The GershwinsÕ Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, and Ira Gershwin Kenneth Kiesler Conductor University Symphony Orchestra Kenneth Kiesler / Music Director U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance Chamber Choir Jerry Blackstone / Conductor Willis Patterson Our Own Thing Chorale Willis Patterson / Conductor Morris Robinson / Porgy
Talise Trevigne / Bess
Norman Garrett / Crown
Chauncey Packer / Sporting Life
Janai Brugger / Clara
Reginald Smith, Jr. / Jake
Karen Slack / Serena
Rehanna Thelwell / Maria Robert Swedberg and Daniel Washington / Staging Coordinators Saturday Evening, February 17, 2018 at 7:30 Hill Auditorium Ann Arbor 66th Performance of the 139th Annual Season
139th Annual Choral Union Series This eveningÕs performance is supported by Lycera, Mr. and Mrs. Donald L. Morelock, and the Susan B. Ullrich Endowment Fund. Media partnership provided by WGTE 91.3 FM, WRCJ 90.9 FM, and Ann ArborÕs 107one. The Steinway piano used in this eveningÕs performance, donated to the Gershwin Initiative by the Gershwin family estates, is a 1933 Steinway Long A piano that was delivered to George in January 1934. It is highly likely to be one of two instruments upon which he wrote Porgy and Bess. Special thanks to all the members of the Porgy and Bess Artistic Planning Committee for their time and dedication to this production. Special thanks to Taylor Aldridge, Naomi Andr, Lisa Borgsdorf, MarkÊClague, Clare Croft, Jessica Getman, Jennifer Harge, Billicia Hines, Elizabeth James, Seema Jolly, Amanda Krugliak, John Sloan, Ann Arbor Public Schools Community Education and Recreation, ARTS.BLACK, the U-M Gershwin Initiative, the U-M Institute for the Humanities, and the U-M Museum of Art for their participation in events surrounding this eveningÕs performance. Special thanks to Tom Thompson of Tom Thompson Flowers, Ann Arbor, for his generous contribution of lobby floral art for this eveningÕs performance. The worldwide copyrights in the music of George and Ira Gershwin¨Êfor this presentation are licensed byÊthe Gershwin Family. Porgy and BessÊis presented by arrangement with Tams-Witmark Music Library, Inc. Gershwin is a registered trademark and service mark of Gershwin Enterprises. Porgy and Bess is a registered trademark and service mark of Porgy and Bess Enterprises. In consideration of the artists and the audience, please refrain from the use of electronic devices during the performance. The photography, sound recording, or videotaping of this performance is prohibited. PROGRAM Setting Charleston, South Carolina, ca. 1920 Act I, Scene 1 Catfish Row. A summer evening. Jasbo Brown Blues (Jasbo Brown, Chorus) Summertime (Clara, WomenÕs Chorus) Roll Dem Bones (Mingo, Sporting Life, Crap Shooters) Summertime, reprise (Clara, Crap Shooters) A Woman Is a Sometime Thing (Jake, Mingo, Sporting Life, Chorus) They Pass by SinginÕ (Porgy) A Woman Is a Sometime Thing, reprise (Porgy, Bess, Chorus) O Little Stars (Porgy) Act I, Scene 2 SerenaÕs Room. The following evening. Gone, Gone, Gone (Chorus) Overflow, Overflow (Porgy, Ensemble, Chorus) My ManÕs Gone Now (Serena, Chorus) LeavinÕ for the PromiseÕ LanÕ (Bess, Chorus) Intermission Act II, Scene 1 Catfish Row. A month later. It Take a Long Pull to Get There (Jake, Fishermen) I Got Plenty oÕ NuttinÕ (Porgy, Serena, Maria, Chorus) I Hates YoÕ StruttinÕ Style (Maria) The Buzzard Song (Porgy, Chorus) Bess, You Is My Woman Now (Porgy, Bess) Oh, I CanÕt Sit Down (Chorus) Act II, Scene 2 Kittiwah Island Ñ A palmetto jungle. Evening of the same day. I AinÕ Got No Shame (Chorus) It AinÕt Necessarily So (Sporting Life, Chorus) Shame on All You Sinners (Serena)Ê What You Want Wid Bess? (Bess, Crown) Act II, Scene 3 Catfish Row. The court before dawn. A week later. It Take a Long Pull to Get There, reprise (Jake, Fishermen) Oh, Doctor Jesus (Serena, Porgy, Peter, Lily) Street Cries (Strawberry Woman, Peter, Crab Man, Annie, Woman, Porgy, Maria) I Wants to Stay Here/I Loves You, Porgy (Porgy, Bess) Act II, Scene 4 SerenaÕs room. Dawn of the following day. Six Simultaneous Prayers (Soloists, Chorus) De Lawd Shake de Heavens (Chorus, Ensemble) Summertime, reprise (Clara) Oh, DereÕs Somebody KnockinÕ at de DoÕ (Chorus, Ensemble) A Red-Headed Woman (Crown, Chorus) Six Simultaneous Prayers, reprise (Chorus) Intermission Act III, Scene 1 Catfish Row. The next night. Clara, Clara, DonÕt You Be Downhearted (Chorus) Summertime, reprise (Bess)
Act III, Scene 2 Catfish Row. The next afternoon. ThereÕs a Boat DatÕs LeavinÕ Soon for New York (Sporting Life) Act III, Scene 3 Catfish Row. Early morning, one week later. Interlude: Catfish Row Wakes Up (Orchestra, Chorus) Sure to Go to Heaven (Chorus) Bess, oh, WhereÕs My Bess (Porgy, Maria, Serena) Oh Lawd, IÕm On My Way (Porgy, Chorus) This eveningÕs performance runs approximately four hours in duration, including two intermissions. CAST Porgy, a disabled beggar (bass-baritone) / Morris Robinson Bess, CrownÕs girl (soprano) / Talise Trevigne Crown, a tough stevedore (bass-baritone) / Norman Garrett Sporting Life, a dope peddler (tenor) / Chauncey Packer Robbins, a worker (tenor) / Camron Gray Serena, RobbinsÕ wife (soprano) / Karen Slack Jake, a fisherman (baritone) / Reginald Smith, Jr. Clara, JakeÕs wife (lyric soprano) / Janai Brugger Maria, keeper of the cook-shop (mezzo-soprano) / Rehanna Thelwell Mingo (tenor) / Darius Gillard Peter, the honeyman (tenor) / Dorian Dillard II Lily, PeterÕs wife (soprano) / Lenora Green-Turner Frazier, a ÒlawyerÓ (baritone) / Yazid Gray Annie (mezzo-soprano) / Goitsemang Lehobye Strawberry Woman, a peddler (mezzo-soprano) / Lenora Green-Turner Jim, a worker (baritone) / Edward Nunoo Undertaker (baritone) / Yazid Gray Nelson (tenor) / Darius Gillard Crab Man, a peddler (tenor) / Camron Gray Scipio, a small boy (boy treble) / Darius Gillard Jasbo Brown (piano) / Ellen Rowe Mr. Archdale, a lawyer (spoken) / Stephen West Detective (spoken) / Malcolm Tulip Policeman (spoken) / Steven Jean Coroner (spoken) / Ethan Haberfield Crap Shooters / Darius Gillard, Camron Gray, Yazid Gray, Julian Goods, Edward Nunoo A Man / Yazid Gray A Woman / Goitsemang Lehobye OrphansÕ Band ARTISTIC PLANNING COMMITTEE Gershwin Initiative of the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance Mark Clague Jessica Getman Wayne Shirley UMS of the University of Michigan Jeffrey Beyersdorf Mark Jacobson Michael Kondziolka U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance Jerry Blackstone Paul Feeny Kathleen Kelly Kenneth Kiesler Willis Patterson Robert Swedberg Louise Toppin Daniel Washington SYNOPSIS by Lena Leson The curtain rises on Catfish Row. Clara, a young mother, sings a lullaby to her son (ÒSummertimeÓ) as the men of the community play a game of craps (ÒRoll Dem BonesÓ). The devout Serena asks her husband Robbins not to play, but he ignores her protests. ClaraÕs reprise of ÒSummertimeÓ in counterpoint with the craps game leads into JakeÕs rendition of ÒA Woman Is a Sometime ThingÓ to their child. Slowly, characters enter Catfish Row, including Porgy, a disabled beggar eager to gamble. Crown, a stevedore, arrives with his woman, Bess. The whiskey and Òhappy dustÓ (cocaine) Crown and Bess purchase from the local drug dealer, Sporting Life, amplify the eveningÕs intensity. When Robbins wins the craps game, the inebriated Crown tries to stop him from taking his winnings, and a brawl ensues. Crown stabs Robbins with a cotton hook and flees the scene, telling Bess that heÕll be back for her soon. Rejected by all the residents of Catfish Row as the police near, Bess takes refuge in PorgyÕs shack. The following evening, the community gathers to mourn Robbins and raise money for his burial (ÒOverflow, OverflowÓ). A white detective enters, threatening Serena and accusing Peter of RobbinsÕs murder. Peter pleads his innocence by revealing that Crown is guilty, yet the detective arrests Peter as a material witness. Serena laments RobbinsÕs death in the moving ÒMy ManÕs Gone Now,Ó and then the undertaker arrives; although the saucer is 10 dollars short, he agrees to bury Robbins. As the undertaker exits, Bess begins to sing ÒLeavinÕ for the PromiseÕ LanÕÓ; the chorus joins her in the gospel song as the first act comes to a close. Act II opens with Jake and the other fishermen as they prepare for work (ÒIt Take a Long Pull to Get ThereÓ). Clara, nervous about the stormy weather, asks Jake not to go, but he insists that they need the money. Porgy sings ÒI Got Plenty oÕ NuttinÕ,Ó a celebration of his newfound happiness with Bess. Sporting Life enters and starts peddling happy dust, but Maria, the proprietress of the cook-shop, gives him a tongue-lashing with ÒI Hates YoÕ StruttinÕ Style.Ó Soon Frazier, a self-styled lawyer, arrives to con Porgy into purchasing a fraudulent divorce. Archdale, a white attorney, brings Porgy news about PeterÕs impending release. Suddenly, a buzzard Ñ a bad omen Ñ flies over Catfish Row, frightening the community (ÒThe Buzzard SongÓ). Sporting Life tries to tempt Bess with some happy dust. Bess refuses, saying sheÕs given up drugs and changed her ways. Finally, Porgy grabs Sporting LifeÕs arm and scares him off. Left alone, Bess and Porgy sing a romantic duet (ÒBess, You Is My Woman NowÓ). Eager to get to Kittiwah Island for the annual church picnic, the chorus re-enters, singing ÒOh, I CanÕt Sit Down,Ó accompanied by an orphansÕ band. Maria makes a point of inviting Bess to the picnic. When Bess demurs, the community matriarch insists, and all except Porgy head to Kittiwah as he sings a reprise of ÒI Got Plenty oÕ NuttinÕ.Ó At the church picnic, Catfish Row celebrates, singing ÒI AinÕt Got No Shame.Ó Sporting Life critiques religion in ÒIt AinÕt Necessarily So.Ó As the community begins to pack up, Crown corners Bess. She tells him that she is PorgyÕs woman now and needs to get home to him (ÒWhat You Want Wid BessÓ), but Crown refuses to let her go. He forces himself on Bess as the boat leaves without her. A week later, Jake and the fishermen prepare to ship out (ÒIt Take a Long PullÓ reprised). Bess, still delirious after CrownÕs attack, is in PorgyÕs room with a fever. Serena prays over her, promising the anxious Porgy that Bess will be well by five oÕclock (ÒOh, Doctor JesusÓ). A trio of vendors passes through Catfish Row with their wares. As the clock strikes five, Bess miraculously recovers. Porgy tells Bess that he knows sheÕs been with Crown, and Bess confesses that Crown will be coming for her soon. Though Porgy does not pressure Bess to stay, he asks her to imagine a life without Crown. Bess tells Porgy that she loves him and begs him to protect her in ÒI Loves You, Porgy.Ó Meanwhile, Maria tries to calm Clara, who is fearful of the approaching storm. When the hurricane bell begins to ring, the residents shelter in SerenaÕs room. Their prayers and hymns (ÒSix Simultaneous PrayersÓ) bring some comfort, but Sporting Life continues to mock their faith. ClaraÕs reprise of ÒSummertimeÓ takes on haunting significance as she waits for word from Jake. A knock on the door terrifies the group, and Crown makes a dramatic entrance. Having braved the storm to get to Catfish Row, Crown taunts the community with a sexually suggestive song about Bess (ÒA Red-Headed WomanÓ). Suddenly, Clara sees JakeÕs capsized boat. She gives her baby to Bess and runs out into the hurricane. After tormenting Porgy for his disability, Crown agrees to go after her. The second act concludes as the chorus prays for the storm to end (a final reprise of ÒSix Simultaneous PrayersÓ). Act III begins with the community mourning for Clara, Jake, and the others killed in the hurricane (ÒClara, Clara, DonÕt You Be DownheartedÓ). They assume that Crown has also perished in the storm, but Sporting Life suggests that he may not be dead after all. Bess soothes Clara and JakeÕs baby with a tender reprise of ÒSummertime.