The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,
From Broadway to San Francisco
San Francisco Opera House, Grand Foyer
Under the leadership of The Museum of Performance and Design and San Francisco Opera with special loans from The Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trust, the exhibition in the Grand Foyer of San Francisco Opera House was one of the most well received exhibitions in recent memory at San Francisco Opera.
As the first African American Guest Curator for San Francisco Opera, the exhibition broke ground in inaugurating ipod looping technology for a listener booth and a film viewing station. The listening station showcased continuous looping of Gershwin’s rarely heard private rehearsal recordings of Porgy from the 1935 Boston production.
The film viewing station showcased continuous looping of the rare silent film on loan by The Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trust of highlights of a 1935 Broadway rehearsal shot by the assistant conductor to Alexander Smallens and snipets of the Opening Night party with George Gershwin and the Cast.
The exhibition artifacts were comprised of items from Doggett’s archive embellished by originals and copies from The Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trust, The Museum of Performance and Design and San Francisco Opera.
Thank you Mimi Manning, Michael Owen, Brad Rosenstein, Marcia Lazer and Kip Cranna for helping to make our well received exhibition possible.
This exhibition is available for loan* and is accompanied by a related lecture: The Gershwins’, Porgy & Bess and BlackLivesMatter
A new exhibition can expand on the 2009 exhibition as I have much more historic Porgy and Bess material of interest including additional historic programs and all of the significant aria/duet recordings of Porgy and Bess in both 78rpm and Lp formats.
The “Vocalion Race Record” shown in my focused documentation of this exhibition is but one of many important “Sermons with Singing” Race Records in my Archive.
The experience of “Sermons with Singing” recount Gershwin’s Charleston ” field research” experience of Southern Black Religious fervor which he acknowledged as playing a critical role in his vision for and adaptation of Southern Black religious fervor throughout his Folk Opera. The important Aria and Scene, “Doctor Jesus”; the healing of Bess … as well as the prayers for Clara’s dead husband underscore Gershwin’s authenticating field research.
*Note, a prospective loan of this exhibition does not include the property of San Francisco Opera House and The War Memorial venue-the case, the table, the 8×10 production stills and programs of earlier performances of Porgy and Bess at San Francisco Opera. These items would be replaced by ones specific to the venue and company producing Porgy and Bess.
The 1935 Rehearsal/Opening Night film showcased in this exhibition is the property of The Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trust and was generously loaned by The Trust in association with Michael Owen.