Hungary: ‘Porgy and Bess’ cast asked to be African American

By Associated Press |

Share this Post

The New York Harlem Theatre performs Porgy and Bess (Photo: Ealmagro, CC BY-SA 4.0, image cropped, colors lightly edited)

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The Hungarian State Opera has asked the Hungarian cast members in its production of Porgy and Bess to self-identify as African American.

The opera’s decision to put on George and Ira Gershwin’s seminal work set in the American south and intended for a Black cast has caused a conflict with the creators’ estate.

The State Opera says on its website that the rights’ holders of Porgy and Bess noted “the production is not permitted in its current form.”

Asking cast members to identify as African American appears to be the opera’s way around the dispute.

Broadcaster ATV reported Tuesday that 15 of 28 performers answered affirmatively.

Opera director Szilvester Okovacs told ATV that since Hungary doesn’t record the race of individuals, he preferred to ask the cast.