Ó As night envelops Catfish Row, Crown quietly steals in to reclaim Bess. He is confronted by Porgy and killed. As Bess surveys the scene, Porgy declares, ÒYouÕve got a man now. YouÕve got Porgy!Ó The next afternoon, the white detective questions the residents of Catfish Row about CrownÕs murder. Serena and her friends refuse to answer, but Porgy admits that he knows Crown and is ordered to identify the body. Porgy is dragged off by the police, and Sporting Life makes his move. Telling Bess that Porgy will no doubt be locked up for a long time, he offers her happy dust, and the seductive portrait he paints of life in ÒThereÕs A Boat DatÕs LeavinÕ Soon for New YorkÓ proves too much to resist. A week later, Porgy returns to Catfish Row. Flush with winnings from playing craps with his cellmates, he gives out gifts Ñ but Bess is nowhere to be found. When he sees Serena with ClaraÕs baby, Porgy finally asks, ÒBess, oh, WhereÕs My Bess?Ó Maria and Serena explain that sheÕs gone off with Sporting Life, and Porgy resolves to find her. The opera concludes with the rousing ÒOh Lawd, IÕm On My WayÓ as the community prays for strength for Porgy on his impossible journey. Lena Leson is directorÊof education and undergraduate engagement at the Gershwin Initiative at the University of Michigan. Photo (next spread): John Bubbles (Sporting Life) and Anne Brown (Bess), 1935; courtesy of the Ira & Leonore Gershwin Trusts. CONFESSIONS OF AN EDITOR by Wayne Shirley I have loved Porgy and Bess since I was a child. My parents sang ÒSummertimeÓ (and, occasionally, ÒA Woman Is a Sometime ThingÓ) to me when I was very young. As a sub-teen, I saw the Cheryl Crawford production Ñ the production that started the tradition of Porgy-with-spoken-dialogue. As a teenager, I saw the 1950s Leontyne Price/William Warfield/Cab Calloway Porgy which later toured Europe. In my early 20s, I saw the remnants of that production as it toured summer theaters, with only Calloway remaining of the original cast. In my late 20s, when I went to work in the music division of the Library of Congress, it was several days before I got up the courage to take one of the three large blue-bound volumes of Porgy and Bess down from the shelf Ñ GershwinÕs manuscript orchestral score of the opera, the principal (though by no means only) source for this edition. Through the years I have lectured and published on Gershwin in general, and on Porgy and Bess in particular, with emphasis on the notes-on-paper which are the principal business of an editor. When the George Gershwin Trust, the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trusts, and the DuBose and Dorothy Heyward Trust decided to heed Ira GershwinÕs late-in-life declaration Ñ ÒWe must do right by PorgyÓ Ñ by producing a published edition of the full orchestral score (IÕll call it the Òfull scoreÓ from now on), I had the honor of being chosen to edit it. The edition you are hearing today does not differ radically from the Porgy and Bess we have known: the same things happen in the same order to music whose occasional differences are, for the most part, noticeable only to those who know the opera as performers. The most easily recognizable difference is in Act II, Scene 1, in which an 11-piece OrphansÕ Band joins the residents of Catfish Row in marching off to their picnic on Kittiwah Island. The music is the same (ÒOh, I CanÕt Sit DownÓ); the pit orchestra plays as it has in previous productions, but the OrphansÕ Band weaves itself into the music, sometimes doubling, sometimes giving the call (clarinet) to which the pit orchestra gives the response (flute and piccolo). The Jenkins Orphanage Band was a fixture of Charleston musical life in the first half of the 20th century (you can hear them in outtakes from early Fox Movietone newsreels on YouTube), but since the first production and the 1938 West Coast revival, the OrphansÕ Band in Porgy and Bess has only been heard in the 2006 Nashville recording. The scoring of the OrphansÕ Band is GershwinÕs own; it is not in any performing materials that have circulated prior to this edition. It is good to have it back. Other, smaller changes were more significant for me: YouÕll hear an exchange between Porgy and Bess just before ÒBess, You Is My Woman NowÓ that was mysteriously omitted from the original piano-vocal score (and thus from the performance material until now). This exchange beautifully sets up the duet. Act II Scene 1: Folks are gathering to go off to the picnic. Jake, the prosperous fisherman, has just told Bess, ÒBe sure to come Õlong to the picnic, Bess.Ó TodayÕs edition includes the following bit of dialogue, not heard in any previous staged production of Porgy and Bess: Porgy [singing]: Yes, Bess, I feels you ought to go. Bess [speaking]: lf you ainÕ goinÕ, I ainÕ goinÕ. Porgy [singing]: Bess, you is my woman now ... AnÕ you musÕ laugh anÕ sing anÕ dance for two instead of one.... Let me mention one further spot Ñ a mere two measures Ñ which for me is a welcome newcomer in this new edition. This one was present in the first production, in the 1938 West Coast revival, and in the early-1940s Cheryl Crawford production. But itÕs not in the published vocal score, so itÕs not in the performance material that has been available until now. Let me describe it. At the start of Act III the women have gathered to mourn those who have died in the hurricane, singing the chorus ÒClara, Clara, DonÕt You Be Downhearted.Ó The men accompany them, humming. When Gershwin scored the beginning of the act he added two measures of the men humming before the women enter; this changes a rather awkward joint between the instrumental introduction and the first choral entry into a completely natural transition and gives the womenÕs entrance the tiny bit of extra preparation which makes it utterly beautiful. I sometimes say that I edited Porgy and Bess to get these two measures back into
the score. The truth, however, is that editors edit in order to produce a clean, accurate, and readable musical text. In this edition, the occasional wrong note is repaired; slurs, ties, and accents are regularized; dynamics are trued up (composers sometimes get weary of writing, say, ÒffÓ on every line in a full score); strings are vetted to ensure that changes between arco (with the bow) and pizzicato (plucked) have been accurately indicated. Sources previous to the full score (sketches and the like) are checked to see whether important dynamic, tempo, or expression marks have been accidentally omitted in the full score (were they omitted by accident, or were they in fact discarded?); later sources (such as early, surviving orchestral parts) are also examined (was that change made as an improvement or because the player was not capable of playing the passage as written?). And, if the edition is Ñ like those produced by the Gershwin Initiative Ñ a Òcritical edition,Ó the editor documents what has been changed from the primary source, so that the music director does not have to worry whether a spot is actually GershwinÕs as he wrote it or whether itÕs been adjusted by a 21st-century editor. All this the editor does with pleasure. Several decades ago, a British reviewer in Opera magazine, reviewing a European production of Porgy and Bess, remarked that it was quite possibly the opera, closest to the core repertory, for which there was not a generally available orchestral score. Through this project, one will soon be available. Wayne Shirley is the editor of this edition of Porgy and Bess. He was previously a member of the Music Division of the Library of Congress, from which he retired as senior music specialist in 2002. THE GERSHWINSÕ PORGY AND BESS AND THE QUEST FOR AMERICAN OPERA by Mark Clague For me, the opera Porgy and Bess (1935) is about resilience: about a communityÕs hope for a better future despite the cruel evidence of experience. Catfish Row amplifies the struggle of American society with racial injustice, poverty, sexism, addiction, sexual violence, natural disaster, murder, and the divisions of society into north and south, sacred and secular, black and white. I wish that performing this very human drama Ñ written and premiered more than 80 years ago Ñ was simply an act of remembrance. I wish that it served only as a reminder of a past forgotten at our peril, of inequities and diseases vanquished, of civil rights heroes who, responding to injustice across the nation, bravely confronted and solved these very American problems. If this were true, Porgy and Bess would celebrate a transcendent human spirit, while serving as a warning about an era that should never return. Unfortunately, Porgy and Bess is not simply a memory, but a living document. The injustices it confronts remain. It is thus with tragic intensity that in 2018 Porgy and Bess still expresses a potent and contemporary urgency that resonates with our everyday lives. The operaÕs plot is propelled by the bias of white law enforcement Ñ false accusations, facile assumptions, a rush to judgment in the absence of real justice Ñ while today, black men in America are disproportionally killed by the police. In Act II, a hurricane kills most of the men of the fishing village, while stealing both mother and father from an infant in whom hopes of a bright future had been placed. Over this past year, three major hurricanes Ñ Harvey, Irma, and Maria Ñ hit American shores, making the stormÕs warning bells in the opera that much more foreboding and frightening. When Crown attacks Bess during the Kittiwah Island picnic, it recalls the growing list of sexual misconduct accusations in todayÕs news. At the end of the opera, addiction enslaves Bess to a life of prostitution, while in 2016 opioid addiction killed more than 20,000 Americans. In facing these issues, performing Porgy and Bess offers an opportunity for dialogue Ñ not just about the past, but about the present. The insidious danger of Porgy and Bess as a cultural monument is that its black characters can be interpreted as caricatures, not dramatic personae. In a society in which whites are privileged and blacks are not, the enthralled listener to GershwinÕs music can experience Catfish Row uncritically. Crown can be seen not as a troubled contradiction caught in a desperate cycle of survival and addiction, but as a stereotype reinforcing white fears of black violence. Read in racist terms, the poverty of Catfish Row becomes emblematic of black (in-)capability rather than a depiction of a community of working-class strivers facing a mountain of inequality. To sponsor a performance of Porgy and Bess, then, is to take on the responsibility for contextualizing and informing the operaÕs audience of both its racist dangers and its artful activism. As a white man leading the Gershwin Initiative at the University of Michigan, I have struggled with the meaning of preparing the score of Porgy and Bess for posterity. What is the operaÕs legacy? I admit that in 2013, when we began work on the new score only months after the re-election of the USÕs first black President, the question seemed partially answered. Today, the question is again critical. I am enchanted by George GershwinÕs music and the collaborative work on the libretto by the Heywards and Ira Gershwin, which combine to forge what for me is the operaÕs very human expression of passion, pain, and possibility. I was further driven by personal loyalty to my fellow scholar, Wayne Shirley, as I want to help bring his virtuoso feat of scholarly editing to print. Yet, ultimately, the answer to this question cannot be mine. I am sensitive to the call from former U-M professor Harold Cruse (1916Ð2005) asking black artists of the 1960s to boycott Porgy and Bess. As described in his 1967 book The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual, GershwinÕs opera was Òa symbol of that deeply engrained, American cultural paternalismÓ that obscured black artistsÕ originality in ÒNegro theater, music, acting, writing, and even dancing, all in one artistic package.