Aside from a few of the hits, the current Broadway version was a complete introduction to the world of PORGY AND BESS, and I found it quite lovely. I have since immersed myself in various other incarnations of the score: The 1959 movie version (which at one time I thought I would never see and yet found on pirate bay), a televised version of a 1990s Trevor Nunn staging, and a few jazz interpretations. I now feel qualified to say that the Broadway production does a wonderful job of making Porgy easier to consume (if it never quite feels natural). In seeing the Nunn production, however, I can see how someone having heard the score with a full cast and full orchestra in an opera house would not settle for an adaption any sooner than they would want to see The Ring Cicle similarly reduced. I want to go back and see it again, now that I am more familiar/obsessed with the material.
But, in all honesty, I think the most brilliant and effective interpretation of the work is Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong’s 1958 album of their interpretation of much of the score. It’s brilliance is staggering.
Your Goodwill must be a little less tragic than mine.
I have to say, it was an atypically miraculous day at the Goodwill. The selection of fashionable clothes with a waist size < 38” was also the clearest sign of the rapid gentrification which has descended upon my neighborhood (myself being a prime example of aforementioned gentrification).
Betty Buckley — “Finishing The Hat” (from Sunday in the Park with George) — The London Concert (1995)
The only rendition of this beautiful song that I like other than Mandy’s. Because Betty is George. Her talent is other-worldly and she’s said to have a crazy high IQ. She was only married for seven years in her thirties and has no children. She tours around the country with her parrots. Eccentric, brilliant, and totally unrelatable. Combine this connection she has to the song with her monumental voice, and it’s a perfect recording.