"Summertime." "I Got Plenty o' Nuttin."
"It Ain't Necessarily So." "My Man's Gone Now."
George Gershwin's songs for Porgy and Bess hold such a secure place in our collective consciousness that it's easy to forget that we don't often get to see the piece on stage. (For that matter, it's easy to forget that it's an opera.)
Beginning tonight, the Opera Company of Philadelphia is offering a chance to see and hear the entire glorious work, in an original co-production — of which we offer a few glimpses below — directed by Walter Dallas in his house debut. Taking the title roles are two OCP stalwarts, powerhouse soprano Angela M. Brown and the equally commanding bass-baritone Gregg Baker. Lisa Daltirus plays Serena, with Karen Slack as Clara, Lester Lynch as Crown and Steven Cole as Sportin' Life.
Stefan Lano, music director of the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, conducts the six performances from tonight through February 24. And the venue is an attraction in itself: America's oldest opera house, the magnificent Academy of Music, celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.
Information about and tickets for Porgy and Bess are available at www.operaphilly.com.