Ó For Cruse, the success of Porgy and Bess became a barrier to the realization of other new works of black authorship. The way out of this paradox of appropriation is to democratize the controls of cultural production such that African American writers, lyricists, and composers can tell their own stories. And it cannot stop there. #OscarsSoWhite must give way to more than Selma, Moonlight, and Get Out. The theater must go beyond Hamilton. Works by women, Latin Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans Ñ any and all authors Ñ deserve a chance to thrive on their artistic merits and message. Studying Porgy and Bess has convinced me that its all-white creative team, while writing from their own necessarily limited perspective and experiences, saw the opera as an opportunity to bring the talents of black artists to the cultural mainstream. Their activism Ñ if it can be called that Ñ balanced entertainment with a focus on an American experience typically excluded from popular production. While African American composers such as Scott Joplin, Harry Lawrence Freeman, and James P. Johnson had written operas about the black experience before Porgy and Bess came on the scene, the celebrity of George Gershwin was necessary in 1935 to bring the story of black America to Broadway. That the composer turned down a $5,000 commission from New YorkÕs Metropolitan Opera (about $100,000 in todayÕs dollars), in order to avoid the use of white choristers in blackface, speaks to the composerÕs own growth since the failure of his 1922 blackface musical drama Blue Monday. Countless musical moments in Porgy and Bess speak to the GershwinsÕ and HeywardsÕ respect for black creativity. The composer spent nearly 10 years preparing for the work, after reading DuBose HeywardÕs novel Porgy in 1926. GershwinÕs creative gifts were so facile that such a period of study and preparation was unprecedented in his professional life. He seemed to know that Porgy and Bess would be the most challenging project he had yet faced. The lullaby ÒSummertimeÓ is the first aria heard in the opera. It gives voice to the dreams of a mother for her child. The beauty of its first note Ñ a difficult entrance, soft and high in the sopranoÕs tessitura Ñ reflects the challenges facing Jake and ClaraÕs newborn son. The songÕs hope and soaring lyricism serves as a tragic foil that foreshadows the loss to come, yet its endless melody is also the seed of the resilience that will allow Catfish Row to carry on after tragedy. Gershwin did not quote African American music in Porgy and Bess verbatim, but created original music that evokes its style and sensibilities. His music draws from the performances of Cab Calloway in New York, and especially from the music of the Gullah people, who lived on and around the Georgia Sea Islands near Charleston, South Carolina, where the opera is set. Gershwin resided on one of these islands Ñ Folly Island Ñ for a month in the summer of 1934 to experience its soundscape. Echoes of his research can be heard throughout the opera, as when Robbins is killed and his wife Serena sings ÒMy ManÕs Gone Now,Ó an intimate cry of love lost and dreams thrown into disarray. In response, the Catfish Row community rallies to support his widow and their children, mirroring their devastation
in the spiritual-like anthem ÒGone, Gone, Gone.Ó The paternalism of which Cruse complained is evident in the HeywardsÕ introduction to the play Porgy, upon which the operaÕs libretto is based. However, it also reveals the playwrightsÕ excitement to invite black actors into a collaborative process in which they would contribute their own creativity to the storytelling. In fact, the vendorsÕ cries Ñ selling deviled crab, honey, and strawberries Ñ were not part of the original novel, but instead were added to the text by the black actors themselves to increase the dramaÕs realism. In the opera, singers can steal the show with these evocative calls. The Strawberry Woman and Crab ManÕs rising slides give voice to the day-to-day struggle for existence with virtuoso power and emotional eloquence. The collaborative legacy hidden in these moments between art and artist continues to nourish the opera as a whole today, as a new generation of singers bring their own talents, character research, and emotional understandings to some of the most demanding and artistically challenging vocal roles in all of operaÕs repertory. Finally, PorgyÕs climactic expression of duty in the face of the impossible Ñ ÒOh Lawd, IÕm On My WayÓ Ñ fulfills for me the essential message of DuBose HeywardÕs novel and the newspaper clipping that served as its inspiration. Heyward had read a brief notice in a Charleston paper about Samuel Smalls, a local character and disabled beggar known as ÒGoat Sammy.Ó Smalls was apparently wanted by the police on the charge of attempted murder, and, for Heyward, the thought that a black man, crippled both physically and economically, could be so bold as to attempt to take anotherÕs life seemed the inspiration for a powerful story. Born and raised in Charleston, the writer changed ÒSammyÓ to ÒPorgy,Ó resulting in the 1925 novel. It is a tale of the transformation of a weak beggar into a determined, strong, and dynamic force. Prior to studying HeywardÕs novel, the ending of GershwinÕs opera always left me disappointed. GershwinÕs optimistic music seemed to say it was possible that Porgy could find Bess, but I heard PorgyÕs determination as a delusion. Now, it seems to me that the opera is really the tale of PorgyÕs transformation. He begins the opera as a smart but impotent survivor who scrapes subsistence from coins dropped by sympathetic passersby. By the end of the opera, however, he has defeated Crown Ñ the operaÕs symbol of ultimate strength and manhood. Porgy inherits CrownÕs mantle and becomes virile and powerful. Thus, I have come to see PorgyÕs determination to rescue Bess not as fantasy but as his newfound duty, whatever the odds. Catfish Row, too, moves on. The community itself may, in fact, be the true hero of the opera. Its heroism lies in its resilience, the tireless inevitability of its resolve to continue in the face of repeated tragedy. I find this same resilience in the opera itself. Porgy and Bess is a survivor. While George GershwinÕs early death two years after the operaÕs premiere made Porgy and Bess the heartbreaking finale of an American creative legacy, the composer certainly never intended this work to mark an endpoint. His Òfolk operaÓ was just another waystation on a creative journey, an improbable quest to create a credible American contribution to a European art form, using Broadway song and African American spirituals as musical inspiration. Gershwin hoped to forge a distinctively American music that gave voice to his age, with all its promise and problems. That quest does not end with Porgy and Bess.
This quest now belongs to all of us. Mark Clague is editor-in-chief of the George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition, and associate professor of musicology and interim associate dean for academic & student affairs at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance. Photo (previous spread): ÒOh, I Can't Sit Down,Ó Alvin Theatre, NY, 1935; photographer: Vandamm Studio NY, courtesy of the Ira & Leonore Gershwin Trusts. ÒI LOVES YOU, PORGYÓ: REFLECTIONS ON THE COMPLEXITIES BEHIND LOVING PORGY AND BESS by Naomi Andr There are many things to love about the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. Most of the tunes are already familiar through jazz standards (ÒSummertime,Ó ÒI Got Plenty oÕ NuttinÕ,Ó ÒBess, You Is My Woman NowÓ) and George GershwinÕs music has that perfect combination of an undulating Puccini-esque lyricism with catchy syncopations that capture the rhythms of the English language. The music achieves many things at once: it involves full-out operatic singing, yet still has moments that feel like spontaneous outpourings of emotion. SerenaÕs ÒMy ManÕs Gone NowÓ at the funeral of her husband in Act I showcases the singerÕs virtuosity and brings on the chills of a new widowÕs wail. At the same time, the ÒSix Simultaneous PrayersÓ chorus during the hurricane in Act II makes you feel like you have walked into a black church vigil. The creatorsÕ insistence on a black cast makes going to Porgy and Bess a unique experience, and one especially exciting for black audiences, for nowhere else in the repertory do we have the chance to see so many black people on the operatic stage Ñ and in the audience. Yet Porgy and Bess is also deeply troubling. The most disheartening part of the opera is the hopelessness of the charactersÕ fates. It is distressing to see the drinking, gambling, murder, and sexual assault that take place. Even more devastating is that the characters we cheer for Ñ the young loving family of Clara and Jake, the rehabilitated Bess Ñ end up dead or broken by the end. In the finale, when Porgy sings ÒOh Lawd, IÕm On My Way,Ó we know that he Ñ a poor, disabled black man Ñ will never make it to New York. Although the residents of Catfish Row sing about the ÒHeavÕnly LanÕÓ of promise and opportunity, we know they will most likely not see it in their lifetimes. Porgy and Bess was written in a historical moment that saw significant hope as well as deep racial conflict. After the Civil War, during Reconstruction, post-Reconstruction, and beyond, Jim Crow practices developed into laws, and lynching became a regular threat. With the Great Migration of poor southern blacks to the north for jobs and better opportunities, Harlem emerged as a place for great optimism and accomplishments. The Harlem Renaissance was fueled by the coming of age of the first generation born after slavery. Publications such as W.E.B. DuBoisÕs The Souls of Black Folk (1903) and Alain LockeÕs The New Negro (1925) outlined a new construction of black identity in the US and how a post-slavery society could thrive with members from all races. There was an energy and excitement for black achievement in the arts Ñ literature, music, dance, and theater all had a place in the racial uplift movement. Gershwin wrote an opera in his own style, on his own terms. He called Porgy and Bess an American Òfolk opera,Ó a designation open to interpretation and one that has caused much speculation. In using this term, Gershwin brought together the connection to the people Ñ in this case black people Ñ and the elevated genre of opera. The term ÒfolkÓ had varied meanings in the beginning of the 20th century, as the development of folklore societies in Europe and the US were founded to preserve oral traditions not written down. This energy was bolstered during the Depression in