“Porgy” Returns To Charleston

Charleston, South Carolina, is a beautiful place fraught with history, long past and all too recent. Says The Telegraph: ‘Once one of the richest cities in the British empire, it is also where the first shots of the American Civil War were fired. Simmering tensions stretching right back to the slave trade have never quite evaporated, witness the mass shooting at the Emanuel African American Episcopal Church almost exactly a year ago. Feelings were thus running high in Charleston when Monday’s performance of Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” [starring Lester Lynch and Alyson Cambridge, pictured] was simulcast from the Gaillard Center into a public park near the church and dedicated to the memory of one of victims of that shooting, Ethel Lance, who had worked for many years at the performance venue. Porgy is the fitting centrepiece of this year’s 40th Spoleto USA Festival, a rich and adventurous arts jamboree that acquired its name when the composer Gian Carlo Menotti established an offshoot of his Italian festival in 1977. The city may have deep operatic roots – it saw the first opera performance in America in 1725 – but until now its festival had never embraced the opera most closely identified with Charleston.’

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