New York: Random House, 1935. Limited first edition in a slipcase. 559pp. Folio [33 cm] Red pebbled leather over boards, with the title in blind on the spine, and a blue gilt stamped title label, along with the publisher's device on the front board (spine labels absent, with several small areas of residue present). Top edge gilt. Decorative ivory white natural fiber endpapers. Color frontispiece and title page decoration by George Biddle. There is a chip to the foot of the backstrip that measures 1/4 x 1/4". The text block is cracked at the front and rear, however the book is still very sturdy. In a slipcase of burlap cloth over boards, with a bit of loss from the cloth along the edges. With a program for the 1943 production of Porgy and Bess at the Nixon Theatre tucked in. Very good. Item #53276
Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, based on the novel "Porgy" by DuBose Heyward, is perhaps the most famous American opera from the twentieth century, with the premiering cast consisting entirely of African Americans classically trained in singing, a feat which was considered revolutionary for the time. Also unique, and the focus of some criticism, was Gershwin's mixing of jazz and blues with the traditional operatic styles. Furthermore, some members of the African-American audience felt that the opera unfairly stereotyped their culture, by portraying it as culture engrossed in drinking, gambling and drug-dealing. Regardless of one's perspective, since the opera's debut in 1935, it has been performed throughout the world, even being filmed by Samuel Goldwyn in 1959.
Gershwin's folk opera here issued in a deluxe edition, published in the same year as the opera's premiere. Of this limited first edition of Porgy and Bess, 250 were printed in October, 1935, this copy being number 111. The book has been signed by George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heyward, and Rouben Mamoulian, on the limitation page.