the 1930s when the US government sponsored several folk-related projects (such as the Federal Music Project).1 ÒFolkÓ also had a special resonance in the black community. In The Souls of Black Folk, DuBois centered this term in his discourse, and then began each chapter with a few bars of a Spiritual in music notation, thus linking the uplift of the race with the music of the people. Though Gershwin did not use authentic Spirituals in his opera, he and DuBose Heyward spent a month on Folly Island, off the coast of South Carolina, to be with Gullah and African American people and learn about their culture. One of the most complex issues around the work is the representation of the charactersÕ speech and the use of a language meant to express the dialogue and thoughts of the residents of Catfish Row. In a time when minstrelsy, radio shows (such as Amos ÕnÕ Andy), and other media where white actors, singers, and novelists rely on negative stereotypes of black people are shunned, Porgy and Bess sounds awkward and dated. But with recent controversies around the use and importance of what is variously called Black English, Ebonics, and African American Language, the quest for representing black culture in ways other than through the use of Standard English has resonance. The principle of linguistic subordination, where language variabilities associated with socio-economically oppressed groups are viewed as linguistic deficits rather than neutral linguistic variations, helps explain how attitudes about such language differences come about. Successful precedents in the beginning of the 20th century go back to the poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar, as well as to the art songs, spirituals, and choral arrangements by John Wesley Work, Jr. (as well as his son John Wesley Work, III), Nathaniel Dett, Hall Johnson, Undine Smith Moore, and Eva Jessye Ñ who was a composer as well as the choral director for the first production of Porgy and Bess. What becomes tricky is when someone outside of the subordinated group Ñ in this case the black community Ñ approximates the structure and syntax of the non-standard version of the language, and the result sounds and feels uncomfortable to those who know the true tradition. In this way, the language choices made by Porgy and BessÕs creators, however well-meant they may have been, are problematic. Such themes present a microcosm of how representation is fraught in Porgy and Bess. George and Ira Gershwin, alongside DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, gave us a compelling picture of black southern life that by contrast, and in an uncommon practice for the time, was required to be portrayed by black performers in true-to-color casting (not blackface) when staged in the US. This provided black artists Ñ from a wide spectrum of opera singers to the Broadway dancer John William ÒBubblesÓ Sublett (the original Sporting Life) .Ñ the opportunity to perform on stage to larger and wealthier audiences. Black artists and composers from the early part of the 20th century did not have the economic and social capital of the Heywards and Gershwins to pull off a venture like Porgy and Bess Ñ one that would have incredible staying power. Recent scholarship is helping to reveal a new historiography of blackness in opera by uncovering the narratives of black opera impresarios, such as the Theodore Drury Grand Opera Company that produced a few operas in the first decades of the century, and Mary Cardwell DawsonÕs music school and National Negro Opera Company that mounted a few productions in the 1940s to early 1960s. Composers such as Scott Joplin and Harry Lawrence Freeman, both of whom wrote operas that are beginning to resurface, were accomplished in the Western European tradition and wrote in a musical style that expands our understanding of how black culture was represented in American opera during the first decades of the 20th century. Over time, people have thought of Porgy and Bess as the Great American Opera, as well as a frustrating collection of stereotypes that emphasize a vision of black people who speak in dialect-ridden English, drink and gamble too much, and have a loose moral code. And to some extent, both of these assessments are true. The opera touches on intensely human emotions that lead to both great passion and heart-wrenching devastation. Yet it is the music that touches us and gets under our skin. And this is what makes GershwinÕs opera so easy to love and so hard to hate. Naomi Andr is associate professor of womenÕs studies, Afroamerican and African studies, and the Residential College at the University of Michigan. 1 Richard Crawford, ÒWhere Did Porgy and Bess Come From?,Ó 706Ð708. One of the activities of the Federal Music project was to fund an index of American folk music and composers. Select Bibliography Andr, Naomi, Karen Bryan, and Eric Saylor, eds. Blackness in Opera. Champaign Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2012. Crawford, Richard. ÒWhere Did Porgy and Bess Come From?Ó Journal of Interdisciplinary History Vol. 36, No. 4 (Spring 2006): 697Ð734. Lippi-Green, Rosina. English With an Accent: Language. Ideology, and Discrimination in the United States. London & New York: Routledge, 1997. Smitherman, Geneva. ÒAfrican American Language and Education: History and Controversy in the Twentieth Century.Ó The Oxford Handbook of African American Language, edited by Jennifer Bloomquist, Lisa J. Green, and Sonja L. Lanehart. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015. Photo (previous spread): George Gershwin, DuBose Heyward, and Ira Gershwin in Boston,
September 1935; photographer: Vandamm Studio NY, courtesy of the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trusts. ARTISTS Born of French and Austrian descent in New York City, Grammy-nominated Kenneth Kiesler (conductor) leads an active international career. Recent engagements include his Australia debut with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra (Mahler Symphony No. 5), his four-concert debut with the Chamber Orchestra of Chile, and a return appearance with Orquesta Sinfnica da USP in So Paolo. As director of university orchestras and professor of conducting at U-M, he leads the renowned U-M orchestral conducting program and conducts the University Symphony Orchestra (USO). As the music director of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra from 1980Ð2000, Maestro Kiesler conducted concerts in Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, and founded the Illinois Chamber Orchestra and Illinois Symphony Chorus. He was named conductor laureate for life, and was music advisor from 2009Ð11. He has been music director of the South Bend Symphony and New Hampshire Symphony, and principal conductor of the Saint
Cecilia Orchestra. Kenneth Kiesler has conducted orchestras on fiveÊcontinents, including the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center;ÊChicago Symphony at Orchestra Hall; the Queensland Symphony; the Detroit, Utah, and Indianapolis symphony orchestras; the Chamber Orchestra of Paris and Chamber Orchestra of Chile; the Jerusalem Symphony and Haifa Symphony; the Osaka Philharmonic; andÊthe orchestras of New Jersey, Florida, So Paulo,ÊSofia,ÊPuerto Rico,ÊDaejeon, Pusan,ÊHang Zhou, Memphis, San Diego, Albany, Virginia, Omaha, Fresno, Long Beach, LongÊIsland, Portland, and Guadalajara; and the Aspen, Atlantic, Meadowbrook, Skaneateles, Sewanee,
and Breckenridge festivals. Maestro Kiesler has conducted an array of operas including BrittenÕs Peter Grimes and RossiniÕs The Turk in Italy at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis,ÊBright ShengÕs The Silver River in Singapore, andÊoperasÊof Puccini, Verdi, Mozart, Ravel, Menotti, and Donizetti. He has led premieres by Evan Chambers, Steven Stucky, Gunther Schuller, Leslie Bassett, Ben Johnston, Aharon Harlap, Gabriela Lena Frank, Kristin Kuster, Steven Rush, Sven Daigger, and Paul Brantley; the first performance of GershwinÕs original jazz-band Rhapsody in BlueÊsince 1925; the US premiere of MendelssohnÕs Piano Concerto No. 3; the world premiere of James P. JohnsonÕsÊThe Dreamy Kid; the first performance since 1940 of De Organizer; and the non-European premiere and world-premiere recording of MilhaudÕs LÕOrestie dÕEschyle. Maestro KieslerÕs recordings with the BBC, Third Angle, and USO are heard on the Naxos, Dorian, Pierian, and Equilibrium labels. Recent recordings include GinasteraÕs Three Piano Concertos, and The Old Burying Ground by Evan Chambers. MilhaudÕs monumental LÕOrestie dÕEschyle was released by Naxos and nominated for a Grammy Award for
ÒBest Opera RecordingÓ in 2015. Winner of the 2011 American prize in conducting, Maestro Kiesler was the silver medal winner at Avery Fisher HallÕs 1986 Stokowski Competition, and the 1988 recipient of the Helen M. Thompson Award, presented by the League of American Orchestras to an outstanding American music director under the age of 35. His teachers and mentors include Carlo Maria Giulini, Fiora Contino, Julius Herford, Erich Leinsdorf, John Nelson, and James Wimer. Maestro Kiesler is one of the worldÕs most sought-after and highly regarded teachers and mentors of conductors. His conducting students hold positions with major orchestras, opera companies, and music schools worldwide, and have won major international conducting competitions including the Donatella Flick, Eduardo Mata, Nicolai Malko, and Lorin Maazel competitions. He has led conducting master classes in New York, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Paris, Moscow, Vilnius, Leipzig, Berlin, Mexico City, London, and So Paulo, as well as at the Waterville Valley Music Center (New Hampshire) and the Conductors Retreat at Medomak (Maine), now in its 21st year. Grammy Award-winning conductor Jerry Blackstone (conductor, U-M Chamber Choir) is director of choirs and chair of the conducting department at the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance where he conducts the Chamber Choir, teaches conducting at the graduate level, and administers a choral program of 11 choirs. In February 2006, he received two Grammy Awards (ÒBest Choral PerformanceÓ and ÒBest Classical AlbumÓ) as chorusmaster for the critically acclaimed Naxos recording of William BolcomÕs monumental Songs of Innocence and of Experience. The recent Naxos recording of MilhaudÕs LÕOrestie dÕEschyle, on which Dr. Blackstone served as chorusmaster, was nominated for a 2015 Grammy Award (ÒBest Opera RecordingÓ). For significant contributions to choral music in the state of Michigan, he received the 2006 Maynard Klein Lifetime Achievement Award from the ACDA-Michigan chapter and, in 2017, the National Collegiate Choral Organization presented him with its prestigious Lifetime Membership Award. From 2003Ð2015, Dr. Blackstone served as conductor and music director of the UMS Choral Union, a large community/university chorus that frequently appears with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) and the Ann Arbor Symphony. Choirs prepared by Dr. Blackstone have appeared under the batons of Valery Gergiev, Neeme Jrvi, Rafael Frhbeck de Burgos, Leonard Slatkin, Hans Graf, Michael Tilson Thomas, John Adams, Helmuth Rilling, James Conlon, Nicholas McGegan, Peter Oundjian, and Itzhak Perlman. Dr. Blackstone is considered one of the countryÕs leading conducting teachers, and his students have been first-place award winners and finalists in both the graduate and undergraduate divisions of ACDAÕs biennial National Choral Conducting Awards competition. GIA Publications recently released his 2016 rehearsal techniques video, Did you hear that?, which deals with the conductorÕs decision-making process during rehearsal. Santa Barbara Music Publishing distributes Dr. BlackstoneÕs acclaimed educational video, Working with Male Voices, and publishes the Jerry Blackstone Choral Series, a set of choral publications that presents works by several composers in a variety of musical styles. Willis C. Patterson (conductor, Willis Patterson Our Own Thing Chorale) is a U-M professor emeritus of voice and former associate dean, and joined the faculty in 1968 after having taught at Southern University (Louisiana) and Virginia State College. Dr. Patterson, born and raised in Ann Arbor, was the first African American professor at U-MÕs School of Music, and was an active faculty member from 1968Ð1999. From 1969Ð1975, he was the music director of the U-M MenÕs Glee Club, and spent summers as a faculty member at the National Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan. While maintaining an active concert career and fulfilling teaching duties, Dr. Patterson organized a Black American Music Symposium in 1985 and compiled an anthology of Art Songs by African American Composers that the New York Times described as a Ògroundbreaking anthology of black art songs.