Russian American Jews composing an opera about racism in the Deep South circa 1935 featuring a virtually all-black cast? George and Ira Gershwin were considered out of their minds if not outright un-American at the time for such boundary-bending audacity. Their masterpiece, Porgy and Bess, from a libretto by Dubose Heyward based on his novel Porgy was shunned after its initial debut and all but forgotten for decades. In recent years, though, especially since the civil rights movement of the 60’s, the opera has been revived and re-spirited on several occasions using diverse media and genres; recognized at last, as a major American folk opera of unparalleled genius and universal humanitarian message and appeal.
Photo Credit: David Bazemore