Lyric Opera of Chicago
  • Porgy and Bess
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November 17-December 20, 2014

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  • by George Gershwin
  • In English with projected English texts
  • Approximate running time: 3hrs, 10 min


Redemption is hard to find.

Porgy and Bess is the great American opera — bursting with iconic songs that have moved easily into the worlds of jazz and pop, becoming hits again for generation after generation. Six years after its triumphant Lyric debut, Francesco Zambello's big, beautiful, epic production returns with its finely etched portrait of life in Catfish Row — a vibrant but impoverished African-American community on the South Carolina coast.

There's Crown, the brutish thug; Sportin' Life, the smooth-talking drug peddler; Bess, the good-time girl who finally finds love with the goodhearted Porgy; and Porgy himself, the lame beggar who's the strongest of them all — an unquenchable spirit who'll stop at nothing to reclaim the woman he loves.

Lyric Opera presentation generously made possible by the Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust, The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust, and Roberta L. and Robert J. Washlow with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Production owned by Washington National Opera.


  • Eric Owens


    Eric Owens

    Eric Owens: From the Met to Covent Garden, this Grammy Award-winning star "is a powerhouse baritone." (The New York Times) In his grandiose performance "the famous melodies written for Porgy take wing and soar."

  • Adina Aaron


    Adina Aaron

    Gorgeous American soprano Adina Aaron is making a splash in Europe. "The voice has softness, heat, and mystery." Der Westen, Germany

  • Jermaine Smith

    Sportin' Life

    Jermaine Smith

    Jermaine Smith frequently steals the show as the oily drug peddler Sportin' Life, "singing and dancing with enormous panache." Chicago Sun-Times

  • Eric Greene


    Eric Greene

    With his "exuberant, masculine voice" (Washington Times) baritone Eric Greene will be a magnetic Crown, the brutal man who has "that certain something" women can’t resist.

  • Angel Blue


    Angel Blue

Porgy and Bess - Eric Owens 

Eric Owens

Porgy and Bess - Adina Aaron 

Adina Aaron*

Porgy and Bess - Jermaine Smith 

Sportin' Life
Jermaine Smith

Porgy and Bess - Eric Greene 

Eric Greene

Porgy and Bess - Angel Blue 

Angel Blue*

Porgy and Bess - Karen Slack 

Karen Slack*

Porgy and Bess - Norman Garrett 

Norman Garrett*

Porgy and Bess - Gwendolyn Brown 

Gwendolyn Brown† †

Ward Stare 

Ward Stare

Francesca Zambello  

Francesca Zambello


Set Designer
Peter J. Davison

Porgy and Bess - Paul Tazewell 

Costume Designer
Paul Tazewell

Porgy and Bess - Mark McCullough 

Lighting Designer
Mark McCullough

Porgy and Bess - Michael Black 

Chorus Master
Michael Black

Denni Sayers 

Denni Sayers


*Lyric Debut
† † Alumna, Ryan Opera Center

Porgy and Bess Audio Preview

Music director Sir Andrew Davis shares the synopsis and excerpts from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. Recordings used by permission of EMI Classics.