Encore Gershwin: Porgy and Bess

Three Mondays, January 28, February 4 and 11, 6:30–8:00 p.m. | Private residences; addresses will be provided to subscribers limited enrollment

Howard Pollack, the John and Rebecca Moores Professor of Music at the University of Houston and author of George Gershwin: His Life and Work (2006) will continue his survey of Gershwin’s life and work, begun last semester, with three lectures devoted to the composer’s masterpiece, Porgy and Bess. The most popular of all American operas, Porgy and Bess—composed for a nearly all-black cast—is set in Charleston, South Carolina, and tells the bittersweet story of a crippled beggar, Porgy, and his love, Bess. The opera contains such popular songs as “Summertime” and “I Loves You, Porgy.”

Professor Pollack will cover the development of the drama from the novel written by the white Charlestonian DuBose Heyward, to the play by Heyward and his wife, to the opera composed by the Heywards and Gershwin, with help from George’s brother Ira.

February 4: “WORDS AND MUSIC”
The second lecture will focus on the opera itself, with Pollack at the piano exploring its words and music, including the cuts commonly taken since the work’s premiere.

Acclaimed singers Timothy Jones, bassbaritone, and Melissa Givens, soprano, will perform excerpts from the opera. Professor Pollack will consider the work’s production history, including its European premiere in Nazi-occupied Denmark, its celebrated Breen-Davis revival starring William Warfield and Leontyne Price, and the film starring Dorothy Dandridge, Sidney Poitier, and Sammy Davis, Jr.

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Registration for fall 2018 is ongoing. You may register online, by mail, or by phone with a credit card. 


The interest list for the fall and spring study tours is open. If you are interested in traveling with the Houston Seminar to Natchez in the fall of 2018 or Virginia in the spring of 2019, please call the registrar at 713.666.9000 to place your name on a list. Please see Terms and Conditions for "travel list" policy.


Please note a date in the Mid-term Elections course has changed from that published in the brochure. The course will meet the first two Mondays, October 29 and November 5 as planned, but will meet Tuesday, November 13 instead of Monday, November 12. 


Also note Art Underground: Carlos Cruz-Diez at the Cistern on Wednesday, November 14 is FULLY SUBSCRIBED. A second session has been added and will meet Monday, November 12 from 2:00-3:30 P.M. Registrations are being accepted for November 12. You may register online, or by phone.


Who Gets to Vote: Challenges for the 2020 Elections?
Speaker: Dale Ho, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Voter Rights Project
Monday, November 19, 6:30-8:00 P.M.
Location to be announced


Fall is just around the corner. Register today!


For additional information about any of our courses, to register offline, or to add your name to our mailing and/or email lists, please contact our adminstrator at  or phone 713.666.9000.