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Porgy & Bess


Music Supervisor and Orchestrator

The challenge: 

To create a version of this astounding score to a show many find problematic which would sit firmly in a music theatre tradition, rather than opera. Prior to this, there had been versions in London and on Broadway which had taken many years of development. We were starting again from scratch and had nine months to achieve it.

The response:

I managed to argue for the largest orchestra to date at Regent’s Park and thankfully they said yes and we got seventeen. Still a tall order! I knew I couldn’t achieve this without three trumpets. I added five woodwind, strings and a heap of percussion and invisible technology (can technology be invisible - what I mean is hopefully no one would hear the use of so much tech!) and the results sounded pretty amazing. We cut all recitative, lowered keys a little while keeping a classical music theatre tone and Tim Sheader and I worked in details to make songs flow seamlessly from scene. The cast was utterly sensational - all extraordinary actors with phenomenal voices. A non naturalistic set from Katrina Lyndsey helped to abstract the production. Did we solve everything? Absolutely not, but one of my proudest contributions to a show. 

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