White Porgy and Bess cast ‘asked to say they identify as African-American’

The Hungarian State Opera has come up with a dubious way around a stipulation that George Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess be performed by an all-black cast: it is allegedly asking its white, Hungarian singers to sign a paper saying they identify as African-American.

The company first put on the opera a year ago, leading to a spat with the Gershwin estate, which stipulates the opera should only be performed by a black cast.

The show is back for another run of six performances, the first of which was performed on 5 April. Hungarian media have speculated that the opera house may be using illicitly made photocopies of the scores that were rented for the original performances last year, as they do not have permission to play the show with a non-black cast.

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