Ó He has since published a second anthology of art songs and a collection entitled The New Negro Spiritual. Dr. Patterson played an active role in securing funding and mentorship for minority and disadvantaged students, both at U-M and in the Ann Arbor community. A singer (bass-baritone), editor, and arranger, Dr. Patterson has extensively concertized in opera houses and concert halls in the US and Europe, and has appeared as soloist with major American orchestras. Dr. Patterson served as president of the National Association of Negro Musicians and as executive secretary of the National Black Music Caucus. He served as president of VIDEMUS, a nonprofit arts organization committed to producing concerts, programs, and recordings of the concert music of African Americans, women, and under-represented composers. He is the founder and director of the Our Own Thing Chorale, an Ann Arbor choral organization, and the Our Own Thing Instructional Program, which has provided free music lessons, both vocal and instrumental, to area youth for more than 40 years. He is also a founder and member of the African-American Endowment Fund of the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation.Ê Morris Robinson (Porgy) is considered one the most interesting and sought-after basses performing today. Mr. Robinson regularly appears at the Metropolitan Opera, where he is a graduate of the Lindemann Young Artist Program. He made his debut there in a production of Fidelio and has since appeared as Sarastro in Die Zauberflte (both in the original production and in the childrenÕs English version), Ferrando in Il Trovatore, the King in Aida, and in roles in Nabucco, Tannhuser, and the new productions of Les Troyens and Salome. He has also appeared at the San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Dallas Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Seattle Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Teatro alla Scala, Opera Australia, and the Aix-en-Provence Festival. His many roles include the title role in Porgy and Bess, Sarastro in Die Zauberflte, Osmin in Die Entfhrung aus dem Serail, Ramfis in Aida, Zaccaria in Nabucco, Sparafucile in Rigoletto, Commendatore in Don Giovanni, Grand Inquisitor in Don Carlos, Timur in Turandot, the Bonze in Madama Butterfly, Padre Guardiano in La Forza del Destino, Ferrando in Il Trovatore, and Fasolt in Das Rheingold. Also a prolific concert singer, Mr. Robinson recently made his debut at the BBC Proms in a performance of the Verdi Requiem with Marin Alsop and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He also appeared in Carnegie Hall as part of Jessye NormanÕs HONOR! Festival. In recital, he has been presented by Spivey Hall in Atlanta, the Savannah Music Festival, the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Mr. RobinsonÕs first album, Going Home, was released on the Decca label. He also appears as Joe in the newly released DVD of the San Francisco Opera production of Show Boat, and in the DVDs of the Metropolitan OperaÕs production of Salome and the Aix-en-Provence FestivalÕs production of MozartÕs Zaide. An Atlanta native, Mr. Robinson is a graduate of The Citadel and received his musical training from the Boston University Opera Institute. American soprano Talise Trevigne (Bess) begins the current season at Hawaii Opera Theatre in the role of Micala in Carmen and travels to Canada to recreate the role of Clara in JFK at Opra de Montral. At Opera Omaha, she steps into the role of Ma in Proving Up and finishes the season in the title role of LÕincoronazione di Poppea at Cincinnati Opera. Recent highlights include performances at Kentucky Opera in the title role of Madama Butterfly, a role which has brought her great success. In a return engagement with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in the UK, she sang StraussÕs Four Last Songs and appeared in Jake HeggieÕs world premiere of ItÕs a Wonderful Life at Houston Grand Opera. Other highlights include the role of Leila in Les Pcheurs de Perles at North Carolina Opera, and at Glimmerglass Festival in the role of Bess in Porgy and Bess in a new production by Francesca Zambello. Ms. Trevigne was greatly honored to be nominated for a 2016 Grammy Award in the category of ÒBest Solo Classical RecordingÓ for her rendition of Christopher RouseÕs masterpiece Kabir Padavali with the Albany Symphony. Ms. Trevigne appeared in Ricky Ian GordonÕs Orpheus and Euridice; created the role of Clara in David T. Little and Royce VavrekÕs world premiere JFK; sang KernisÕs Love Songs with Albany Symphony; and appeared as Pamina in The Magic Flute at Hawaii Opera Theatre. She sang the world premiere of Jake HeggieÕs song cycle Pieces of 9/11 Ð Memories from Houston at Houston Grand Opera, and her solo CD, At the Statue of Venus (GPR Records), written by Mr. Heggie and Glen Roven, quickly climbed to the top of the US record charts. She is featured on Jake HeggieÕs CD release here/after: songs of lost voices alongside Stephen Costello, Joyce DiDonato, and Nathan Gunn. Other appearances in works by Jake Heggie include Pip the cabin boy in Moby Dick, a role specially written for her and which she inaugurated at the world premiere of the piece at Dallas Opera in 2010, also appearing in the role at San Francisco Opera, San Diego Opera, and Washington National Opera; and as Sister Rose in Dead Man Walking. American baritone Norman Garrett (Crown), a native of Lubbock, Texas, is a recent alumnus of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program at Washington National Opera. In the current season, Mr. Garrett will debut with Austin Opera, performing Escamillo in Carmen, Crown in The GershwinsÕ Porgy and Bess at U-M, and BeethovenÕs Symphony No. 9 with the Rogue Valley Symphony in Ashland, Oregon. In the 2016Ð17 season, Mr. Garrett returned to the Glimmerglass Festival as a principal artist as Crown and participated in Cincinnati OperaÕs Opera Fusion: New Works workshop of Intimate Apparel, composed by Ricky Ian Gordon, based on the Lynn Nottage play of the same name. He also reprised the role of Escamillo with Opera Columbus. Highlights of Mr. GarrettÕs 2015Ð16 season featured his European debut with the Wexford Festival Opera in Ireland as the title role in a new production of DeliusÕ Koanga by Michael Gieleta, conducted by Stephen Barlow, and a concert of American music with The Cleveland Orchestra. Mr. Garrett is a winner of the 2014 George London Foundation Competition.
In the past three years, he has garnered top prizes in more than a dozen international vocal competitions, including the Gerda Lissner Foundation, the William Matheus Sullivan Foundation, the Jensen Foundation, the Giulio Gari Foundation, Fort Worth OperaÕs McCammon Competition, and the Licia Albanese-Puccini Competition. He is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and Texas Tech. Chauncey Packer (Sporting Life) is an exciting American tenor. He has sung the roles of Rodolfo (La Bohme), Alfredo (La Traviata), Pong (Turandot), Werther (Werther), Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), Sam (Susannah), Ruggero (La Rondine), Dr. Blind (Die Fledermaus), and Tamino (The Magic Flute). Mr. Packer has garnered rave reviews for his portrayal of Sporting Life with Tulsa Opera, Atlanta Opera, Opera Birmingham, San Francisco Opera (featured on the DVD release), and all across Europe. He recently made his debut with Teatro alla Scala as Sporting Life. Mr. Packer has performed concerts with the Baton Rouge Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony, Pensacola Symphony, Arkansas Symphony, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfonica de Mineria, and Louisiana Philharmonic. Most recently, Mr. Packer was featured in a concert at Thtre des Champs-lyses benefiting the organization Women of Africa. Mr. Packer has also honed his craft on musical theater stages in the first national post-Broadway tours of The GershwinsÕ Porgy and Bess (2013Ð14) and Cinderella (2015Ð16). His most recent and future engagements include concerts with the Colour of Music Festival, National Philharmonic at Strathmore, and New Orleans Opera. He is also featured vocalist on an upcoming recording with Paragon Ragtime Orchestra
to be released in November 2017. Janai Brugger (Clara), a 2012 winner of Operalia and of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, began the current season returning to the Royal Opera HouseÐCovent Garden in the role of Pamina in Die Zauberflte. She performs in MahlerÕs Symphony No. 4 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra, and travels to her home city of Chicago to take on the role of Li in Turandot at Lyric Opera of Chicago, and to star in Ask Your Mama with Chicago Sinfonietta. Ms. Brugger also returns to U-M with a recital and a concert performance as Clara in The GershwinsÕ Porgy and Bess. At Palm Beach Opera she sings Susanna in Le Nozze de Figaro and finishes the season at the Dutch National Opera as Servillia in La clemenza di Tito. Recent highlights include performances at the Metropolitan Opera in several roles: Jemmy in Guillaume Tell, Micala in Carmen, Pamina in The Magic Flute, and Marzelline in Fidelio. The proud recipient of the 2016 Marian Anderson Award, she gave a recital at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and later joined the Atlanta Symphony for the role of Amor in Orfeo in concerts and a recording. She appeared in the Bonn AIDS Gala in Germany and sang BeethovenÕs Symphony No. 9 at Grant Park in Chicago. Identified by Opera News as one of their top 25 Òbrilliant young artistsÓ (October 2015 issue), Ms. Brugger appeared in the Metropolitan OperaÕs Rising Stars concert series and made several US concert and recital appearances, along with her highly successful debut as Norina in Don Pasquale at Palm Beach Opera. She revived the role of Musetta in La Bohme at Los Angeles Opera under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel. Recent highlights include the role of Pamina at Los Angeles Opera in the new production by Barrie Kosky, and Li in Turandot at the Metropolitan Opera, where she also sang the role of Helena in The Enchanted Island.
