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On The Controversial New Reinterpretation Of "Porgy & Bess"...

by Tambay A. Obenson
September 27, 2011 1:01 AM
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Nice report from PBS on all the hoopla surrounding the revival of Porgy & Bess... plus you'll see some footage of the show within it:

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  • urbanauteur | September 28, 2011 9:32 AMReply

    I'm still waiting for late sportswriter[ralph wiley penned script- "Spike Lee's Huckaberry Finn" revisionist film, he was slated to direct back in `97, but got side track or should i say broad-sided with summer of sam;

  • Micah | September 28, 2011 3:09 AMReply

    I view this as an impetus to create our own classics although I find what they are doing interesting.

  • JMac | September 28, 2011 1:00 AMReply

    First sentence was tongue in cheek.

    Second paragraph - at the heart of alterations with the play and the book is the attempt to make the characters less offensive/stereotypical than they were originally created to be. She wanted to de-mammie the mammie and Nigger Jim is just Negro Jim. I agree with the play's little tweaks but not the minor tweaking of Nigger Jim's name.

  • CareyCarey | September 27, 2011 9:47 AMReply

    JMac, you said Sondheim's critique was not "very professional" because he'd never seen the play?

    I'd disagree b/c his "critique" (if you read it) didn't speak to the "performance". I'd call it an overall analysis of the “Opera” (e.g. purist, power plays, money, old guard vs. new money, classic vs. contemporary, interpretation, revisions vs. complete re-write, etc,). He also analyzed the words (the defensiveness) of the writer and director of this production. Granted, he did sort of take a side, but again, he didn’t say the “performance” was "bad" (I have not read that). Picture some of the side issues within the debates on “The Help”... before it played.

    And could you explain what you meant by this---> Now, how to reconcile this with the politically corrected Huck Finn book I despise? Well, really, that whole paragraph lost me.

  • JMac | September 27, 2011 6:56 AMReply

    Funny. Sondheim wrote a critique on something he'd never seen.... Not very professional.

    No controversy to me. It's not as if the original is gone and you're unable to read/see the "unaltered" version. How many times have operas been modified to occur in different historical time periods?

    Now, how to reconcile this with the politically corrected Huck Finn book I despise? Plays, operas, and any live performance are always a little different, more variable and fluid. The medium of the written word (where there is no expectation of public performance) carries an expectation that its expression not be altered except by the original author. I'll go with that.

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