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George GershwinHis Life and Work$
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Howard Pollack

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780520248649

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520248649.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

The First Production of Porgy and Bess

The First Production of Porgy and Bess

Chapter:
(p.592) Chapter Thirty-Two The First Production of Porgy and Bess
Source:
George Gershwin
Author(s):

Howard Pollack

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520248649.003.0032

Porgy and Bess opened at the Alvin Theatre on October 10, 1935. The house erupted into thunderous applause at various times throughout the evening. By the end, many spectators were moved to tears, and the audience called back the cast, along with Gershwin and Smallens, for about seven curtain calls. The evening—the most glorious in Gershwin's career—ended with a reception for more than four hundred people at the penthouse apartment of publisher Conde Nast. The most contentious aspect of the work concerned the score's recitatives. Although most reviews opined that the folk opera enriched a widely admired play about a black southern community, few actually commented on its relation to African American life. Gershwin was awarded the David Bispham Memorial Medal for Porgy and Bess in 1937.

Keywords:   folk opera, George Gershwin, Alvin Theatre, Conde Nast, black southern community, David Bispham, Memorial Medal, African American life

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