Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"Porgy and Bess" (Lyric Opera of Chicago) - 12/9/08

Lyric Opera is putting on an emotionally open production of Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess". Last year in London, I caught a critically well-received musical version of "Porgy" directed by Trevor Nunn (of "Cats" and "Les Miz" fame). However, I found that production to be emotionally distant. Why? Doesn't intimacy in the theater invite a stronger connection to the performers? Not in this case; "Porgy and Bess" was written for the opera house, and only in the that setting and performance style can it be fully appreciated. Surprisingly, Lyric is putting on its first ever "Porgy", and they've done it proud. With the full orchestra and big voices, Francesca Zambello's sturdy production feels true to its material. The typically mannered sold out Lyric audience I was in recognized this, giving this one a boisterous curtain call.

Rating: ***1/2 (out of *****)

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