McCaw Hall Seattle Center
Recommended by Charles Mudede
The setting: Charleston, South Carolina. The time: long ago. The story: Porgy is a beggar ("I Got Plenty o' Nuttin"); Bess is a loose woman ("Bess, O Where's My Bess?"). The two are part of a love triangle completed by Crown, a rough and manly longshoreman. Early in the opera, a craps game happens. But the pleasures of gambling do not last long. A fight erupts. Crown kills another man, Robbins. Crown flees before the police arrive. Bess, who is hated by the other women of the ghetto, moves in with the only man, Porgy, who will offer her protection from the law. Porgy falls in love with her; Bess fails to fall totally in love with him. The opera has a sad ending. But the George Gershwin opera provided jazz with two giant standards: "Summertime" and "I Loves You, Porgy." It's also considered by many as the United States' only legitimate contribution to the opera canon.