Porgy and Bess

Budapest, Hungarian State Opera
Budapest, Hungary
Erkel Theatre
Wed 20 November 18:00
View Seating Chart
Synopsis
Act 1
Scene One
Catfish Row, in Charleston, South Carolina, is home to a Black community. One night in the courtyard, Clara is singing a lullaby to her little baby. Her husband, Jake, and the drug dealer, Sporting Life, are playing craps with some other men. They are joined by Robbins, whose woman, Serena, is reluctant to let him play. Clara's little baby still hasn't fallen asleep. Jake takes hold of the little one – he'll show everyone how to put a child to sleep! To the great amusement of the others, however, the baby just cries after he finishes his song. Peter the honey-seller arrives home with the crippled beggar Porgy. The men sit him down close to them. Soon the drunk and big-mouthed Crown arrives. At his side is his woman, Bess, with whom Porgy is supposedly smitten. The women, Serena and Maria, look accusingly at Bess, who takes great swigs from the whiskey bottle. The men grow absorbed in their dice game. Crown, meanwhile, continues to drink and snort from Sporting Life's “happy dust” as he grows increasingly aggressive. The game ends with Robbins as the lucky winner, sending Crown into a blind rage. Too powerful to be restrained by the other men, Crown attacks the victorious Robbins, eventually stabbing him to death. The company immediately scatters, as Bess attempts to return the completely inebriated Crown to his senses so that he'll run away before the police arrive. There's no need to worry about her, though: Bess always finds somebody to take care of her... After Crown clears off, Sporting Life wastes no time making his move on the woman: he wants to entice her to go to New York with him. Bess asks him for happy dust and sends him away. She then tries to find somebody who will take her in. Eventually, she is admitted by Porgy.
Scene Two
The next day, the community is mourning beside the corpse, as Serena collects money for the funeral. Porgy and Bess enter. At first, Serena rejects Bess's donation, but the girl informs her that she no longer gets her money from Crown. Now it comes from Porgy. Serena then accepts it. The detective enters with the policeman, and presently their suspicion falls on Peter, who tells them that he saw Crown kill Robbins. They take Peter in as a “material witness”. After the police depart, the undertaker appears. Even though Serena hasn't managed to collect enough money, he eventually agrees to bury Robbins. The mourners sing a spiritual, with Bess in the lead.
Act 2
Scene One
Early one morning around a month later, Jake and his fellow fisherman are getting ready to sail out the next day. Clara fears for the boys out on the sea, but Jake works hard to provide their young son with the brightest possible future. Porgy just smiles: all he needs are to have God and his woman with him. Serena and Maria agree that Porgy has been utterly thriving ever since Bess has been living with him. Sporting Life is again prowling the area, trying to sell “happy dust”, but Maria chases him away.
The “attorney” Frazier finds Porgy and informs him that in order for Bess to live with Porgy legally, she has to first divorce Crown. Even though Bess and Crown were not even married, Porgy pays Frazier the dollar and a half for the divorce.
A white gentleman, Mr. Archdale, arrives and inquires about Porgy. The members of the community are reluctant to answer him until it turns out that he has brought good news: he knows Peter from long ago and has paid his bond.
Left alone again, Bess is once more approached by Sporting Life, who chatters to her about life in New York and offers her drugs. Bess rejects both, but Sporting Life won't give up, until Porgy eventually chases him off. Porgy and Bess profess their love for each other.
As they get ready for a picnic on Kittiwah Island, the others urge Bess to come with them. Bess doesn't want to leave Porgy by himself, but he convinces her to go ahead and have fun without him.
Scene Two
On Kittiwah Island, the party is underway: Sporting Life leads most of the company in unbridled fun. Serena scolds them, and then warns them that it's time to go: the boat is about to depart.
Bess is about to follow the others when somebody whistles from the bushes. It's Crown. Bess tries to avoid him, but it's no use. In the end, she is unable to resist him.
Scene Three
A week later, Jake and the other fishermen leave Catfish Row for the port. Peter arrives home, free on bail.
In Porgy's room, Bess has been lying ill and delirious with fever ever since she returned home from the island. Serena says a prayer for Bess and promises Porgy that the sick woman will be back in good health by the afternoon. The singing of the strawberry woman and the crab man is heard.
Bess comes to. Porgy calmly tells her that he knows she was with Crown on the island, and it is up to her alone whether she wants to stay with him or go with Crown. She sincerely asks Porgy not to let Crown take her away. He promises to look out for her. Clara anxiously retruns from the shore: she's never seen the water looking so black. Maria attempts to calm her, but soon the hurricane bell is heard tolling.
Scene Four
The inhabitants of Catfish Row are praying to be spared from danger. Just as it occurs to Bess that Crown is certain not to survive such a huge gale on the island, there comes a knocking on the door. In comes Crown, there for Bess. She informs him that she is Porgy's woman now, but Crown just laughs. Then Clara screams by the window: Jake's ship has capsized. She hands her baby to Bess and rushes to the shore. Bess is worried that she went outside in the storm all alone, and asks one of the men to head after her. Only Crown ventures out into the raging gale. The others continue to pray.
Act 3
Scene One
The community mourns Clara, Jake and Crown, all lost in the gale. Bess sings a lullaby to Clara's little baby. The space empties out. Then Crown steals in through the gate and sneaks toward Porgy's door. Porgy, however, notices Crown in time and stabs him dead.
Scene Two
The next day, the detective visits Catfish Row again, this time with the coroner. They want to bring Porgy in to identify Crown's corpse. Porgy is terrified at the thought of having to see Crown's face again and tries to do everything to avoid the duty. Eventually, however, the policemen take him away.
Sporting Life alarms Bess by telling her that Porgy will spend his life behind bars. He again entices her with tales of New York life and happy dust. Bess resists him, but the dealer leaves a dose of the drug for her.
Scene Three
A week later, Porgy is allowed home and happily tells the inhabitants how he got rich playing craps in prison; he has even brought gifts. There's one person, however, whom he doesn't see. After everyone dodges his questions, Serena and Maria finally tell him the truth: Bess believed Sporting Life's story and went with him to New York. Full of resolve, Porgy gets underway to find his beloved.
Credits
General cast
Conductor
István Dénes
Porgy
Marcell Bakonyi
Bess
Lilla Horti
Sporting Life
Szemenyei János
Crown
Károly Szemerédy
Jake
Máté Fülep
Clara
Beatrix Fodor
Robbins
Gergely Ujvári
Serena
Gabriella Fodor
Maria
Andrea Meláth
Mingo
Tivadar Kiss
Peter
Ferenc Kristofori
Frazier / Undertaker
Lajos Geiger
Crab Man / Nelson
János Szerekován
Detective
Artúr Kálid
Mr. Archdale / Coroner
Dániel Viktor Nagy
Policeman
dr. Marcelo Cake-Baly
Scipio
N.N.
Dancers
N.N.
Credits
By
George Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, and Ira Gershwin
Director
András Almási-Tóth
Set designer
Sebastian Hannak
Costume designer
Krisztina Lisztopád
Choreographer
Dóra Barta
Hungarian surtitles
Judit Kenesey
Head of the Children's Chorus
Nikolett Hajzer
Assistant chorus master
Richárd Riederauer
Chorus director
Gábor Csiki

