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Enchanted EveningsThe Broadway Musical from Show Boat to Sondheim$
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Geoffrey Block

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195167306

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195167306.001.0001

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Porgy and Bess: Broadway Opera

Porgy and Bess: Broadway Opera

(p.60) Chapter Four Porgy and Bess: Broadway Opera
Enchanted Evenings

Geoffrey Block

Oxford University Press

Porgy and Bess, described by its composer George Gershwin (1898–1937) as “a serious attempt to put in operatic form a purely American theme” and “a new form, which combines opera with theatre,” began its public life in 1935 before a Broadway audience. After a disappointing initial Broadway run of 124 performances, Porgy and Bess achieved a wider audience seven years later in the most successful Broadway revival up to that time. But in contrast to the 1935 operatic form, the 1942 revival presented a Broadway opera shorn of its operatic accoutrements, i.e., without recitatives (sung dialogue). Although some spoken dialogue replaced Gershwin's recitative, in the 1950s Porgy and Bess regained more of its operatic form as it toured opera houses all over the world.

Keywords:   George Gershwin, Broadway, opera, musical theater, operatic form

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