The Gershwins' PORGY AND BESS
May 17 & 18, 2007



"Music Director Michael Morgan couldn't have chosen a better work to inaugurate the American Masterworks series than George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, presented at the Paramount Theater in an abridged concert version on May18, 2007. In a throwback to days when accessibility and entertainment weren't taboo, Morgan freely incorporated "popularizing" ploys that are still shunned in rarefied academic circles."
SFCV.ORG



"In all, the symphony created an excellent concert presentation, with some incredible voices, particularly Rahming and Demus, along with Morant and Iglehart, who is a familiar face in the Bay Area through numerous performances in local theaters."
CONTRA COSTA TIMES



"Another outstanding feature of the production was the appearance by the 120-voice symphony chorus directed by Lynne Morrow. The group, dressed as sharecroppers, sat behind the orchestra and gave a richness and deep harmony to the production."

CONTRA COSTA TIMES

"The cast, featuring James Monroe Iglehart as Porgy, Dara Rahming as Bess, and Joseph Wright as Crown, demonstrated how much the mixture of popular and art genres can stimulate creativity. Rahming, for her part, displayed the kind of formal vocal poise that befits her bio (which includes past parts in Tosca, Il corsaro, and The Magic Flute). Iglehart, too, sang in operatic style when he was paired with Rahming. In "Bess, You Is My Woman Now," the two matched each other note for
vibrato-tinged note."
SFCV.ORG
"It was the supporting cast, in particular, who saw to it that the concert version did not lack theatricality. Trente Morant, who played Sportin’ Life with charmingly hammed-up histrionics, including a few rascally dances across the stage, was a standout."
SFCV.ORG




"The Oakland "Porgy" kept getting better. The singers burrowed into their characters more deeply. Gestures, expressions and use of the stage space opened up. Tenor Trente Morant, playing Sportin' Life in a shiny vanilla ice-cream suit, stopped the show with a woozy and insouciant "It Ain't Necessarily So."
-- San Francisco Chronicle













"One of Oakland's best selling points is the little orchestra that could, and can, the Oakland East Bay Symphony under music director, conductor and exciting visionary Michael Morgan. Morgan presents "Porgy and Bess" Friday at the Paramount Theatre (following a Thursday preview), and all because he takes chances other symphonies only dream about. Chances, by the way, which turn out beautifully."
-- Oakland Tribune





"In Porgy’s signature tune,
"I Got Plenty o' Nuttin'," Iglehart demonstrated that vibratoless singing, used adroitly, is an equally powerful way to add coloristic nuance to words. He leaned into the lines "Got my gal, got my Lawd, got my song" with straight-toned sincerity, subtly but palpably personalizing the song, and earning a collective smile from the audience."
SFCV.ORG





"She [Rahming] and Iglehart sounded gorgeously aligned in "Bess, You Is My Woman Now," which brought the first half of the evening to a gratifying close. Rahming's second-act duet with Crown (a seductively menacing Joseph Wright) was another musical and dramatic peak, at once dreamy and intense."
-- San Francisco Chronicle
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