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Porgy and BessNew production

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Dutch National Opera and BalletWaterlooplein 22, Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands
January 16, 18, 20 14:00, 22, 25, 27 14:00, 29, 31 (at 20:00 unless shown)
Dutch National Opera
James GaffiganConductor
James RobinsonDirector
Michael YearganSet Designer
Catherine ZuberCostume Designer
Eric OwensBassPorgy
Adina AaronSopranoBess
Mark S DossBaritoneCrown
Nmon FordBaritoneCrown
Frederick BallentineTenorSportin’ Life
Chaz'men William-AliTenorRobbins, Crab man
Janai BruggerSopranoClara
Latonia MooreSopranoSerena
Donovan SingletaryBass-baritoneJake
Tichina VaughnMezzo-sopranoMaria
Ronald SammTenorPeter
Byron JacksonBaritoneFrazier
Sarah-Jane LewisMezzo-sopranoAnnie
Njabulo MadlalaBaritoneJim
Whitaker MillsBaritoneUndertaker
Donald HolderLighting Designer
Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
Porgy and Bess Ensemble

Porgy and Bess is a unique opera and a popular favourite in which George Gershwin mixed jazz with the western opera tradition and Afro-American and Russian Jewish music.

Special discounts are availalable for those of 16 and younger! 


Everyone knows the hits from the opera and 1959 film Porgy and Bess, which include ‘Summertime’, ‘I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’’, ‘Bess, You Is My Woman Now’ and ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’. Porgy and Bess stirred widespread controversy when it was first staged in 1935, on the one hand playing into negative clichés surrounding poor black people living on the fringes of society, on the other winning praise from some black singers who called Gershwin ‘The Abraham Lincoln of Negro music’.


Gershwin’s infectious music in Porgy and Bess makes it equally beloved by younger audiences. Kids aged 16 and under receive a discount on tickets to this production.


Despite being set in the African American community, Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess is more of a social than an ethnic drama.


George Gershwin’s oeuvre bridges the gap between jazz and classical music. It was DuBose Heyward’s novel Porgy that inspired him to compose the full-length opera in 1926, with his brother Ira Gershwin writing the libretto. In 1934 George spent the summer composing in South Carolina to immerse himself in the southern atmosphere. In his own words, he wanted Porgy and Bess to combine ‘the drama and romance of Carmen and the beauty of Meistersinger’.


Director James Robinson and conductor James Gaffigan both make their Dutch National Opera debut.


Michael Yeargan’s set for Porgy and Bess vibrantly recreates the sights and sounds of the poor harbour-side neighbourhood of Catfish Row in Charleston, South Carolina, whose inhabitants are all trying to survive – by whatever means they can.

Co-production with English National Opera and The Metropolitan Opera

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