Black Opera and Working Catfish Role: Engaging Black Experience in Opera
Prof. Dr. Naomi André (University Michigan, USA):
Through an evaluation of the historical context for Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, set in the 1920s and first performed in 1935 during Jim Crow, this work creates multiple meanings when it is performed today. Now over 80 years later we have seen the Civil Rights movement, an era where policies around incarceration have been called the “New Jim Crow,” and a current climate where many contend that #BlackLivesMatter, Porgy and Bess has a special place in American culture and when it is performed across the globe. This engaged musicological analysis incorporates the role of the creators, the embodiment of the performers on stage, and the vantage points of the audience interpreting the performance.