Singin and Swingin and Gettin Merry Like Christmas by Maya AngelouIn this third self-contained volume of her autobiography, which began with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou moves into the adult world, and the white world as well, as she marries, enters show business, and tours Europe and Africa in Porgy and Bess.
As the book opens, Maya, in order to support herself and her young son, gets a job in a record shop run by a white woman. Suspicious of almost any kindness shown her, she is particularly confused by the special attentions of a young white customer. Soon the relationship grows into love and then marriage, and Maya believes a permanent relationship is finally possible. But it is not to be, and she is again forced to look for work.
This time she finds a job as a dancer in a sleazy San Francisco bar. Her remarkable talent, however, soon brings her attention of a different kind, and before long she is singing in one of the most popular nightclubs on the coast. From there, she is called to New York to join the cast of Porgy and Bess, which is just about to begin another tour abroad.
The troupes joyous and dramatic adventure through Italy, France, Greece, Yugoslavia, and Egypt becomes the centerpiece of Singin and Swingin. This remarkable portrayal of one of the most exciting and talented casts ever put together, and of the encounters between these larger-than-life personalities and audiences who had rarely seen black people before, makes a hilarious and poignant story. The excitement of the journey -- full of camaraderie, love affairs, and memorable personalities -- is dampened only by Mayas nagging guilt that she has once again abandoned the person she loves most in life, her son.
Back home, and driven close to suicide by her guilt and concern, she takes her son with her to Hawaii, where she discovers that devotion and love, in spite of forced absence, have the power to heal and sustain.
As always, Maya Angelous writing is charged with that remarkable sense of life and love and unique celebration of the human condition that have won her such a loyal following.
Porgy and Bess Synopsis
Porgy and Bess , dramatic folk opera in three acts by George Gershwin. The opera—which premiered at the Alvin Theatre in New York City on October 10, —is considered to be the first great American opera. In George Gershwin wrote to Heyward about collaborating on an operatic version of Porgy. There the Brooklyn-born composer hoped to absorb the feeling of the Southern setting and the accent and rhythms of African American speech. The ambience was inspirational; Gershwin finished the three-hour opera within a year. Although the writing had proceeded smoothly, casting proved more difficult. Most frustrating of all was that various Broadway producers with whom Gershwin had worked successfully for years insisted that he hire only white singers and put them in blackface.
In the courtyard of Catfish Row, Clara sings a lullaby to her child as the other women look on. Jake sings his child a lullaby of his own. Crown arrives with Bess and joins the dice game. Abandoned by Crown, Bess is shunned by the community as they await the arrival of police officers, and she accepts the help of the cripple, Porgy. As the scene ends, Bess leads the mourners in a spiritual as they reluctantly allow her a place in the community. Act II A few weeks later, Jake and the fishermen are working on their nets as Porgy compares his life to theirs. All prepare to leave for the picnic.
Background and context
On a hot summer evening in Catfish Row, Jasbro Brown plays the piano while the townsfolk listen. Clara, a young woman, sings a lullaby to her baby the famous "Summertime". - Sign in.
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After suffering from an initially unpopular public reception, a Houston Grand Opera production gained it new popularity, and it is now one of the best-known and most frequently performed operas. Gershwin read Porgy in and proposed to Heyward to collaborate on an operatic version. In , Gershwin and Heyward began work on the project by visiting the author's native Charleston, South Carolina. Porgy and Bess is a folk tale. Its people naturally would sing folk music.