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Porgy And Bess

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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | March 23, 2012
It's a kind of a musical homecoming. "Porgy and Bess," the first and, many would say, greatest American opera, returns to Baltimore after a long absence with a large-scale production this week at Morgan State University, featuring several well-established singers who have come back to their alma mater for the occasion. In a way, the character of Bess is coming home, too. The creator of that role, Baltimore-born soprano Anne Brown, studied at what was then Morgan College before moving to New York and sharing the spotlight at the 1935 premiere of "Porgy and Bess.
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By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun | June 6, 2013
Joseph S. Eubanks, a noted bass-baritone and Morgan State University music professor who performed with the first American company of "Porgy and Bess," which toured the world in the 1950s, died May 16 of renal failure at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson. The Morgan Park resident was 88. "Joe's voice was an outstanding instrument. It was to die for, and whenever he sang, you knew it was Joe. It was very distinctive," said Betty M. Ridgeway, a retired Morgan State University voice teacher who teaches part-time at Goucher College.
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NEWS
March 27, 2012
With regard to the production of "Porgy and Bess" to be presented at Morgan State University ("Morgan State to stage 'Porgy and Bess,'" March 23), it is interesting to note that the role of Sportin' Life was created by Avon Long, who along with Anne Brown, creator of the role of Bess, were graduates of Frederick Douglass High School. At Douglass, Brown and Long were taught by H. Llewelyn Wilson, Baltimore's most prominent black music educator. Wilson also taught at Morgan and was the conductor of the Colored Symphony Orchestra and Colored Chorus, which, along with the Colored Municipal Band and Colored Park Band, were funded by the Baltimore Municipal Department of Music.
NEWS
March 27, 2012
With regard to the production of "Porgy and Bess" to be presented at Morgan State University ("Morgan State to stage 'Porgy and Bess,'" March 23), it is interesting to note that the role of Sportin' Life was created by Avon Long, who along with Anne Brown, creator of the role of Bess, were graduates of Frederick Douglass High School. At Douglass, Brown and Long were taught by H. Llewelyn Wilson, Baltimore's most prominent black music educator. Wilson also taught at Morgan and was the conductor of the Colored Symphony Orchestra and Colored Chorus, which, along with the Colored Municipal Band and Colored Park Band, were funded by the Baltimore Municipal Department of Music.
NEWS
By Frederick N. Rasmussen and Frederick N. Rasmussen,Sun reporter | March 2, 2008
Nearly 73 years have passed since Baltimorean Anne Wiggins Brown, who played the role of Bess in the original production of George Gershwin's folk opera Porgy and Bess, hauntingly sang "Summertime" before an audience seated in New York's Alvin Theatre. Broadway was a long way from Brown's girlhood home at 1501 Presstman St. She was born in Baltimore in 1912 or 1915 (there is slight variance on the exact date and month), the oldest of four daughters. Her father was Dr. Harry Francis Brown, a physician and grandson of a slave, and her mother, Mary Allen Wiggins, whose parents were of Scottish-Irish, black and Cherokee Indian descent, sang and played piano.
FEATURES
By Ann Hornaday and Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC | January 15, 1999
Jim Wheeler's Dorothy Dandridge Exhibit will make an exclusive East Coast stop in Baltimore at the Heritage Shadows of the Silver Screen Museum and Cinema starting Feb. 19."Dorothy Dandridge: The Actress, the Myth, the Sister," a collection of photographs, film costumes and memorabilia from the life of the legendary actress, will be on view at the museum through Feb. 28. Museum founder Mike Johnson also will play host to two private showings of "Porgy and Bess," the 1959 film starring Dandridge and Sidney Poitier, Feb. 19 and 20. The events will benefit the Heritage's building fund.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith | November 3, 2002
Here's a combination you might find unlikely - Russian conductor Yuri Temirkanov and American composer George Gershwin. The former may be best known for his intense performances of Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich and Prokofiev, but that's only a portion of his interests. A longtime aficionado of jazz, the conductor led the first production of Porgy and Bess in St. Petersburg 35 years ago and continues to savor Gershwin's music whenever he can. "I think Gershwin has always been underestimated in America," Temirkanov said recently.
NEWS
By Neil A. Grauer | February 4, 1991
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF PORGY AND BESS: The Story of an American Classic. By Hollis Alpert. Knopf. 354 pages. $35.NEVER underestimate the power of the press.In March 1924, a 91-word story in the Charleston, S.C., News and Courier caught the eye of DuBose Heyward, a genteelly impoverished Southern aristocrat and poet who wanted to give up his modest insurance business to concentrate on literary pursuits. The story described a minor contretemps with police involving Sammy Smalls, a crippled black beggar who got around Charleston in a tiny cart pulled by a goat.
NEWS
By EILEEN SOSKIN and EILEEN SOSKIN,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | April 7, 2006
The life stories of the Gershwin brothers (lyrics by Ira Gershwin, music by George Gershwin) are interesting and exciting. Tomorrow, the Columbia Orchestra and Comcast present the Fascinatin' Rhythm of their lives in a dramatic multimedia narrative featuring music, words and visuals. Audience members will hear some of the Gershwin brothers' most beloved music, including selections from Porgy and Bess, Rhapsody in Blue, I've Got Rhythm, and Strike Up the Band. Along with the Columbia Orchestra, led by maestro Jason Love, performers include professional soloists Carolyn Black-Sotir, vocalist; Arno Drucker, piano; R. Timothy McReynolds, piano/tenor; Thomas Williams, bass/flugel- horn; Richard McReady, banjo/tenor; and an appearance by the Marching Wildecats Band of Wilde Lake High School.
