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Porgy and Bess

Erkel Theatre

From 05 April to 17 April 2019

Porgy and Bess ©  Valter Berecz - Péter Rákossy
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Porgy and Bess - Gershwin

Porgy and Bess - Gershwin

One glass of sparkling wine included, at the bars of the Erkel Theater.


  • Gershwin : Porgy and Bess


  • Conductor : István Dénes

  • Director : András Almási-Tóth

M&O Offer

One glass of sparkling wine included, at the bars of the Erkel Theater.

  • Seating plan
  • Venue Info
  • Synopsis
  • Pictures

Seating plan are subject to change depending on performances

Erkel Theatre


George Gershwin's popular and controversial work was written alongside DuBose Heyward, whose novel and play 'Porgy' was the inspiration for the opera. Taking place in the fictional location of Catfish Row in the late 1920's, the story examines the underprivileged lives of the residents. Focusing on the short-lived romance between Porgy, a disabled beggar and Bess, the partner of a drunken murderer, the work has been staged around the world since its first showing in 1935. With themes of love shining through desperation, the opera is a classic retelling of modern American urban life.


The story is set in the 1920's in Catfish Row, a deprived part of town. The violent stevedore Crown drunkenly kills local resident Robbins over a game of dice. Crown flees leaving his girl Bess to try and find a home, and love, in the run-down neighbourhood. Featuring powerful songs and music, the opera is a close look at the daily struggles of coping with poverty and hardship.

Act 1

The opera opens with the tragic events leading up to Crown's drunken act of murder. The newly single Bess calls on door to door of the neighbourhood looking for shelter and help. All refuse, knowing her to be the woman of Robbins' murderer. She eventually calls on Porgy, who welcomes her into his sparse dwelling. The unlikely pair begin a romance and Bess's life slowly begins to improve. The famous song 'Summertime' features heavily throughout this act and the whole musical.

Act 2

A month later on Catfish Row the residents prepare for a church picnic on Kittiwah Island. The drug dealer Sportin' Life attempts to split Porgy and Bess up, offering her the chance to come with him to New York. Porgy grabs him and scares him off. The two, left on their own, declare their love for each other. On the Island, Crown returns and warns Bess that she will always be his. When she returns from the island to Porgy, she is ill with a fever. Porgy knows that she has been with Crown, but repeats his love for her.

Act 4

A hurricane has killed several of the townsfolk. Crown sneaks onto Catfish Row to abduct Bess but is confronted with Porgy, who kills him in a rage. Declaring that his love is now his, Porgy and Bess look set for happiness. However, police detectives soon appear on the scene and take Porgy away for questioning and imprisonment. Sportin' Life reappears and scares Bess into thinking Porgy will never be released. He convinces her to come with him to New York. When Porgy is let out of jail a week later he cannot find Bess anywhere, and is heartbroken and dejected.


Porgy, a disabled beggar, bass-baritone
Bess, Crown's girl, soprano
Crown, a hard-drinking stevedore, baritone
Sportin' Life, a drug dealer, tenor
Robbins, an inhabitant of Catfish Row, tenor
Serena, Robbins' wife, tenor

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