Monday, October 18, 2010

Opera Blog #2: Porgy and Bess

Hello class,

This week, you will listen to two videos to the right. They are each different arias from Porgy and Bess, an opera written by an American composer, George Gershwin. When you discuss the songs, please refer to them as "Summertime" and "I Got Plenty of Nothin'" or you may refer to the singer.

Write one paragraph about Summertime, and another about I Got Plenty of Nothin'. In each paragraph, explain how the words/stories are displayed in the way that the singers (Harolyn Blackwell and Willard White) act and sing. Listen carefully to the words, and then specifically discuss how their voices, their bodies, and their facial expressions show what they are singing about.


20 pts. You wrote a blog!

30 pts. You described the acting and singing in Summertime.

30 pts. You described the acting and singing in I Got Plenty of Nothin'.

20 pts. You used good grammar when writing.

Please write and submit your post for this assignment by Monday, October 25 for full credit.

In case you can't watch the videos to the right, here are the URL's for the videos:

Summertime, sung by Harolyn Blackwell -

I Got Plenty of Nothin', sung by Willard White -


Nathan Barnett-Bishop said...

In Summertime the setting must take place in the summertime. Looking at the setting this must take place in the years when african-americans had no rights. Harolyn Blackwell seems to look very happy about the wheather or the baby. "Hush, little baby" was one the things she said so her focus must be on the baby. The woman might be telling the child to not worry for it is summertime.

In I Got Plenty of Nothin'thereappears to be a man who is bery poor. By the he sings and the way he looks he seems to be about having nothing. By looking at everyone they all seem to be poor but there is a drug dealer bringing them whisky. Going back to the poor man, he probably isn't singing about just himself he's probably singing about everyone.

Xavier said...

In Summertime, Harolyn Blackwell may be singing a lullaby. In the scene, she seems to have a calm demeanor. She shows a smile on her face as she cradles the baby in her arms, and sings with a soft and smooth voice, the voice of someone who would most likely be singing a lullaby.
In I Got Plenty of Nothin', Willard White seems to be content with the life he lives. He has a happy expression on his face as he happily builds a house made of popsicle sticks. The tone of his voice seems to be more graceful than anything. This shows that he is happy with things being the way they are, regardless of how poor or rough his environment looks.

Simone Fields said...

In summertime the woman singing was mostly singing to the baby in her arms. It seemed as though shen was telling the baby something . Her facial exprssions showed love(toward the baby), saddness(towards her condition I suppose), and happiness.
In I got plently of nothing, the man seemed to be happy with everything that he didnt/doesn't have. His facail expression showed that he was honestly happy with the fact that he only has his wife/girl, and his son.

Helen McNeil said...

Rattle’s Porgy and Bess 1

In the beginning of “I Got Plenty of Nothing” the man is singing in a low pitch. The man is in a happy mood because he’s grateful for the little things that many people look over in life. Later, on in “I Got Plenty of Nothing” a senior woman becomes disgusted with a young man because he is does not realize how lucky he is to so fortunate. The senior woman’s voice becomes deeper to add suspense to the scene. The aria takes place during the early 1900’ or late 1800’s and during those times money didn’t come across African Americans frequently.


In the beginning of “Summertime” the woman is singing a lullaby to her baby. The scene takes place in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. The woman sings in a soft soprano to set the mood for “Summertime”. Later on the woman begins to stand up and walk in to a wooden room that’s mostly filled with African American woman sewing. The group f women begin to stare at the baby to adore how beautiful it is.

Anonymous said...

In summertime , Harolyn blackwell was acting in way that she was rocking a baby to sleep. she sung softly and her voice can brighten a day. As she sung it look like she was probably telling the baby about the people in the community. In i got plenty of nothin , Willard white acted like he was proud of having nonthing. He sung like he was cofindent of his lifestyle. The way he acted was like he have every thing he got in his life thats useful to him. -Tevin King

Ayries Grays said...

Summertime is used as a lullabye for the baby. The singer uses vermatto as she sings. She sings to the baby with the emotion of happiness. Harolyn Blackwell is singing to her baby about the characteristics of her family and how she is going to be when she/he grows up. Harolyn shows hope through her voice and facial expressions.

Willard White speaks of him not having much but just enough to get him through life. He explains all of the things in life that he has that helps him to get bye. Then the stroy goes into these people who hate each other. FRom the sound of the man's voice he wants to just be friends but the woman does not. She sings in a voice of rage and her facial expressions are mainly frowns and a smile when she speaks of all the bad things she wants to do to him.

Fanita Robins said...

For the Opera Summertime, the words/stories are displayed in the singers actions in many ways. One way it was displayed was the way singer acts when the singer rocks the baby back and forth and sings "don't you cry" to the baby. Another way it is displayed is how the lady smiles and show the baby loves let me know that she is happy. It also let me know that she is telling a good story.
For the Opera I Got Plenty Of Nothing, the words/stories are displayed in the singers actions in many ways. One way it was displayed is when the lady singer gets mad and come in the room and take the little boy away from the man. Another way is how the man look and and express himself while he is singing.

joshuan mcneal said said...

How the both operas was different because summertime was more a opera seria and I got plenty of nothin was a opera buffa.Then summertime had a women that was wealthy but I got plenty of nothin was a struggling man.than summertime Melody was minor and I got plenty of nothin was major.Both have plenty of difference but great operas.

Myles Alston said...

The singer in summer time seemed to be singing to her baby about someone. She told the baby "so don't you cry" and that makes me think that she was telling the baby that they have a good life. The baby will grow up fine. Her expressions showed a reasuring smile as she was singing as well.

I Got Plenty of Nothin.
The Main singers was the Man singing about how he doesn't have anything. He showed pride in the things he does have and in his face you can see he is happy with that. The older lady singing a rececitive about not having any kind of things that sales men was selling. She followed him around with a knife the whole time and threatened him and was very convincing that she would do all these horrible things than be friends with him.

Evolution of Music

Background - Lecrae

Hansel and Gretel