A native of Chicago, she obtained a masterÕs degree from U-M, where she studied with the late Shirley Verrett. Baritone Reginald Smith, Jr. (Jake) has been lauded as a Òpassionate performerÓ (New York Times) with an Òelectric, hall-fillingÓ (The Baltimore Sun) and Òthrillingly dramaticÓ (Opera News) voice that is Òone of the most exciting baritone sounds to come along in yearsÓ (Opera News). A native of Atlanta, he is a Grand Finals winner of the 2015 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and a graduate of the Houston Grand Opera Studio. During the 2016Ð17 season, Mr. Smith made company debuts with the San Francisco Opera, the Dallas Opera, Opera Memphis, and Opera Carolina, as well as his concert debut with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Marin Alsop. During the current season, Mr. Smith will make his company debuts with Opera Hong Kong as Amonasro in Aida, the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Senator Charles Potter/General Airlie/Bartender in Gregory SpearsÕ Fellow Travelers, and Portland Opera as Monterone in Rigoletto. He will return to Opera Memphis to make his role debut as Taddeo in RossiniÕs LÕItaliana in Algeri. In conjunction with U-MÕs Gershwin Initiative research, Mr. Smith will sing the role of Jake in the draft score of The GershwinsÕ Porgy and Bess. Additionally, he will make his concert debut with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra as the bass soloist for BeethovenÕs Ninth Symphony, as well as his Dallas Symphony Orchestra debut as the guest soloist and narrator for the Dallas Symphony Christmas Pops. This spring, he will make his Lincoln Center debut as the bass soloist for BeethovenÕs Symphony No. 9 with the National Chorale. Mr. Smith is thrilled to return to his alma mater, the University of Kentucky, to perform MendelssohnÕs Elijah with the Lexington Singers and the University of Kentucky Chorale. Hailed for possessing a voice of extraordinary beauty, a seamless legato, and great dramatic depth, young American soprano Karen Slack (Serena) was most recently heard as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Nashville Opera, Serena in Porgy and Bess with the National Chorale and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Sister Rose in Dead Man Walking with both Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Vancouver Opera, and Anna in Le villi in her debut with the Scottish Opera. Additionally, Ms. Slack portrayed a featured role in Tyler PerryÕs movie and soundtrack For Colored Girls as the Opera Diva. Engagements for the current season and beyond include Sister Rose in Dead Man Walking with Kentucky Opera and Minnesota Opera, Serena in Porgy and Bess in concert with U-M, her debut with New Orleans Opera as Emelda Griffith in Champion, joining the Toru. Symphony Orchestra at the Toru. Music Festival (Poland), VerdiÕs Requiem with the South Bend Symphony, presenting a solo recital with pianist Scott Gendel at Emory & Henry College, as well as engagements with Mill City Summer Opera and Arizona Opera. Ms. Slack made her Carnegie Hall debut as Agnes Sorel in TchaikovskyÕs Maid of Orleans, a role she also performed with the San Francisco Opera. She has sung the title role in Aida with Lyric Opera of Kansas City. She made her Metropolitan Opera and international radio broadcast debuts in the title role of VerdiÕs Luisa Miller. Mezzo-contralto Rehanna Thelwell (Maria) has been applauded for her Òsuperb and expressive powerÓ in performance by South Florida Classical Review, while her voice has been commended as Òone of beauty and distinctionÓ with Òrich vocal qualitiesÓ by Palm Beach Arts Paper and the Arizona Daily Sun. In her most recent performances, Ms. Thelwell had the unique opportunity to work alongside composer William Bolcom for his newest opera, Dinner at Eight, and performed as the alto soloist with U-MÕs University Symphony Orchestra for their performance of MahlerÕs Symphony No. 2. During the summer season, Ms. Thelwell joined the Miami Music Festival Wagner Institute for a second time in their production of the Gtterdmmerung prologue as Second Norn. In her first year with the Wagner Institute, Ms. Thelwell had the privilege of sharing the stage with soprano Christine Georke and bass-baritone Alan Held for their rendition of The Ride of the Valkyries. Ms. Thelwell also took part in OperaMODOÕs 2016Ð17 season as Mistress Quickly in VerdiÕs Falstaff and Florence Pike in BrittenÕs Albert Herring. Ms. Thelwell was actively involved with U-MÕs Opera Theatre and Northern Arizona University Opera Theatre where she performed the roles of Ulrica from Un Ballo in Maschera, La Principessa from Suor Angelica, Cornelia from Giulio Cesare, Zita from Gianni Schicchi, and Je.ibaba from Rusalka. Through the U-M Opera Theatre, Ms. Thelwell had the opportunity to premiere the San Francisco opera workshop production of Bright ShengÕs Dream of the Red Chamber as Lady Wang. Native to New Jersey, Ms. Thelwell began her studies in 2009 at Northern Arizona University under the instruction of Deborah Raymond. In 2014, she was accepted into the graduate program at U-M and in 2016 returned for her specialist degree. Camron Gray (Robbins/Crab Man/Crap Shooter) was born and raised in Middle Tennessee and studied at Tennessee Tech University, receiving two bachelorÕs degrees in music education and Spanish. During his time at Tennessee Tech, Mr. Gray studied under Dr. Frederick Kennedy, Jr., and participated in several summer opera workshops in Boston, Washington, DC, and Mendocino, California. He is currently completing his second year in the MM in vocal performance program of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance at U-M, studying under professor emeritus George Shirley. Lenora Green-Turner (Lily/Strawberry Woman), a native of Macon, Georgia, is a DMA student at U-MÕs School of Music, Theatre & Dance. She recently completed her tenure as artist-in-residence for LeMoyne Owen-College, Stax Music Academy, and Opera Memphis. Her roles include Countess Susanna (Il Segreto di Susanna), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Sister Angelica (Suor Angelica), and Antonia (Les Contes dÕHoffmann). She has been awarded the Jane Willson Emerging Artist Award and the Leo Rogers Scholarship/Sarasota Opera Guild Award. A student of Dr. Louise Toppin, she holds a masterÕs degree from U-M and a performance diploma from Indiana University. Goitsemang Lehobye (Annie/A Woman) was born in Ga-Rankuwa, South Africa, and first heard opera on television through a performance of the South African Black Tie Opera Ensemble. In 2011, she won a scholarship to study with Hanna van Niekerk and Kamal Khan at the University of Cape TownÕs College of Music. Her productions include La Bohme, Postcards from Morocco, Don Giovanni, and La Traviata. In 2016, she toured as Serena in the Cape Town Opera production of Porgy and Bess. In 2017, she played the role of Carlotta Vance in the U-M production of Dinner at Eight. She is a student of Daniel Washington. Tenor Darius Gillard (Mingo/Scipio/Nelson/Crap Shooter) is steadily gaining momentum on regional operatic circuits. Praised for his warm legato and charismatic presence, he excels in the lyric repertoire. He has appeared in leading and supporting roles with companies that include the Connecticut Lyric Opera, Greenville Light Opera, Capitol Opera Raleigh, and Hartford Opera Theatre. He has also made appearances with the Charleston Chamber Orchestra, Flint Symphony Orchestra, and the Detroit Festival Camerata as a featured soloist in various oratorio works. He is presently preparing to debut with the Michigan Opera Theatre as he concludes his doctoral studies at U-M. Dorian L. Dillard II (Peter), a young and versatile performer on the rise, is currently a masterÕs student at U-M. A native of Detroit, he has performed such roles as King Casper in MenottiÕs opera Amahl and the Night Visitors, Rinucio in the opera Gianni Schicchi, Tamino from MozartÕs Die Zauberflte, Snout from BrittenÕs A Midsummers NightÕs Dream, Tybalt from GounodÕs Romeo & Juliet, and, most recently, Larry Renault from William BolcomÕs opera Dinner at Eight. His musical theater roles include Mister, Grady, and the African Chief in The Color Purple, and Curtis and Tiny Joe Dixon in Dreamgirls. Edward Nunoo (Jim/Crap Shooter) is currently a junior at U-M studying vocal performance with Daniel Washington at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. He was a member of the Young Musicians Choral Orchestra, the first and only choral youth orchestra in the US, from 2006Ð15. As a sophomore, Mr. Nunoo was the bass soloist for MozartÕs Requiem with the University Choir and the Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra in 2017. He recently made his operatic debut at U-M this November, playing the role of Gustave in William BolcomÕs opera Dinner at Eight. Baritone Yazid Gray (Frazier/Undertaker/
A Man/Crap Shooter) is thrilled to be singing in his very first production of Porgy and Bess. He is currently finishing his MM in vocal performance at U-M, where he studies with Stephen Lusmann. As a student, he has performed multiple roles with the universityÕs opera department; most recently he was seen on stage portraying the role of Oliver Jordan in U-MÕs fall production of Dinner at Eight by William Bolcom. Previous roles include Demetrius (A Midsummer NightÕs Dream) and Mercutio (Romo et Juliette). Before attending U-M, Mr. Gray earned his BM in vocal performance from DePauw University. Julian J. Goods (Crap Shooter) is a third-year undergraduate, studying choral music education with a primary focus in voice at U-M. He is a member of numerous professional organizations including the National Association of Negro Musicians, where he serves as the Central Region secretary. He serves as librarian and section leader for the U-M MenÕs Glee Club, director for the Michigan Gospel Chorale, and is the organist for the Cathedral Choir at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church. Mr. Goods is an Eagle Scout and a Vigil member of the Order of the Arrow. The University Symphony Orchestra (USO), considered one of the worldÕs finest student orchestras, has been conducted by its music director, Kenneth Kiesler, since 1995. Its reputation was affirmed in 2005 when it received the Grammy Award for ÒBest Classical AlbumÓ for the premiere recording of William BolcomÕs Songs of Innocence and of Experience; in 2011 when named the recipient of The American Prize for Orchestral Performance; as two-time recipient of the Adventurous Programming Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP); and in 2014 when its premiere recording of Darius MilhaudÕs LÕOrestie dÕEschyle was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of ÒBest Opera Recording.Ó Under the auspices of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, the USO serves as a training ground for gifted young musicians, many of whom go on to significant careers in major symphony orchestras, opera houses, and chamber music ensembles, and as leading educators. The USO has also been at the core of U-MÕs highly competitive and sought-after graduate program in orchestral conducting, ranked number one in the US by U.S. News and World Report since 1997. USO tours have included performances in Carnegie Hall and at the festivals of Salzburg and Evian. The USO has premiered dozens of new works by contemporary composers, and has played the American premiere of James P. JohnsonÕs The Dreamy Kid, as well as the first performance since 1940 of the same composerÕs De Organizer. The USO also played the American premieres of MendelssohnÕs Piano Concerto No. 3 and music by the female Czech composer Viteslava Kapralova. The USO has several recordings currently available, including first-ever recordings of music by U-M composers Leslie Bassett, Michael Daugherty, and William Bolcom on the Equilibrium label. Audiences are invited to watch and listen to USO performances, conducted by Kenneth Kiesler, on YouTube. The premier choral ensemble at the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance, the Chamber Choir performs a wide variety of the most challenging repertoire, ranging from Renaissance to contemporary music. The ensemble is comprised of graduate and upper-level voice, choral music education, and conducting majors. In addition to its performances on campus, in July 2014 the Chamber Choir presented concerts in Brisbane, Australia and throughout New Zealand, where they were the featured choir at the National Conference of the New Zealand Choral Federation held in Hastings. In the US, the Chamber Choir has appeared with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra at Orchestra Hall under conductors Nicholas McGegan, David Lockington, and Helmuth Rilling, andÊat national and division conventions of the American Choral Directors Association. The Chamber Choir was honored to perform by special invitation at the 2006 inaugural conference of the National Collegiate Choral Organization, held in San Antonio, Texas. Named for its founder and director, the Willis Patterson Our Own Thing Chorale began over 45 years ago as a vehicle for participation in music-making. The Chorale seeks to