Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Presents Porgy & Bess April 11 - 14, 2019
Ursula V. Battle | 4/5/2019, 6 a.m.
Music Director Marin Alsop and The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) will present a semi-staged production of Gershwin’s classic American opera Porgy and Bess with the Morgan State University Choir. Performances will be held April 11, 2019 through April 14, 2019.
The April 11, 2019 performance will be held at the Music Center at Strathmore, located at 5301 Tuckerman Lane in North Bethesda, MD. The April 13, 2019 and April 14, 2019 performances featuring the Morgan State University Choir will be held at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall located at 1212 Cathedral Street in Baltimore.
For over a century, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) has been recognized as one of America’s leading orchestras and one of Maryland’s most significant cultural institutions. BSO performs annually for more than 350,000 people throughout the State of Maryland.
“On the rare occasion when the BSO presents semi-staged opera we get really excited,” said Ab Sengupta, director of Artistic Planning for the BSO. “We feel we are doing something special and unique for the Baltimore community. It will be a full, operatic experience.”
The cast of the upcoming production includes lead opera and popular-music performers, many of whom reprised their roles from the BSO’s 2016 production of Porgy and Bess.
Porgy and Bess is an English-language opera by the American composer George Gershwin, with a libretto written by author DuBose Heyward and lyricist Ira Gershwin. It was adapted from Dorothy Heyward and DuBose Heyward’s play Porgy, itself an adaptation of DuBose Heyward's 1925 novel of the same name. The BSO’s production will feature well-known hits such as “Summertime” and “It Ain’t Necessarily So.”
Since its debut in 1935, the story of the crippled beggar transformed by his unexpected and improbable love for Bess, has been performed all over the world by theatre and opera companies.
According to the BSO, the original production also had historic, Baltimore roots. Anne Brown, who originally played ‘Bess,’ was a Baltimore native and trained at Morgan before going on to become the first African-American vocalist to attend The Juilliard School.
“For us, this is a really special occasion where the orchestra can do something with drama, narrative, lots of action, lighting effects, and a director who really brings a great deal of expertise,” said Sengupta referencing the talents of Alsop.
Alsop is an inspiring and powerful voice who passionately believes that “music has the power to change lives.” She is recognized for her innovative programming and for her deep commitment to education and to the development of audiences of all ages.
Her success as Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) has been recognized by the extension of her tenure until 2021. In Baltimore, Alsop launched OrchKids, for the city’s underserved youth.
Directed by Eric Conway, The Morgan State University Choir is one of the nation’s most prestigious university choral ensembles. While classical, Gospel, and contemporary popular music comprise the choir’s repertoire; the choir is noted for its emphasis on preserving the heritage of the spiritual, especially in the historic practices of performance. The Morgan State University Choir has performed for audiences throughout the United States and all over the world.
“We have a large chorus and cast of principals,” said Sengupta. “The many people behind the stage also made this possible. Attendees can expect a full chorus, principle roles in costume and lots of movement on stage. The production is phenomenal.”
Tickets for Porgy and Bess are available at: BSOmusic.org or at BSO Ticket Office by calling 410-783-8000.