Looking to dive further into Chicago's cultural scene this winter? Need an accessible jumping off point to introduce yourself to the art of opera? This month's run of the 1935 George Gershwin classic Porgy and Bess could be your best opportunity.
Long thought of as one of the most widely appealing operas of the 20th century, Porgy incorporates the beautiful vocal work traditional for the genre but also adapts several jazz standards into its score including "Summertime" and "I Got Plenty o' Nuttin'." It's a warm combination of styles that makes for an easier transition for interested opera novices.
Another relatable element of Porgy and Bess? The story follows the tale of two lovers. Porgy - an earnest disabled beggar living in the slums of Charleston, North Carolina, in the 1920s - meets Bess and falls in love with her. Porgy fights to find happiness with her by battling Bess's controlling and volatile lover Crown and her ultimate weakness Sportin' Life, the alluring drug dealer.
Originally adapted as a stage play from the DuBose Heyward novel of the same name, Porgy and Bess is at its best on the operatic stage.
Lyric Opera of Chicago brings the American classic back for its first run since the '08-'09 season this month. Opening night is Monday, November 17, followed by 12 more performances through December 20. Tickets start at $20. For more information on the show, visit Lyric Opera's website.
The performances will also pair with new history exhibit "Don Giovanni: Past to Present," a look at Mozart's famous opera, on display to audience members before every show and during intermission.
Photos Courtesy of The Silverman Group