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"The Strange Career of Porgy and Bess: Race, Culture, and America 's Most Famous Opera," with Ellen Noonan, a historian, educator, and media producer at the American Social History Project, the Graduate Center, City University of New York.


December 4, 2012

Created by George Gershwin and DuBose Heyward and sung by generations of black performers, Porgy and Bess has been both embraced and reviled since its debut in 1935.  In this illustrated lecture, the author examines the opera's long history of invention and reinvention as a barometer of twentieth-century American expectations about race, culture, and the struggle for equality.  Expertly weaving together the wide-ranging debates over the original novel, Porgy, and its adaptations on stage and film with a history of its intimate ties to Charleston, The Strange Career of Porgy and Bess uncovers the complexities behind one of our nation's most long-lived cultural touchstones.