Harnoncourt makes Porgy and Bess debut

Jonathan Lemalu joins Austrian conductor for performances

Conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt, best-known for his historically-informed performances of such classical composers as Beethoven and Haydn, is this week conducting a run of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess for the first time in his career. The concert performances, held at Harnoncourt’s Styriarte Festival in Graz, Austria feature an all-black cast headed by Jonathan Lemalu as Porgy and Isabelle Kabatu, replacing an indisposed Measha Brueggergosman, as Bess.


Harnoncourt made his first venture into 20th-century opera in November last year, when he conducted Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress. However he is said to have been fond of Gershwin’s all-black opera since his teens. Typically, Harnoncourt is now conducting a version which is faithful to Gershwin’s original score.

Jonathan Lemalu in particular has been praised by the local critics for his ‘humane’ portrayal of the role of Porgy.


The concert performances are taking place every other night until 7 July. For further details, go to www.styriarte.com.