In 2004 at her home in Oslo, Norway, soprano Anne Wiggins Brown sat down with tenor Dr. William A. Brown (no relation) of the Center Black Music Research for an on-the-record conversation about originating the iconic role of “Bess” in the opera Porgy and Bess with famed composer George Gershwin. Revealed are little known facts about what is arguably the most popular American opera touring to date.
Details of the opera’s inception and the cast as well as Ms. Brown’s controversial run-ins with discrimination offer an illuminating historical account. This was one of Ms. Brown’s final interviews. Filmed through the talented lensing of Director of Photography Henry Adebonojo, this lively and engaging conversation covers musicianship, self-reliance, race and beauty.
In a rare conversation between Anne Brown and Dr. Brown, Ms. Brown provides the following:
* A detailed account of her work with George Gershwin
* Timeless anecdotes on the role singers play in creative collaborations
* An accurate account of the events surrounding a proposed boycott from the Porgy and Bess cast during its run at The National Theatre
* A revealing narrative that addresses her decision to direct European productions of Porgy and Bess in "blackface"
* A reflection on the painful decision to end her singing career
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• ASALH Conference Film Festival, 2017
• Association for the Study of African American Life and History, 2017
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TWN acknowledges that in New York we are on the unceded territory of the Lenni Lenape,
Canarsie, Shinecock, and Munsee peoples and challenges the harm that continues to
be inflicted upon Indigenous and People of Color communities here and abroad,
which is why we all need to be part of the struggle for rights, equality and justice.
TWN is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council
on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Color Congress, MOSAIC, New York Community Trust, Peace Development Fund,
Humanities NY, Ford Foundation, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and individual donors.