Legend
joined:
1/3/16
Operatic Porgy and Bess vs. Broadway Porgy#15
Posted: 9/30/19 at 12:44pm

JVJ93 said: "Has anybody done standing room for this ? Or for the Met in general? I just got SRO for the dress Circle for tonight’s show and am curious how the view will be"

Dress circle standing room has a great view and is probably the best deal. Orchestra standing room means standing in the infamous overhang that muffles the sound. Family circle standing room is really a nosebleed seat. DC is great. Have fun! I'd do standing room for this if I hadn't hurt my ankle.

JVJ93
Featured Actor
joined:3/27/16
Featured Actor
joined:
3/27/16
Operatic Porgy and Bess vs. Broadway Porgy#16
Posted: 9/30/19 at 1:22pm

poisonivy2 said: "JVJ93 said: "Has anybody done standing room for this ? Or for the Met in general? I just got SRO for the dress Circle for tonight’s show and am curious how the view will be"

Dress circle standing room has a great view and is probably the best deal. Orchestra standing room means standing in the infamous overhang that muffles the sound. Family circle standing room is really a nosebleed seat. DC is great. Have fun! I'd do standing room for this if I hadn't hurt my ankle.
"

Thank you for your insight into this! I’m excited 

temms Profile Phototemms Profile Photo
temms
Broadway Star
joined:7/21/04
Broadway Star
joined:
7/21/04
Operatic Porgy and Bess vs. Broadway Porgy#17
Posted: 9/30/19 at 1:56pm

Family Circle at the Met is a great deal and the sound really is fantastic up there - nicely blended and being that close to the ceiling actually is a plus because you get more direct sound.

The only drawback is you’re REALLY far away and up high. Like, in another state practically. Like it makes the balcony at City Center seem intimate. If you have binoculars/opera glasses I’d bring them or even invest in a cheap pair if you don’t.

I didn’t much care for the Broadway production - the lowered keys and jazzy rearrangements didn’t sit well with me and I felt it conveyed little of the power and passion of the piece. But Audra singing “I Loves You Porgy” was glorious. I also didn’t care for the Broadway-sized orchestra and the amplification. To me it lives best in an opera house with a full orchestra and chorus.

poisonivy2 Profile Photopoisonivy2 Profile Photo
poisonivy2
Broadway Legend
joined:1/3/16
Broadway Legend
joined:
1/3/16
Operatic Porgy and Bess vs. Broadway Porgy#18
Posted: 9/30/19 at 4:41pm

JVJ93 said: "poisonivy2 said: "JVJ93 said: "Has anybody done standing room for this ? Or for the Met in general? I just got SRO for the dress Circle for tonight’s show and am curious how the view will be"

Dress circle standing room has a great view and is probably the best deal. Orchestra standing room means standing in the infamous overhang that muffles the sound. Family circle standing room is really a nosebleed seat. DC is great. Have fun! I'd do standing room for this if I hadn't hurt my ankle.
"

Thank you for your insight into this! I’m excited
"

Oh ... wear comfortable shoes! The first act of Porgy is 95 minutes and change. And the Met floor is incredibly hard and I've done standing room where I actually had to sit on the floor for a few minutes because it was giving my feet a workout.

joevitus Profile Photojoevitus Profile Photo
joevitus
Broadway Star
joined:7/10/19
Broadway Star
joined:
7/10/19
Operatic Porgy and Bess vs. Broadway Porgy#19
Posted: 9/30/19 at 4:45pm

Does that mean they've placed the first intermission somewhere other than its traditional place? The two act breaks usually both occur after the scenes in Serena's room: the funeral in Act 1 and the hurricane in Act 2. Have they merged three acts into two?

JSquared2
Broadway Legend
joined:3/23/17
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/23/17
Operatic Porgy and Bess vs. Broadway Porgy#20
Posted: 9/30/19 at 4:47pm

poisonivy2 said: 
Oh ... wear comfortable shoes! The first act of Porgy is 95 minutes and change. And the Met floor is incredibly hard and I've done standing room where I actually had to sit on the floor for a few minutes because it was giving my feet a workout."

95 minutes is a "workout"?  Were you jogging in place??  Operatic Porgy and Bess vs. Broadway Porgy

 

poisonivy2 Profile Photopoisonivy2 Profile Photo
poisonivy2
Broadway Legend
joined:1/3/16
Broadway Legend
joined:
1/3/16
Operatic Porgy and Bess vs. Broadway Porgy#21
Posted: 9/30/19 at 4:51pm

joevitus said: "Does that mean they've placed the first intermission somewhere other than its traditional place?The two act breaks usually both occur after the scenes in Serena's room: the funeral in Act 1 and the hurricane inAct 2. Have they merged three acts into two?"

There is only one intermission -- after Bess and Crown's scene in Kittiwah Island.

And about a "workout" -- I once stood for Gotterdamerung. Yeah. But it doesn't mean I wasn't in running shoes :) 

 

joevitus Profile Photojoevitus Profile Photo
joevitus
Broadway Star
joined:7/10/19
Broadway Star
joined:
7/10/19
Operatic Porgy and Bess vs. Broadway Porgy#22
Posted: 9/30/19 at 4:59pm

Thanks!

 

poisonivy2 Profile Photopoisonivy2 Profile Photo
poisonivy2
Broadway Legend
joined:1/3/16
Broadway Legend
joined:
1/3/16
Operatic Porgy and Bess vs. Broadway Porgy#23
Posted: 9/30/19 at 6:30pm

I wonder if the Met tonight will have a moment of silence for Jessye Norman who passed away today Operatic Porgy and Bess vs. Broadway Porgy

GavestonPS Profile PhotoGavestonPS Profile Photo
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/10/12
Operatic Porgy and Bess vs. Broadway Porgy#24
Posted: 9/30/19 at 7:59pm

poisonivy2 said: "I wonder if the Met tonight will have a moment of silence for Jessye Norman who passed away today Operatic Porgy and Bess vs. Broadway Porgy"

How sad! Brava to Miss Norman for an amazing career!

Back to P&B, I too would love to hear reports from those who see it live at the Met. I don't care if there are spoilers (though I can't imagine what they would be).

FWIW, I too like the recording of the recent Broadway revival. But I'm sort of a "completist" when it comes to Broadway operas. I want to hear the complete STREET SCENE, GOLDEN APPLE, and, yes, P&B.

joevitus Profile Photojoevitus Profile Photo
joevitus
Broadway Star
joined:7/10/19
Broadway Star
joined:
7/10/19
Operatic Porgy and Bess vs. Broadway Porgy#25
Posted: 9/30/19 at 8:08pm

poisonivy2 said: "I wonder if the Met tonight will have a moment of silence for Jessye Norman who passed away today Operatic Porgy and Bess vs. Broadway Porgy"

What terrible news! Thank you for the beauty you brought to the world, Ms. Norman. Rest in peace.