preserve the exposure of traditional and contemporary choral compositions, written and/or arranged by African American composers and arrangers, with special emphasis on the Negro spirituals. The Chorale is comprised of individuals from the greater Ann Arbor area and Flint who perform concerts to bring this music to the community. The Chorale also supports the Our Own Thing Instructional Program, founded in 1968, which provides assistance to area youth free-of-charge; allowing them to pursue lessons (both vocal and instrumental), rent musical instruments, and attend Interlochen Center for the Arts. The program has, throughout its existence, provided music lessons to over 1,100 students, of which more than 100 have continued their involvement as performers or teachers of music throughout Michigan and across the country. Teachers for this program are students and professors from the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance. The Chorale has appeared annually in concerts in the greater Ann Arbor area and elsewhere, including the 1985 Black American Music Symposium at U-M; the 1994 Gershwin National Association of Negro Musicians Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas (performing Duke EllingtonÕs Sophisticated Lady and excerpts from Porgy and Bess); the 2000 Symposium of Fine & Performing Arts of African American Educators and Performers at U-M (performing Adolphus HailstorkÕs I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes); and several of the annual George Shirley Scholarship fundraisers at Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor. CREATIVE TEAM Musicologist Mark Clague (U-M interim associate dean of academic affairs) serves as editor-in-chief of The George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition and director of U-MÕs Gershwin Initiative. His edition of George GershwinÕs orchestral tone poem An American in Paris was premiered in Paris by the Cincinnati Symphony under conductor Louis Langre on September 9, 2017, and has since been performed by the Atlanta, Detroit, National, and San Francisco symphonies. As part of the Gershwin Initiative, he teaches undergraduate and doctoral research seminars on the music of the Gershwins, most recently a class focusing on The GershwinsÕ Porgy and Bess. A specialist in the music history of the US, Dr. Clague holds faculty appointments in the departments of musicology, entrepreneurship and leadership, American culture, AfroAmerican and African studies, and non-profit management at U-M. He served as executive editor of, and is now co-editor-in-chief of, the critical editions series Music of the United States of America, published by the American Musicological Society, and is chief advisor to the Music of Black Composers series, a set of string education books from the Rachel Barton Pine Foundation. He has edited the music of Alton Augustus Adams, Sr., Dudley Buck, and Arturo Toscanini, and is currently writing the book O Say Can You Hear?: A Tuneful History of ÒThe Star-Spangled BannerÓ for W.W. Norton. He is currently interim associate dean of academic and student affairs for the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and serves as secretary on the board of UMS. Wayne D. Shirley (editor, Porgy and Bess) was born in 1936 in Brooklyn, New York. He earned a BA from Harvard, a MA from Stanford, and an ABD from Brandeis University. In 1963, he became joint American editor with John Vinton of the Rpertoire International des Sources Musicales; in 1965, he became a member of the music division of the Library of Congress, from which he retired as senior music specialist in 2002. He now lives in retirement in Durham, New Hampshire. He has edited works of Charles lves and Florence B. Price for publication, and works of George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, and Victor Herbert for performance. His ambition to play the role of Mr. Archdale in todayÕs performance was not approved. Kathleen Kelly (U-M associate professor of music) enjoys a wide-ranging and dynamic musical life as a pianist, opera coach, conductor, and master teacher. The first woman and first American named as director of musical studies at the Vienna State Opera, she joined the U-M faculty in 2015 as the schoolÕs first coach/conductor of opera. At U-M, she has led performances of Giulio Cesare, Gianni Schicchi, LÕheure espagnole, Cosi fan tutte, and A Midsummer NightÕs Dream. Since her return to the US, Ms. Kelly has led performances of Le nozze di Figaro at Wolf Trap, the premiere of Emmerich KlmnÕs Arizona Lady at Arizona Opera, and Francesca ZambelloÕs critically acclaimed Ariadne on Naxos at the Glimmerglass Festival, a production that was a finalist in the 2015 International Opera Awards. She also conducted the West Coast premiere of Ricky Ian GordonÕs A Coffin in Egypt, starring Frederica von Stade. Ms. KellyÕs 2017Ð18 season features two notable return journeys, including a return to Carnegie Hall with mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton; their recital at Zankel Hall in December was part of a six-city tour. In June, she will return as an alumna of San Francisco OperaÕs Merola program to conduct the Schwabacher concerts. She also leads performances of Bill BolcomÕs Dinner at Eight at U-M, and Hnsel and Gretel for El Paso Opera. She has performed internationally as a recital pianist at Weill Hall, the Terrace Theater at the Kennedy Center, and ViennaÕs Musikverein; and in the Mahlersaal of the Vienna State Opera, in ManhattanÕs Neue Galerie, on the Schwabacher Series in San Francisco, at the Tucson Desert Song Festival, and at numerous universities and colleges across the US. Her recital partners have included Jamie Barton, Christine Goerke, Michael Kelly, Troy Cook, Amber Wagner, Susan Graham, Albina Shagimuratova, Valentina Nafornita, Joyce DiDonato, and Thomas Hampson. She has curated art song series for the Houston Grand Opera and the Vienna State Opera, and currently is artistic director of the Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor. Daniel A. Washington (voice teacher, U-M professor of music) is a bass-baritone, tenured professor of music (voice) at the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and an honorary professor (humanities) at the University of Cape Town South African College of Music. An award-winning artist, teacher, mentor, scholar, and administrator, Professor Washington is an expert on African American classical music and spirituals, Porgy and Bess, and diversity in the arts. An active performer, Professor WashingtonÕs career has taken him to the worldÕs major opera houses and concert stages. Highlights of his operatic career include his Royal Opera Covent Garden debut in StraussÕs Die Frau ohne Schatten, conducted by Bernard Haitink; as Jochanaan in Salome at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Sicily (Italy); and as Porgy at Theater des Westens (Berlin) in the highly acclaimed production directed by Gtz Friedrich. He sang in the world premiere of the song cycle Angel of Dreamers by Eric Ewazen with the Michigan Chamber Players and the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, and portrayed Balthazar in MenottiÕs Amahl and the Night Visitors, directed by the composer. Professor Washington has received awards for artistry, including the first prize in the International Voice Competition of Toulouse, the first prize in the International Competition of Lyric Singing in Verviers, and the Bad Hersfeld Opera Prize. He recently launched the annual Lucy Washington Annual Vocal Competition in South Carolina. Louise Toppin (voice teacher, U-M professor of music) has received critical acclaim for her operatic, orchestral, and oratorio performances throughout the US, Europe, Asia, South America, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean. She has appeared in recital on many concert series, including those in Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Lincoln Center. Orchestral appearances include the Czech National Symphony, Mlmo Symphony Orchestra (Sweden), Tokyo City Orchestra (Japan), and the Montevideo Philharmonic (Uruguay), with conductors such as Murry Sidlin, Paul Freeman, Richard Aulden Clark, Justin Brown, James Meena, Vladimir Ashkenazy, and Gearhart Zimmerman. Her operatic roles include the title role in the world premiere of the opera Luyala by William Banfield, Treemonisha in Scott JoplinÕs Treemonisha, Maria in the world premiere of Joel FeiginÕs opera Twelfth Night, and both Bess and Clara in The GershwinsÕ Porgy and Bess. Dr. Toppin was most recently contracted to sing Clara in The GershwinsÕ Porgy and Bess for Baltimore Opera, Opera Carolina, and Piedmont Opera. Dr. Toppin serves on the summer faculties of The Vocal Course for The National Conservatory (Bogota, Colombia), The Amalfi Coast Music Festival (Maiori, Italy), and the Accra Symphony Operatic Course (Accra, Ghana). She is a much sought-after clinician for colleges and universities throughout the US. She is the director of Videmus and the administrator for the George Shirley Vocal Competition on African American art song. She was previously distinguished university professor of music and chair of the department of music at the University
of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Robert Swedberg (U-M associate professor of music) directs in the opera program at U-M, where he also teaches Opera Workshop, The Business of Music, and Yoga for Performers. Since his first year at U-M in 2008, he has also produced ÒGreen OperaÓ productions, creating eco-friendly opera by taking steps to lower the carbon footprint in rehearsal and performance. He has directed over 150 opera productions for opera companies in the US. Working on the international stage, Mr. Swedberg has created productions in Macau and Beijing, China; Mallorca, Spain; Ischia, Italy; and Hof, Bamberg, Pforzheim, and Bayreuth, Germany. American pianist and collaborator Kevin J. Miller (rehearsal pianist) is acclaimed for his dynamically artful performances. As a collaborator, Mr. Miller has worked with many great artists, including in recital with international tenor Joseph Calleja and Nadine Sierra at the Supreme Court of the US, as well as in an appearance with Mr. Calleja on NPRÕs Tiny Desk Concert series. He prepared soprano Jessye Norman for performances of Laura KarpmanÕs production of Ask Your Mama at Carnegie Hall. Mr. Miller has collaborated with the internationally acclaimed countertenor David Daniels in a recital at the Glimmerglass Festival. He can be heard on the recording Been in da Storm So Long, which features baritone Kenneth Overton with Mr. Miller at the piano. Mr. Miller has been a participant in some of the countryÕs most prestigious festivals and young artist apprenticeships, including the Tanglewood Institute of Music, Aspen Summer Music Festival, the Cleveland Art Song Festival, San Francisco OperaÕs Merola Opera Program, Washington National OperaÕs Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, and the Glimmerglass Festival. Upon completion of his apprenticeship at the Glimmerglass Festival, he was invited
to serve there as a vocal coach. Upcoming engagements include a recital with countertenor John Holiday at the Kennedy Center, and a recital with tenor Lawrence Brownlee at Opera PhiladelphiaÕs Perelman Theater. The University of Michigan Gershwin Initiative brings together a landmark public university with the GershwinsÕ extraordinary cultural achievements to renew a legacy worthy of the attention of the nation and the world. IraÕs universal lyrics and GeorgeÕs soaring melodies, in songs such as ÒIt AinÕt Necessarily So,Ó ÒI Got Rhythm,Ó ÒEmbraceable You,Ó ÒLove Is Here to Stay,Ó and ÒÕS Wonderful,Ó capture the heart and soul of American life. In an exclusive arrangement with the Gershwin estates, the University of MichiganÕs Gershwin Initiative offers a transformative opportunity to our scholars and students that will echo in concert halls across the globe. The U-M Gershwin Initiative is an ongoing, multi-decade scholarly examination of the GershwinsÕ music in which researchers from U-MÕs School of Music, Theatre & Dance, working with peers from across campus and around the world, document and analyze all of the GershwinsÕ cultural treasures. The catalyst of this pioneering effort is The George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition, the first scholarly edition of the GershwinsÕ music ever published. This unprecedented work provides to conductors, musicians, performers, scholars, and audiences greater insight into George and IraÕs creativity, and in many cases, is creating the only published performance material to accurately reflect the brothersÕ vision. The new U-M edition will include works like the potent American folk opera The GershwinsÕ Porgy and Bess, the beloved jazz piano concerto Rhapsody in Blue, and the tone poem An American in Paris, along with many of the extraordinary songs that the brothers wrote side-by-side for more than two dozen Broadway and Hollywood musicals. For more information on the initiative, visit smtd.umich.edu/ami/gershwin. This project is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor, and through the efforts of private donors.