Buy Tickets

  • Buy Tickets
  • Seating Chart
    Erkel Theatre
  • Synopsis

    Act 1
    Scene One
    Catfish Row, in Charleston, South Carolina, is home to a Black community. One night in the courtyard, Clara is singing a lullaby to her little baby. Her husband, Jake, and the drug dealer, Sporting Life, are playing craps with some other men. They are joined by Robbins, whose woman, Serena, is reluctant to let him play. Clara's little baby still hasn't fallen asleep. Jake takes hold of the little one – he'll show everyone how to put a child to sleep! To the great amusement of the others, however, the baby just cries after he finishes his song. Peter the honey-seller arrives home with the crippled beggar Porgy. The men sit him down close to them. Soon the drunk and big-mouthed Crown arrives. At his side is his woman, Bess, with whom Porgy is supposedly smitten. The women, Serena and Maria, look accusingly at Bess, who takes great swigs from the whiskey bottle. The men grow absorbed in their dice game. Crown, meanwhile, continues to drink and snort from Sporting Life's “happy dust” as he grows increasingly aggressive. The game ends with Robbins as the lucky winner, sending Crown into a blind rage. Too powerful to be restrained by the other men, Crown attacks the victorious Robbins, eventually stabbing him to death. The company immediately scatters, as Bess attempts to return the completely inebriated Crown to his senses so that he'll run away before the police arrive. There's no need to worry about her, though: Bess always finds somebody to take care of her... After Crown clears off, Sporting Life wastes no time making his move on the woman: he wants to entice her to go to New York with him. Bess asks him for happy dust and sends him away. She then tries to find somebody who will take her in. Eventually, she is admitted by Porgy.
    Scene Two
    The next day, the community is mourning beside the corpse, as Serena collects money for the funeral. Porgy and Bess enter. At first, Serena rejects Bess's donation, but the girl informs her that she no longer gets her money from Crown. Now it comes from Porgy. Serena then accepts it. The detective enters with the policeman, and presently their suspicion falls on Peter, who tells them that he saw Crown kill Robbins. They take Peter in as a “material witness”. After the police depart, the undertaker appears. Even though Serena hasn't managed to collect enough money, he eventually agrees to bury Robbins. The mourners sing a spiritual, with Bess in the lead.

