A Celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the opera Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin. Highlights of the opera will be performed by stars of some of the world's premiere opera companies, interspersed with narration of the story, by actor Avery Brooks. Featuring Terry Cook, bass baritone; Indira Mahajan, soprano; Lawrence Craig, and others.
Conceived by Gershwin as an "American folk opera,” Porgy and Bess premiered in New York in the fall of 1935 and featured a cast of classically trained African-American singers -- a daring and visionary artistic choice at the time. Incorporating a wealth of blues and jazz idioms into the classical art form of opera, Gershwin considered it his finest work.
Bass Terry Cook has appeared with most of the major opera companies and symphony orchestras around the world. He's known especially for his portrayal of the title role in Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. He took part in New York Harlem Productions' Porgy and Bess in Germany, Norway, Spain and Italy, with the Houston Grand Opera at Opera Bastille and at La Scala, as well as at the Bregenzer Festspiele and in a new production at the Treatro Real in Madrid.
Mr. Cook has sung in over twenty productions at the Metropolitan Opera, most recently in La Gioconda, La Fanciulla del West (new production), II Trovatore, Un Ballo in Maschera (telecast on PBS' "Live from the Met") and Les Troyens. Other productions included La Traviata, Billy Budd, ldomeneo, Simone Boccanegra, Samson et Dalila, Aida, Tannhauser, La Clemenza di Tito, Giulio Cesare, Salome, Porgy and Bess, Semiramide and Parsifal.
Known for his dynamic artistry, Lawrence Craig has earned a reputation for his "Fine baritone" (New York Times) and "virtuosic talent" (Zurich Tagesanzeiger) in Europe and the Americas in opera, concert, and recital. A student of the late internationally acclaimed bass-baritone, William Warfield, Mr. Craig is a graduate of the Florida Grand Opera and Chautauqua Opera Young Artist Programs. As winner of the Bel Canto International Opera Competition, he studied and performed with artistic staff of the famed Teatro Alla Scala in Sienna, Italy. Mr. Craig has appeared in a number of roles, but most notably as Harlequin in Ariadne auf Naxos, Escamillo in Carmen, Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte, Ford in Falstaff, Dapertutto in Les Contes Hoffmann, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, and Papageno in Die Zauberfl. Companies with whom he has appeared include the Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Colorado, Opera Ebony, Florentine Opera, Latvian National Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Munich Biennale Opera Festival, New York City Opera (Education Division), Opera Festival of New Jersey, Orlando Opera, Portland Opera Reparatory Theater, Savonlinna International Opera Festival, and the Spoleto Opera Festival USA.
American soprano, Camellia Johnson, has an extensive and distinguished concert and oratorio repertoire. She has appeared with conductors such as Charles Dutoit, Gunther Herbig, Neeme JÃ¤rvi, Raymond Leppard, Yoel Levi, Jahja Ling, John Nelson, Sir Simon Rattle, Gerard Schwarz, Leonard Slatkin, Michael Tilson Thomas, and David Zinman. Her operatic performances have taken her to the stages of the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, and Opera Pacifica, among others. Miss Johnson recently was heard in Ticheli's An American Dream with Quad City Symphony, as the lead in Debussy's La Damoiselle A lue with Young People's Chorus of New York City, and in the Verdi Requiem with Pacific Chorale and Florida Orchestra. She has also sung the Verdi Requiem with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony, and the National Symphony Orchestra under Slatkin.
Miss Johnson began her career as a recitalist with Young Concert Artists (YC) and made her Lincoln Center recital debut at Alice Tully Hall in December 1995 as the recipient of the coveted Michaels Award. In that same season, she also appeared with the New York Festival of Song at New York’s Weill Recital Hall in a program entitled "A Langston Hughes Celebration". She made her New York recital debut in March 1994 at the 92nd Street "Y."
Praised by the Washington Post for her performances brimming with "brilliance and ardor" and New York Magazine for "strongly centered, richly textured soprano," Indira Mahajan joins the Dallas Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and in Dallas as Mrs. Chaney in Stephen Stucky's August 4, 1964 and the Korean Broadcast Symphony Orchestra for performances of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 at the United Nations. She also returns to her celebrated characterization of Bess in Porgy in Bess with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Orchestra Sinfonica Giuseppe Verdi, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic, and at the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. Last season, she sang the work with the in a return to Washington National Opera and with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra conducted by Marin Alsop, Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Teatro Perez Galdos in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and Teatro Messimo Bellini in Catania.
She is the 2008 winner of the prestigious Marian Anderson Award and was subsequently presented in a solo recital at the Kennedy Center last season. In addition to her award from the Dallas Opera, the soprano was named New York City Opera's Debut Artist of the Year and has received the Richard F. Gold Award from the Shoshanna Foundation as well as prizes from the Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Foundation, Van Lier Foundation, and the National Association for Negro Musicians. She holds a Master of Music from Mannes College of Music, a diploma from the Accademia Musicale Ottorino Resphighi, and a Bachelor of Arts from Oberlin College.
Roscoe Orman has been known to millions for his thirty-five years as "Gordon" on PBSTV's highly acclaimed children's series Sesame Street, where he has become a symbol of fatherhood to an entire generation. Born and raised in the Bronx, Orman began his acting studies at the Circle In The Square Theatre School with Michael Kahn. Since making his professional debut with the Next Stage Theatre Company's 1962 production of If We Grow Up, he has achieved a long and distinguished list of theatre credits.