This undated image released by the Metropolitan Opera shows Eric Owens as Porgy, left, and Angel Blue as Bess in the Gershwins' "Porgy and Bess." The Metropolitan Opera will hire an all-black outside chorus next season for its first presentation in nearly three decades of the Gershwins' "Porgy and Bess," which opens the season on Sept. 23. (Paola Kudacki/Metropolitan Opera via AP)

Met Opera to hire all-black chorus for 'Porgy and Bess'

February 20, 2019 - 12:00 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — The Metropolitan Opera will hire an all-black outside chorus next season for its first presentation in nearly three decades of the Gershwins' "Porgy and Bess," which opens the season on Sept. 23.

Performances of "Porgy and Bess," which premiered in 1935, are licensed by the Gershwin family, which specifies an all-black cast.

"Porgy and Bess" by George and Ira Gershwin, and DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, depicts a crippled beggar in a poor African-American community of Charleston, South Carolina.

When the Met presented "Porgy" for the first time in 1985, it also hired an outside chorus — at the time, there were three black members of the Met's regular chorus of 81. That has increased to six in a group of approximately the same total now, the Met said.

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