FEATURES
By Glenn McNatt and Glenn McNatt,SUN STAFF | May 17, 1998
Had American composer George Gershwin never met Anne Brown, the title of his greatest work almost certainly would have been shorter by half.Gershwin was inspired to create his masterpiece in 1926 after reading Dubose Heyward's novel "Porgy," about a beggar in Charleston, S.C., who falls in love with a beautiful woman of easy virtue. His planned "folk opera" was to have the same name.By 1934, the composer was hard at work on the score and was beginning to audition singers. He cast a brilliant, handsome baritone, singer Todd Duncan, in the title role of Porgy.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | March 23, 2012
It's a kind of a musical homecoming. "Porgy and Bess," the first and, many would say, greatest American opera, returns to Baltimore after a long absence with a large-scale production this week at Morgan State University, featuring several well-established singers who have come back to their alma mater for the occasion. In a way, the character of Bess is coming home, too. The creator of that role, Baltimore-born soprano Anne Brown, studied at what was then Morgan College before moving to New York and sharing the spotlight at the 1935 premiere of "Porgy and Bess.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith | tim.smith@baltsun.com and Baltimore Sun reporter | March 26, 2010
The poor folk of Catfish Row are back onstage at the Kennedy Center, with all their warmth and kindness, passion and pettiness, superstition and faith, and they're as involving as ever in the brilliant Washington National Opera production of George Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess." This revival of the company's 2005 staging reconfirms the incisive elements of Francesca Zambello's directorial concept, which largely overcomes the work's 1930s stereotypes of African-Americans. She knows how to craft a true ensemble effort, so that a real sense of community is ever-present.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Sragow | michael.sragow@baltsun.com and Sun Movie Critic | February 28, 2010
"Ever since I was a kid, I dreamed about working in the theater," the producer of " Wicked," Marc Platt, wrote in the foreword to the backstage book "Wicked: The Grimmerie." But the Pikesville native has put together a two-decade production career that encompasses movies and TV, as well as theater. While "Wicked" continues its conquest of musical stages around the world, Platt's movie version of "Nine" is in the running for four Oscars, including a nomination for Penelope Cruz as best supporting actress.
NEWS
By Frederick N. Rasmussen and Frederick N. Rasmussen,Sun reporter | March 2, 2008
Nearly 73 years have passed since Baltimorean Anne Wiggins Brown, who played the role of Bess in the original production of George Gershwin's folk opera Porgy and Bess, hauntingly sang "Summertime" before an audience seated in New York's Alvin Theatre. Broadway was a long way from Brown's girlhood home at 1501 Presstman St. She was born in Baltimore in 1912 or 1915 (there is slight variance on the exact date and month), the oldest of four daughters. Her father was Dr. Harry Francis Brown, a physician and grandson of a slave, and her mother, Mary Allen Wiggins, whose parents were of Scottish-Irish, black and Cherokee Indian descent, sang and played piano.
NEWS
By EILEEN SOSKIN and EILEEN SOSKIN,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | April 7, 2006
The life stories of the Gershwin brothers (lyrics by Ira Gershwin, music by George Gershwin) are interesting and exciting. Tomorrow, the Columbia Orchestra and Comcast present the Fascinatin' Rhythm of their lives in a dramatic multimedia narrative featuring music, words and visuals. Audience members will hear some of the Gershwin brothers' most beloved music, including selections from Porgy and Bess, Rhapsody in Blue, I've Got Rhythm, and Strike Up the Band. Along with the Columbia Orchestra, led by maestro Jason Love, performers include professional soloists Carolyn Black-Sotir, vocalist; Arno Drucker, piano; R. Timothy McReynolds, piano/tenor; Thomas Williams, bass/flugel- horn; Richard McReady, banjo/tenor; and an appearance by the Marching Wildecats Band of Wilde Lake High School.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | November 24, 2003
A year ago this month, an all-Gershwin concert by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra brought down the house at Meyerhoff Hall thanks in large measure to contributions by the Morgan State University Choir in excerpts from Porgy and Bess. On the podium was the BSO's music director Yuri Temirkanov, who enjoyed the experience of working with the choristers so much that he invited them to repeat the program in Russia, this time performing with his other orchestra, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, during an arts festival he founded.
FEATURES
By J.D. CONSIDINE and J.D. CONSIDINE,SUN POP MUSIC CRITIC | September 22, 1998
When George Gershwin's "An American in Paris" got its premiere at Carnegie Hall in 1928, Oscar Thompson, music critic for the New York Evening Post, was not impressed. Complaining of its "blunt banality and ballyhoo vulgarity," Thompson predicted the piece would soon be forgotten.Although he admitted that its opening-night audience found the work to be "good fun," Thompson dismissed Gershwin's attempt to bring the jazz idiom into symphonic music as a mere fad. "To conceive of a symphonic audience listening to it with any degree of pleasure or patience twenty years from now, when whoopee is longer even a word, is another matter," he sniffed.
NEWS
By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun | June 6, 2013
Joseph S. Eubanks, a noted bass-baritone and Morgan State University music professor who performed with the first American company of "Porgy and Bess," which toured the world in the 1950s, died May 16 of renal failure at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson. The Morgan Park resident was 88. "Joe's voice was an outstanding instrument. It was to die for, and whenever he sang, you knew it was Joe. It was very distinctive," said Betty M. Ridgeway, a retired Morgan State University voice teacher who teaches part-time at Goucher College.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith | November 3, 2002
Here's a combination you might find unlikely - Russian conductor Yuri Temirkanov and American composer George Gershwin. The former may be best known for his intense performances of Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich and Prokofiev, but that's only a portion of his interests. A longtime aficionado of jazz, the conductor led the first production of Porgy and Bess in St. Petersburg 35 years ago and continues to savor Gershwin's music whenever he can. "I think Gershwin has always been underestimated in America," Temirkanov said recently.
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