Sunday, March 14, 2010

The things you learn on the Internet!

On Friday, I posted about my favorite Easter book,

The Country Bunny and The Little Gold Shoes. 

Tonight I was thinking about this book and it occurred to me that I wondered what other children's books the author had written and I wondered if I had read any of them and just wasn't aware of it. 
So I went to Wikipedia and looked up the author...

Du Bose Heyward

I quickly learned that this was the only children's book he wrote. 

But what a surprise to learn that he wrote the novel 
and play of the same name and then collaborated with 

 George Gershwin 


Ira Gershwin

to create the great American Opera 
Porgy and Bess

Mr. Heyward wrote the lyrics to many of the most famous songs of the opera. He collaborated with Ira Gershwin on lyrics.

In fact Stephen Sondheim said,

"DuBose Heyward has gone largely unrecognized as the author of the finest set of lyrics in the history of the American musical theater - namely, those of Porgy and Bess. There are two reasons for this, and they are connected. First, he was primarily a poet and novelist, and his only song lyrics were those that he wrote for Porgy. Second, some of them were written in collaboration with Ira Gershwin, a full-time lyricist, whose reputation in the musical theater was firmly established before the opera was written. But most of the lyrics in Porgy - and all of the distinguished ones - are by Heyward. I admire his theater songs for their deeply felt poetic style and their insight into character. It's a pity he didn't write any others. His work is sung, but he is unsung."

and Mr. Stephen Sondheim should know...

I'll admit, I know many of the songs but have only seen clips of the movie...I need to rent it and watch it all the way through.

Songs include:

"It Ain't Necessarily So"
"My Mans Gone Now"
"I Loves You Porgy"
"I Got Plenty o' Nuttin"
"Bess, You Is My Woman Now"

Originally conceived by Gershwin as an "American folk opera", Porgy and Bess premiered in New York in the fall of 1935 and featured an entire cast of classically trained African-American singers—a daring and visionary artistic choice at the time. Gershwin chose African American Eva Jessye as the choral director for the opera. Incorporating a wealth of blues and jazz idioms into the classical art form of opera, Gershwin considered it his finest work.

The work was not widely accepted in the United States as a legitimate opera until 1976, when the Houston Grand Opera production of Gershwin's complete score established it as an artistic triumph. Nine years later the Metropolitan Opera gave their first performance of the work. This production was also broadcast as part of the ongoing Saturday afternoon live Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts. The work is now considered part of the standard operatic repertoire and is regularly performed internationally.

all this information came directly from Wikipedia

Fascinating the things you can learn when you Google.

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