Porgy And Bess Essay

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Examination 4 Porgy and Bess is an English-language opera written and performed in the 1930’s. This show travelled the world and received rave reviews over the decades. However, it did not begin this way. Gershwin struggled to promote his play during his lifetime. He struggled with questions of Porgy and Bess’s cultural authenticity from the black community, doubts of its political necessity from the white community, and inquiries of its operatic legitimacy from the theatre community. Dorothy Dandridge, William Warfield, Cab Calloway, Maya Angelou, Brock Peters, Diahann Carroll, Robert Guillaume, Leontyne Price, Etta Moten, Sidney Poitier, Sammy Davis Jr., and Pearl Bailey are just a few of the names associated with this play (Standifer). Porgy and Bess led the world of theatre on a new path, and…show more content…
“For years it was performed more frequently in Europe, where it was considered a true American opera, than in America” (Erb). Songs like “Summertime” and “Bess, You is My Woman Now” are still popular today. The show toured America and most of Europe, including Russia. Porgy and Bess premiered in Leningrad on December 26, 1955, during the middle of the Cold War. In January of the next year, Porgy and Bess also premiered in Moscow (Opens in Leningrad). The show was seen as a way to infiltrate Soviet propaganda in Russia. The History Channel Staff said that “Porgy and Bess, not only illustrated that Americans did not lack culture, it was also a response to critics, particularly the Soviets, who maintained that America was a racist nation” (Opens in Leningrad). Americans also wanted to dispel the notion that America had a strong army but lacked culture. The show was very well received in Russia. In fact, the opening night show in Leningrad received a ten minute long standing ovation. Russians took Porgy and Bess as proof of America’s culture and the transcendence of art across all countries (Opens in

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