    Act 2
    Scene One
    Early one morning around a month later, Jake and his fellow fisherman are getting ready to sail out the next day. Clara fears for the boys out on the sea, but Jake works hard to provide their young son with the brightest possible future. Porgy just smiles: all he needs are to have God and his woman with him. Serena and Maria agree that Porgy has been utterly thriving ever since Bess has been living with him. Sporting Life is again prowling the area, trying to sell “happy dust”, but Maria chases him away.
    The “attorney” Frazier finds Porgy and informs him that in order for Bess to live with Porgy legally, she has to first divorce Crown. Even though Bess and Crown were not even married, Porgy pays Frazier the dollar and a half for the divorce.
    A white gentleman, Mr. Archdale, arrives and inquires about Porgy. The members of the community are reluctant to answer him until it turns out that he has brought good news: he knows Peter from long ago and has paid his bond.
    Left alone again, Bess is once more approached by Sporting Life, who chatters to her about life in New York and offers her drugs. Bess rejects both, but Sporting Life won't give up, until Porgy eventually chases him off. Porgy and Bess profess their love for each other.
    As they get ready for a picnic on Kittiwah Island, the others urge Bess to come with them. Bess doesn't want to leave Porgy by himself, but he convinces her to go ahead and have fun without him.
    Scene Two
    On Kittiwah Island, the party is underway: Sporting Life leads most of the company in unbridled fun. Serena scolds them, and then warns them that it's time to go: the boat is about to depart.
    Bess is about to follow the others when somebody whistles from the bushes. It's Crown. Bess tries to avoid him, but it's no use. In the end, she is unable to resist him.
    Scene Three
    A week later, Jake and the other fishermen leave Catfish Row for the port. Peter arrives home, free on bail.
    In Porgy's room, Bess has been lying ill and delirious with fever ever since she returned home from the island. Serena says a prayer for Bess and promises Porgy that the sick woman will be back in good health by the afternoon. The singing of the strawberry woman and the crab man is heard.
    Bess comes to. Porgy calmly tells her that he knows she was with Crown on the island, and it is up to her alone whether she wants to stay with him or go with Crown. She sincerely asks Porgy not to let Crown take her away. He promises to look out for her. Clara anxiously retruns from the shore: she's never seen the water looking so black. Maria attempts to calm her, but soon the hurricane bell is heard tolling.
    Scene Four
    The inhabitants of Catfish Row are praying to be spared from danger. Just as it occurs to Bess that Crown is certain not to survive such a huge gale on the island, there comes a knocking on the door. In comes Crown, there for Bess. She informs him that she is Porgy's woman now, but Crown just laughs. Then Clara screams by the window: Jake's ship has capsized. She hands her baby to Bess and rushes to the shore. Bess is worried that she went outside in the storm all alone, and asks one of the men to head after her. Only Crown ventures out into the raging gale. The others continue to pray.

    Act 3
    Scene One
    The community mourns Clara, Jake and Crown, all lost in the gale. Bess sings a lullaby to Clara's little baby. The space empties out. Then Crown steals in through the gate and sneaks toward Porgy's door. Porgy, however, notices Crown in time and stabs him dead.
    Scene Two
    The next day, the detective visits Catfish Row again, this time with the coroner. They want to bring Porgy in to identify Crown's corpse. Porgy is terrified at the thought of having to see Crown's face again and tries to do everything to avoid the duty. Eventually, however, the policemen take him away.
    Sporting Life alarms Bess by telling her that Porgy will spend his life behind bars. He again entices her with tales of New York life and happy dust. Bess resists him, but the dealer leaves a dose of the drug for her.
    Scene Three
    A week later, Porgy is allowed home and happily tells the inhabitants how he got rich playing craps in prison; he has even brought gifts. There's one person, however, whom he doesn't see. After everyone dodges his questions, Serena and Maria finally tell him the truth: Bess believed Sporting Life's story and went with him to New York. Full of resolve, Porgy gets underway to find his beloved.

  • Credits

    General cast

    Conductor
    István Dénes
    Porgy
    Marcell Bakonyi
    Bess
    Lilla Horti
    Sporting Life
    Szemenyei János
    Crown
    Károly Szemerédy
    Jake
    Máté Fülep
    Clara
    Beatrix Fodor
    Robbins
    Gergely Ujvári
    Serena
    Gabriella Fodor
    Maria
    Andrea Meláth
    Mingo
    Tivadar Kiss
    Peter
    Ferenc Kristofori
    Frazier / Undertaker
    Lajos Geiger
    Crab Man / Nelson
    János Szerekován
    Detective
    Artúr Kálid
    Mr. Archdale / Coroner
    Dániel Viktor Nagy
    Policeman
    dr. Marcelo Cake-Baly
    Scipio
    N.N.
    Dancers
    N.N.

    Credits

    By
    George Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, and Ira Gershwin
    Director
    András Almási-Tóth
    Set designer
    Sebastian Hannak
    Costume designer
    Krisztina Lisztopád
    Choreographer
    Dóra Barta
    Hungarian surtitles
    Judit Kenesey
    Head of the Children's Chorus
    Nikolett Hajzer
    Assistant chorus master
    Richárd Riederauer
    Chorus director
    Gábor Csiki

Have you considered?

Budapest, Hungary
Erkel Theatre
15:00
Budapest, Hungary
Erkel Theatre
19:00
Budapest, Hungary
Erkel Theatre
19:00
Budapest, Hungary
Groupama Arena
18:55
Budapest, Hungary
Erkel Theatre
19:00
Budapest, Hungary
Erkel Theatre
19:00