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G. Gershwin: Porgy & Bess (Live Recording from Berlin 1952)

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Album Review

The Houston Grand Opera mounted a revival of George Gershwin's 1935 musical/opera Porgy and Bess in July 1976, and brought it to Broadway in September. In November, RCA Victor recorded a full-length cast album of the show, released as a multi-record set in 1977. In 1983, a one-disc abridgement of highlights was released, and this is the CD version of that album, which was reissued in 1993. Unlike recordings that have taken a pop, jazz, or Broadway approach, this one positions Porgy and Bess squarely as an opera, with singing that emphasizes musical embellishment over lyrical expressiveness. As such, it is likely to appeal more to opera fans than to show music fans, but the quality of the Gershwin score, from "Summertime" to "I Loves You, Porgy," is unmistakable.

Customer Reviews

A rare gem!

A real gem! I have searched and searched for a good recording and this one is WONDERFUL! Good recording quality - a few "catches" when the tracks change. Live applause and live action sound enhances this recording, especially if you have seen the opera. Digital booklet gives synopsis to follow with the track numbers. A moving performance of Gershwin's rare but lively opera!

Great American Opera

If you are expecting show tunes . You don't know that Gershwin wrote a moden day opera. This one is WONDERFUL . If you know the show you will love this , This is how Gershwin meant it to be done . It's real good.

A Truly Historic Recording

For a 1952 "live" recording, the audio is surprisingly good. Warfield & Price WERE Porgy & Bess. This libretto & score are very faithful to the original 1935 production; it is also faithful to the African folk & jazz milieu of Gershwin. This a must for anyone interested in 20th Century classical music; a classic 20th Century opera only Gershwin could have conceived. If you are looking for an American musical, this may not be for you; there is a 1963 recording of highlights with Warfield & Price with Skitch Henderson conducting which may appeal to a broader audience. This recording is well worth the $12.00.


Genre: Classical

b. 22 January 1920, West Helena, Arkansas, USA, d. 25 August 2002, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Raised in Rochester, New York, as a child Warfield studied singing extensively, including earning a degree at Eastman College of Music. After serving in military intelligence in World War II (he was fluent in German) he secured a role in a touring company of Call Me Mister, which had premiered on Broadway in 1946. Also in the road company were showbusiness hopefuls Buddy Hackett, Carl Reiner and Bob Fosse....
Full Bio

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G. Gershwin: Porgy & Bess (Live Recording from Berlin 1952), William Warfield
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  • $11.99
  • Genres: Classical, Music, Opera
  • Released: 1983

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