The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music review: Seattle Opera’s production of Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” with Madison Symphony Orchestra’s maestro John DeMain gets rave reviews, and bodes well for MSO’s new season

August 11, 2011

By Jacob Stocklnger

It’s no secret that the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s music director and conductor John DeMain (below, in a photo by James Gill) knows how to do George Gershwin’sPorgy and Bess.”

After all, he pioneered doing the work with an all African-American cast. And his recording of that production won him a Grammy and led to numerous guest engagements.

He has since conducted it around the world, including at the New York City Opera, one performance of which was broadcast nationwide on PBS series “Great Performances.”

Now he is in another new production in Seattle at the Seattle Opera. The last performance is Aug. 20. 

Here is a link to the Seattle Opera where you can can a video clip sampler and more information:

So far, the Seattle production has drawn rave reviews –- a good sign for the all the all-Gershwin program, with some music from “Porgy and Bess,” that the Madison Symphony Orchestra will end the next season with. (Season tickets are already on sale. Single tickets go on sale Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Overture Center box office)

Here is a link to the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s new season:

And here are links to the reviews of the Seattle Opera production:

Curiously and coincidentally, the New York Times also ran a big story this past Sunday about another new production of “Porgy and Bess” with star singer and actor Audra McDonald.

Here is a link to that story about how they want to rework the original Gershwin opera into a more dramatic piece of theater in which, unfortunately, the music almost sounds as if it will play a secondary role:

Posted in Classical music

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