Surveying Current Perspectives of Porgy and Bess

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George Gershwin‘s folk opera Porgy and Bess celebrated its 75th anniversary with nearly as much controversy as when it premiered in 1935. While the opera is known for sparking the professional careers of many African American vocalists, its storyline has been thought to portray African Americans negatively. Secondly, despite the unquestioned musical quality of Porgy and Bess, companies, directors, and critics continue to debate whether to treat it as an opera, a musical, or a hybrid of the two. Furthermore, singing roles in staged productions of the opera, at least in the United States. are restricted to Black vocalists, challenging companies that would have to import enough Blacks to fill the opera‘s solo and choral parts.