Porgy and Bess
By George Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, and Ira Gershwin
Smashing box office records when it premiered during the 2019–20 season, the Met’s landmark staging of this American classic returns, with many of its original cast members reprising their celebrated portrayals. Bass-baritone Eric Owens and soprano Angel Blue reunite as the title couple, leading a superb ensemble that also includes soprano Janai Brugger as Clara, soprano Latonia Moore as Serena, mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves as Maria, tenor Frederick Ballentine as Sportin’ Life, bass-baritone Alfred Walker as Crown, and bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green as Jake. David Robertson once again takes to podium to conduct.
The worldwide copyrights in the works of George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin for this presentation are licensed by the Gershwin family.
GERSHWIN is a registered trademark of Gershwin Enterprises. Porgy and Bess is a registered trademark of Porgy and Bess Enterprises.
Porgy and Bess is a registered trademark of Porgy and Bess Enterprises.
A co-production of the Metropolitan Opera; Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam; and English National Opera
Production a gift of The Sybil B. Harrington Endowment Fund and Douglas Dockery Thomas
Revival a gift of NPD Group, Inc.
Languages sung in Porgy and Bess
Title languages displayed for Porgy and Bess
Met Titles In
Timeline for the show, Porgy and Bess
Estimated Run Time
3 hrs 30 mins
World Premiere: Alvin Theatre, New York, 1935. A supremely American operatic masterpiece and the most ambitious work by one of the nation’s greatest musical talents, Porgy and Bess focuses on the joys and struggles of a black neighborhood in Charleston, South Carolina, in the early 20th century. The overall combination of music, word, and idea among a complex blend of Americana make this a unique and impressive work both within and beyond the operatic repertory.
George Gershwin (1898–1937) was one of America’s greatest composers—creating a diverse collection of works spanning the classical, jazz, and theatrical worlds—while his brother, Ira Gershwin (1896–1983), was one of the most prominent lyricists of American song. Novelist and poet DuBose Heyward (1885–1940) collaborated with his wife, Dorothy (1890–1961), to adapt his novel Porgy into a successful Broadway play, which later inspired the Gershwins’ opera.
Camille A. Brown
Written by George Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, and Ira Gershwin
The opera is set in slightly fictionalized versions of real places in and around Charleston, South Carolina. Catfish Row is a sea-side version of the actual Cabbage Row, a group of old mansions historically inhabited by the descendants of freed slaves.
Far beyond being a compendium of classic songs, the score of Porgy and Bess maintains a level of musical unity and a rich, descriptive language that compares with the greatest operatic achievements. Much of the work’s dynamism comes from Gershwin’s explorations of the Gullah music of Tidewater Carolina, melded with his mastery of jazz and Eastern European Jewish roots to create a personal, idiomatic, brilliant, and thoroughly convincing musical canvas.