Porgy And Bess


By Eric Street

Porgy And Bess

The Dayton Opera’s brilliant, collaborative Porgy and Bess is a worthy celebration of 50 years. Conducted with verve by Neal Gittleman, the swift-paced, visually striking production is awash in vocal talent. NaGuanda Nobles particularly casts a spell with her opening “Summertime.” Thomas Beard and Kearstin Piper Brown fully inhabit their title roles, impressing as actors as well as gifted singers. Tenor Roderick George as Sportin’ Life snakes his way into the audience’s heart, while Judith Skinner provides his fearsome nemesis, an unstoppable, full-toned Maria. Phillip Boykin’s resonant Crown is commanding as is Adrienne Dandrich’s compelling Serena, especially her emotionally searing “My Man’s Gone Now.” Porgy is also elevated by Debbie Blunden-Diggs’ inspired choreography and the sensuous-to-frenzied presence of Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. Stage director Gary Briggle doesn’t fear strong choices, such as letting Porgy gradually reduce his handicap for an ending reminiscent of Amahl. Performances continue Friday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Schuster Center, Second and Main Streets. Tickets are $36-$92. Call Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630 or visit www.TicketCenterStage.com

Eric Street
Eric Street is Professor of Music at UD with a doctorate from Indiana University. His Carnegie Hall debut led to performances in 36 countries on six continents. An opera lover, he’s taught Opera History and accompanied over two-dozen singers from the Metropolitan and NYC Opera. Reach him at EricStreet@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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