Porgy and Bess [F, 1993]

Porgy-and-Bess-1993

First television broadcast in 1993.  Adapted for the screen by Trevor Nunn and Yves Baigneres, based on the Glyndebourne Festival production of the opera by George Gershwin, DuBose Heyward, Dorothy Heyward, and Ira Gershwin.   Directed by Trevor Nunn.  Produced by Greg Smith and Stephany Marks.  Cast included Willard White, Cynthia Haymon, Damon Evans and Gregg Baker.

In 1986, Trevor Nunn staged a highly-acclaimed production of PORGY AND BESS at England’s Glyndebourne Festival, which Ira Gershwin’s widow Leonore described as the finest presentation of the opera since its original performances in 1935.  In the years remaining to her until her death in 1991, she fought for a filmed version of the production, which had been recorded in 1988 under the baton of Simon Rattle for EMI.

After Nunn’s production was revived at Covent Garden in 1992, Mrs. Gershwin’s hopes finally came to pass, with this televised version that captured the sumptuous colors and vivid performances of the stage production.  Critics and audiences agreed that this was the most complete and stunning version of PORGY AND BESS ever to reach the screen.

Trevor Nunn’s attachment to PORGY AND BESS has never wavered, and he continued his exploration of the Gershwins’ opera with his adaptation of it into a Broadway-style musical, which premiered at London’s Savoy Theatre in November 2006.