Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Ada Grey Interviews for You: Adina Aaron, Bess in Lyric Opera's Porgy and Bess.

I had an interview with the friendly and talented Adina Aaron who plays Bess in Porgy and Bess at The Lyric Opera. It was so much fun interviewing her and I'm excited to see the show.

Ada Grey: What is your favorite part in the show?

Adina Aaron: With Bess there are so many parts. I like the Crown and Bess duet. It is really exciting.

Ada Grey: What is your approach to playing Bess?

Adina Aaron: Well, Bess is someone who has had a really disturbed life, so I just try to make sure that everybody understands what she's been through. You know what I mean? She's had a really hard life. You know, she's been abused by everybody she's dated. So I just want the audience to understand the abuses, and the way she deals with the abuses is that she drinks and she does drugs.

Ada Grey: Some people don't think this is a very accurate portrayal of African-American people in the 1930s because it was written by white people. Why do you think it is still a good idea to put on this show?

Adina Aaron: It definitely deals with a lot that went on in that time period. And you know, Ada, the interesting thing is a lot of that still happens today. I mean, look at the Ferguson trial that's happening right now that they just ruled on. You have what they call police brutality, the excessive use of force. Not only is it pertinent for the 1930s, but it is also relevant today, unfortunately. I think for me it is an opera with a story that is so relevant. And it's important to do it because you still have people today that deal with drug abuse, you still have people today that deal with domestic abuse. You have so many people that are still in relationships that are being abused. You still have racial injustice. I think Gershwin was pretty amazing in that he captured all of that. I don't think color matters. Color doesn't matter. He wanted to tell a great story, and he did his research, and he told a great story.

Ada Grey: If there were a sequel to Porgy and Bess, what do you think would happen in it?

Adina Aaron: You know, Ada, it is sad, because I think if there was a sequel, I don't think Porgy makes it to New York. I'm not even sure Bess makes it to New York, to be quite honest with you. One of the other characters is called Sportin' Life; he's a really bad guy. He's a drug dealer and all that. I don't even think Sportin' Life makes it to New York with Bess, because he just wants to use her. He wants to use her for her body, for her good looks. And I honestly think he probably gets to the next big city, which may be Washington D.C., and I think he probably just sets up shop there and uses her there. I honestly don't even think Bess makes it there to New York.

Photo: Courtesy of Adina Aaron and the artist

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