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<<  -- 3 --  Robert Anderson    MOVING AND POWERFUL

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It is Porgy who befriends the lovely waif, arranges a divorce for her from the Crown to whom she was never married, and claims her as his woman [watch and listen -- 'Bess, you is my woman now' (Act 2 Scene 1), chapter 14, 78:31-79:40]. Unable himself to make the trek to a picnic on Kittiwah Island, he urges the reluctant Bess to go and enjoy herself. There Sportin' Life (Damon Evans), local drug peddlar and trickster, manages another song Schoenberg failed to write [watch and listen -- 'It ain't necessarily so' (Act 2 Scene 2), chapter 17, 90:45-91:42]. He has already tried to tempt Bess with his alluring mix of drugs and sex. So far he has failed.

Cynthia Haymon as Bess and Gregg Baker as Crown. DVD screenshot © Primetime/BBC/EMI Records
Cynthia Haymon as Bess and Gregg Baker as Crown. DVD screenshot © Primetime/BBC/EMI Records

Hiding on the island is Crown in all his male vitality, lurking for Bess and mocking her 'temporary' choice of a cripple. His allure is overwhelming, and I well remember the black giant of a man who played the part years ago when I first saw the opera in Vienna. Bess struggles to resist, but collapses under the ferocious ardour of this formidable creature [watch and listen -- 'Crown! ... Oh, what you want wid Bess? ...' (Act 2 Scene 2), chapter 18, 100:50-102:45]. The inevitable result is a night on the island with Crown and a demented return to the community next day. Porgy senses what has happened, and awaits the moment for vengeance and murder of Crown.

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Copyright © 18 May 2006 Robert Anderson, London UK

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Natalie Artemas-Polak - classical CD and book reviews, liner and programme notes, articles and lectures: CLICK TO CONTACT