For more information on donating to The George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition, please contact Paul Harkins at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling
734-764-4453, or visit giving.umich.edu/give/smtd-gershwin. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this book do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. UMS ARCHIVES This eveningÕs performance marks the University Symphony OrchestraÕs (USO) 94th appearance under UMS auspices. The USO performed as the orchestra in some of the first UMS concerts dating back to February 1880. This eveningÕs concert marks Maestro Kenneth KieslerÕs fourth UMS performance, following his UMS debut in January 2004 in Hill Auditorium conducting the USO in the Hill Re-Opening Concert. Maestro Kiesler and the USO most recently appeared under UMS auspices with Audra McDonald in September 2013 in Hill Auditorium. The U-M Chamber Choir makes its fifth UMS appearance this evening, following its UMS debut in October 1994 performing with the Martha Graham Dance Company as part of In the American Grain: The Martha Graham Centenary Festival in the Power Center, conducted by Theodore Morrison. The Choir most recently appeared under UMS auspices as part of the April 2013 performance of MilhaudÕs LÕOrestie dÕEschyle in Hill Auditorium conducted by Kenneth Kiesler with U-M musical ensembles and choruses. Jerry Blackstone makes his 41st UMS appearance this evening following his UMS debut in December 2003 in the Michigan Theater in performances of HandelÕs Messiah. He most recently appeared under UMS auspices in February 2015 in Hill Auditorium in his final performance as music director of the UMS Choral Union in a performance of MendelssohnÕs Elijah with the Ann Arbor Symphony. TonightÕs performance marks Willis PattersonÕs fourth UMS appearance, following his UMS debut in April 1969 in Hill Auditorium as soloist in SchubertÕs Mass with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Thor Johnson. The Willis Patterson Our Own Thing Chorale makes its second UMS appearance this evening, following its UMS debut in November 1994 in Hill Auditorium as part of A Celebration of the Spiritual with Willis Patterson and the UMS Choral Union. Morris Robinson makes his third appearance under UMS auspices this evening, following his UMS debut in December 2012 in performances of HandelÕs Messiah conducted by Jerry Blackstone in Hill Auditorium. This eveningÕs concert marks Janai BruggerÕs seventh UMS appearance, following her UMS debut in performances of HandelÕs Messiah in Hill Auditorium in December 2014 conducted by Jerry Blackstone. She most recently appeared under UMS auspices in a solo recital with Martin Katz in January 2018 in the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre. UMS welcomes Talise Trevigne, Norman Garrett, Chauncey Parker, Reginald Smith, Jr., Karen Slack, Rehanna Thelwell, and the rest of this eveningÕs soloists as they make their UMS debuts tonight. UNIVERSITY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Kenneth Kiesler / Music Director Violin I Brian Allen / Concertmaster Teagan Faran / Associate Concertmaster Nathan Bieber Stuart Carlson Dana Johnson Chihiro Kakishima Bram Margoles Rebekah Ruetz Chase Ward Yu Chao Weng Tiffany Wilkins Violin II Isabella Amador / Principal Anita Dumar / Associate Principal Anna Berntson Rose Brown Carmen Flesher Laura Gamboa Mina Hong Benjamin Jackson Brian Kosiadi Allison Taylor Viola Gwendolyn Matias-Ryan / Principal Caleb Georges / Associate Principal Elizabeth Boyce Zoie Hightower Patrick Marsh Aimee McAnulty Alice Risov Madeline Warner Cello Pedro Sanchez / Principal Nathan Walhout / Associate Principal Nicole Chung Tim Edwards Jin Nakamura Lindsay Sharpe Double Bass Cindy Wei Xin / Principal Thomas Hawthorne / Associate Principal Conor Flynn Daniel Kumapayi ^ Flute Ayana Terauchi / Principal Maria Castillo / Piccolo Oboe Laurel Wellman / Principal Nicole Joslin Benjamin Cormier / English Horn Clarinet Harry Hwang / Principal Allison Chu Emily Ji ^ Jordan Kauffman Bassoon Matthew Wildman / Principal Saxophone Chance Stine / Alto ^ Jonathan Hostottle / Alto ^ Matthew Koester / Tenor ^ Horn Arun Mangrulkar / Principal Cassandra Eide / Assistant Michaela Clague Amy Su Trumpet Isaac Hopkins / Principal ^ Michelle Riechers ^ Kyle Mallari ^ Trombone Scott Vanderbilt / Principal Zongxi Li ^ Tuba Evan Zegiel / Principal Percussion Colleen Bernstein / Principal Logan Frewen ^ Tanner Tanyeri ^ Ajay Wadhwani Timpani Ajay Wadhwani / Principal Piano Daniel Brottman / Principal Banjo Bradley Phillips Solo Piano in Act I Ellen Rowe Personnel Daniel Brottman Equipment Simon Lohmann Lindsey Sharpe Librarian Alizabeth Nowland Production Jennifer Barretto / Stage Manager Colter Schoenfish / Assistant Stage Manager Bruna Davila / Assistant Staging Coordinator Assistant Conductors Chelsea Gallo Diego PIedra Rotem Weinberg Tal Benatar Charlotte Politi ^ Member of the OrphansÕ Band UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN CHAMBER CHOIR Jerry Blackstone / Conductor Soprano Hayley Boggs Hannah Clague Jennie Judd Madeline Thibault Catherine Moss Francesca Napolitano Maitri White Suzanna Mathews Madison Warren Taylor Adams Jessica Allen Adrianna Tam Goitsemang Lehobye Samira Plummer Sarah Inendino Alto Helen Hass Megan Wheeler Antona Yost Micaela Aldridge Emilia Butryn Elise Eden Madison Montambault Bryce McClendon Hayley Tibbenham Anjani Briggs Eliana Barwinski Amber Carpenter Charlotte Politi Jaime Sharp Tenor Shohei Kobayashi Camron Gray Wesley Fields Brent Doucette Lucas Alvarado Thomas Burton Westley Montgomery Regis Haynes Jim Renfer Yongmin Kim Andrew Burgmayer Zion Jackson Andrew S. Kohler Bass Jabarie Glass Stephen Wynn Andrew Schafer Giovanni Bellegarde Jack Williams III Tanner Hoertz Yazid Gray Kurt Clare Daniel Brottman Julian Goods Samuel Kidd Rgulo Stabilito Jotaro Nakano Edward Nunoo WILLIS PATTERSON OUR OWN THING CHORALE Willis C. Patterson / Conductor and Founder Darnell Ishemel / Associate Director Rebecca Jones / Accompanist Soprano Naomi Andr Jan BenDor Petreya Campbell Bonita Cowan-Tucker Lucy K. Hayden Katherine Johnson Nancy Konigsberg Kerner Edith Lewis Diane OÕConnell Robbie Ransom Anne Rueter Cathy Keresztesi-Stevens Kira Monae Turner Sharon Vaughters Elizabeth O. Weil Alto Francetta Ampey Audrey Anderson Wanda Dawson Pam Dent Brenda Doster Kathi Dvorin Janet V. Haynes Barbara Meadows Luanna Slay Ruth Ann Small Pam (Tia) Thomas Robin Wilson Tenor Daniel Kresh Ronnie Lindsey Margaret Madagame Bernard Patterson Jeffrey Pickell Connie Watts Winnie Wood Bass Senyo Adzei Ronald Ampey Paul Haynes Bob Patterson Haleem Jamal Shaah Joseph Vaughters-Sevig Ronald Woods ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Porgy and Bess Planning Committee Naomi Andr Stephen Berrey Jeffrey Beyersdorf Sara Billmann Jerry Blackstone Marilou Carlin Mark Clague Leah Claiborne Angela Dillard Tess Eastment John Ellis Paul Feeny Shannon Fitzsimons Moen Rachel Francisco Jessica Getman Paul Harkins Freyja Harris Sydney Hawkins Robert Hurst Mark Jacobson Elizabeth James Kathleen Kelly Ellen Kettler Kenneth Kiesler Michael Kondziolka Jim Leija Marie McCarthy Lisa Murray Stanford Olsen Terri Park Scott Piper Margaret Reid Ellen Rowe Austin Stewart Willie Sullivan Robert Swedberg Kira Thurman Louise Toppin Daniel Washington Special Thanks Timothy Archer Roger Arnett Jack Bernard Lisa Borgsdorf Christopher Boyes Robert Grijalva Bridget Kennedy Kevin Miller Brandon Monzon Rebecca Morrow-Spitzer Alizabeth Nowland Willis Patterson Emilio Rodriguez George Shirley Scott VanOrnum Nicole Watson Editorial Board of the George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition Mark Clague / Editor-in-Chief Ryan Baagale Jessica Getman / Managing Editor James Kendrick Michael Owen Loras Schissel Karen Schnackenberg Wayne Shirley Advisory Board of the George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition Marc George Gershwin Michael Strunsky Adam Gershwin Todd Gershwin William Bolcom Richard Crawford Michael Feinstein Walter Frisch Thomas Hampson Joseph Horowitz Laura Jackson Christopher Kendall Andrew Litton Joan Morris Jessye Norman Howard Pollack Melody Racine Logan Skelton Michael Tilson Thomas Alfred and Jane Wolin Bruce Zenkel The Gershwin Initiative Mark Clague / Editor-in-Chief Jessica Getman / Managing Editor David Belkovski Timothy Brewer Mathew Browne Sofia Carbonara Allison Chu Kristen Clough Rachel Fernandes Anne Heminger Megan Hill Lisa Keeney Andrew Kohler Lena Leson Joshua Luty Jason Paige Kathryn Pohl Brandon Scott Rumsey Ellen Sauer Christopher Sherwood Gabrielson Carlos Simon Sarah Sisk Frances Sobolak Sarah Suhadolnik Evan Ware Alyssa Wells Kai West Gershwin Initiative Donors Marc George and Andrea Gershwin (Arthur Gershwin, LLC) Michael and Jean Strunsky (Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Philanthropic Fund) Alfred and Jane Wolin Bruce and Lois Zenkel Ronnie & Lawrence D. Ackman Ericka and Peter Bigelow Mark Clague and Laura Jackson Melissa Cox and Shannon Saksewski Michael DiPietro and Alice Fishman Randall and Ellen Frank Adam and Amy Gershwin Paul Groffsky DuBose and Dorothy Heyward Memorial Fund Kerry Humphrey Ellen and Michael Kettler Chris and Parky May Jennie and Richard Needleman Rothman Family Foundation Maureen Schafer and David Klerkx Jane and Jerome Schultz Ari and Susan Spar TONIGHTÕS VICTORS FOR UMS: Lycera Ñ Mr. and Mrs. Donald L. Morelock Ñ Susan B. Ullrich Endowment Fund Supporters of this eveningÕs performance of The GershwinsÕ
Porgy and Bess. MAY WE ALSO RECOMMEND... 3/14 Piedmont Blues: A Search for Salvation 3/31 Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Chick Corea 4/15 ApolloÕs Fire: MonteverdiÕs LÕOrfeo Tickets available at www.ums.org. ON THE EDUCATION HORIZONÉ 2/18 Talking AboutÊPorgy and Bess: A Post-Performance Discussion
(Gallery, Hatcher Graduate Library, 913 S. University Avenue, 2:00 pm) 2/19 FRAME: A Salon Series on Visual Art, Performance, and Identity (202 S. Thayer Street Building, Atrium, 7:00 pm) Educational events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.
The GershwinsÕ Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, and Ira Gershwin Kenneth Kiesler Conductor University Symphony Orchestra Kenneth Kiesler / Music Director U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance Chamber Choir Jerry Blackstone / Conductor Willis Patterson Our Own Thing Chorale Willis Patterson / Conductor Morris Robinson / Porgy