The tidal power of ‘Porgy and Bess’

Arts & Entertainment

The tidal power of ‘Porgy and Bess’

MET celebrates Gershwin with new production
The MET: Live in HD will stream “Porgy and Bess” on Saturday at Fort Lewis College.

The tidal power of ‘Porgy and Bess’

The MET: Live in HD will stream “Porgy and Bess” on Saturday at Fort Lewis College.
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Wozzeck and Porgy?

A surprisingly good crowd of die-hard opera lovers appeared for the Jan. 18 encore streaming of Alban Berg’s “Wozzeck.” One of the darkest early-20th-century operas, the new Metropolitan Opera production was heralded as a fresh take on an old story: the outcast versus society.
As fate would have it, technical difficulties sputtered off and on. Finally, the Fort Lewis College team called a misfire. Everyone was told to go home. Ticket costs would be refunded. But no one could say if “Wozzeck” would be rescheduled.
“We have resolved the issues, and we are looking for a date to present ‘Wozzeck’ in its entirety. Stand by,” Concert Hall Director Charles Leslie wrote in an email.
Of the many reasons to see Berg’s 1925 opera is a surprising connection between the German composer and Gershwin. In 1928, the two met in Vienna where Gershwin attended a performance of Berg’s Lyric Suite. Later, Gershwin attended the New York premiere of Berg’s “Wozzeck.” This was in the middle of Gershwin’s deliberations about a new opera based on Heyward’s novel, “Porgy.”
About “Wozzeck,” Gershwin remarked that it was the mix of musical styles and sounds that captivated him: “Old music and new music, bits of opera, Russian folk songs, rag-time ditties, combined in a mighty chorus in my inner ear.”
Wozzeck and Porgy? Little connects the two characters. The tragic German outsider descended into madness. The optimistic American cripple was an integral part of his community and his opera ends on a hopeful note.
One could compare the musical vitality and expressive range of Berg and Gershwin. Stand by.
Judith Reynolds

If you go

WHAT: The MET: Live in HD presents George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess,” featuring Eric Owens, Angel Blue and Denyce Graves in the James Robinson production, conducted by David Robertson.

WHEN: 10:55 a.m. Saturday.

WHERE: Vallecito Room, Student Union at Fort Lewis College, 1000 Rim Drive.

TICKETS: $26 general, $23 seniors, students and MET members, $5 FLC students, available online at, by phone at 247-7657, at the Welcome Center at Eighth Street and Main Avenue or at the door.

MORE INFORMATION: Sung in German with English subtitles. Running time 1 hour 50 minutes.

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