Powerful Songs, Dance & Tragic Love in 'Gershwins' Porgy and Bess' (VIDEO)

Rick and Christina Gables
PBS Porgy and Bess Met Opera Angwl Blue Eric Owens
PBS

Enjoy an American folk opera set in 1920s Charleston with a classic score by George Gershwin in a new production directed by James Robinson with Eric Owens and Angel Blue star in the title roles. Great Performances at the Met: The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess premieres Friday, July 17 on PBS.

PBS Porgy and Bess Met Opera Eric Owens

Met Opera

Porgy and Bess focuses on the joys and struggles of a black neighborhood in South Carolina.

While playing craps when drunk and high on drugs, Crown (Alfred Walker) loses, starts a fight and kills another player. Before the police arrive, Crown runs off to hide, telling Bess that he’ll be back for her.

Only the disabled beggar Porgy is sympathetic to Bess; he offers her shelter and his protection, which then leads to a tragic love.

PBS Porgy and Bess Met Opera Latonia Moore

Ken Howard / Met Opera

A month later, Crown, who has been hiding on the island since the murder, calls out to Bess, but she shuns him. She now has a new life with Porgy, but Crown forces her to stay with him.

As a hurricane rolls in, everyone cowers together in Serena’s (Latonia Moore) room to pray for deliverance from the storm. Under the cover of the stormy darkness, Crown appears and approaches Porgy’s door. Porgy is ready for him and kills him instantly.

PBS Porgy and Bess Met Opera Angel Blue

Ken Howard / Met Opera

Detectives return to Catfish Row to investigate Crown’s murder and drag Porgy away. Sportin’ Life (Frederick Ballrntine) convinces Bess that Porgy will go to prison for the crime, and he attempts to lure her away to a new life.

A week later, Porgy returns from jail in a jubilant mood. He calls out for Bess and learns that she took off to New York with Sportin’ Life.

Now, Porgy must make a decision.

Great Performances at the Met: The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, Premiere, Friday, July 17, 9/8c, PBS (Check your local listings)