SUMMERTIME AND THE LIVING IS EASY … ESPECIALLY VISITING THE CATHEDRAL (DÓM) SQUARE IN SZEGED

Source: Szeged Open-Air Stage

Source: Szeged Open-Air Stage 

NEWSFLASH  …

To a  real rarity for opera, jazz and gospel fans coming up …

 Szeged Open-Air Stage …

 two-time show,   both at 9 p.m. …

 George Gershwin: Porgy and Bess at the Cathedral (Dóm) Square …

August, 9  and 10. 2013.

For the time being this will be the only city in Europe to see and enjoy the superb masterpiece of the legendary opera. Most probably only a child born yesterday haven’t heard yet the emotional hit song the “Summertime”.  Gershwin’s  sensational  Porgy and Bess will be brought on stage by the performance of the  Living Arts Inc. company arriving from N.Y. This piece of art in the music history wasn’t on stage for decades in Hungary, but now it will come alive  in  the City of Szeged.

Casting in “Porgy and Bess”: Porgy: Richard Hobson, Crown: Philip Boykin, Sportin’ Life: Reggie Whitehead, Jake: Tom Elliott, Bess: Angela Owens, Maria: Stephanie Beadle, Serena: Anne Fridal, Lily: Jeanette Blakeley. Director: Susan Williams-Finch, playing:  the Szeged Symphony Orchestra, conductor: Stefan Kozinski.

In 1970, the Hungarian State Opera House at its Erkel Theater held  two cast of Porgy and Bess, directed by András Mikó. Main roles were sung by Ferenc Bégány, György Radnai  and Erzsébet Esterhazy and Éva Andor. The opera was staged more than a hundred times. In 1973 Gershwin’s opera was sold out on four occasion with a total of twenty thousand visitors at the Szeged Open-Air Festival.

The Hungarian National Opera House in 1981, had revived Porgy and Bess.  In 1991, at the Margaret Island’s Open-Air Stage was presented the opera with invited Afro-American descent guest artists and were warmly welcomed by the Hungarian audience. The heirs came up with more-and-more strict conditions to the roles. Gershwin insisted that the white characters should play the white roles and the Afro-American descent singers to be 100% Afro-American descent.  Indeed, this will be  the first production in Europe where Gershwin’s wish 100% will come true and alive.

Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess was based on DuBose Heyward‘s novel Porgy  and on  the subsequent play of the same title, which he co-wrote with his wife Dorothy Heyward.  George Gershwin  created the “American folk opera“,  the Porgy and Bess premiere was in New York during the fall of 1935 with the entire cast featuring of classically trained Afro-American singers.

Way back in 1943, was held its European premiere at the Royal Danish Theater in Copenhagen. There  all the opera singers were all-white cast in blackface. This was the time of the Nazi occupation. There were only 22 sold-out performances, thenafter having  closed down the production by  the Nazis. Other mainly white productions in Europe where in Zürich in 1945 and 1950, and in 1948, the opera was staged in Gothenburg and Stockholm. In 1954 it went on road  in several European countries,  also in Latin America and the Middle-East.  Porgy and Bess was presented at the La Scala in Milan for the first time, in February, 1955. In the middle of  the 50’s a major historic step, fully tense premiere took place in Moscow.  This was the 1st time after the Bolshevik Revolution an American theater group arrived to the Sovietunio’s capital.

Better to be quicky, if  you want to sharpen your sight and ears to the hit songs as the  “Summertime” or “I got plenty o’ nuttin”   before another takes your place!  Here you go … a site in English language, where all the information to get your tickets is available at your fingertips: http://www.szegediszabadteri.hu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10792&Itemid=76

VISITING SZEGED WILL HAVE AT LEAST TWO MAIN PURPOSE TO DO SO …

1ST TO ATTEND AT THIS FANTASTIC  GERSHWIN’S PORGY AND BESS PERFORMANCE …

2ND TO TASTE THE WORLD-FAMOUS FISH SOUP A’LA SZEGED …

AND  LAST BUT NOT LEAST …  WHAT AN INTERESTING COINCIDENCE IN THE FIRST TWO LINES OF THE OPERA  … “SUMMERTIME AND THE LIVING IS EASY … FISH ARE JUMPING”  (YESSS …  MANY IN THE  RIVER TISZA  AT SZEGED)

WISHING EVERYONE A SUPERB  “SUMMERTIME” AT SZEGED

Update Aggie Reiter

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Mark Nelson on 09/08/2013 at 21:52

    Fab. article, thanks for the update. Going with friends tomorrow to SZEGED. Keep up with your updates, we appreciate the information you share. CY

    Reply

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