Bess, you is my woman now

Anyone remember who sang Bess in George Gershwin’s original 1935 production of Porgy and Bess?

Her name was Anne Brown and she died last week, aged 96, in Norway, where she lived since her marriage 60 years ago. What she did with the rest of her life is known chiefly to Norwegians, but a friend in Oslo describes her as a driving force in musical life, teacher of many of the country’s best singers and actors – including Liv Ullmann – and, to the very last, ‘the most beautiful creature in the whole world’.

Anne Brown attended the opening of the new opera house last year and rose from her wheelchair to receive a standing ovation.

Someone ought to tell President Obama. A moment’s homage would be appropriate for one of the first women to show the world the real life of Black Americans. May she rest in peace.

You can hear her teaching and interviewed on Norman Lebrecht’s Slipped Disc at

Anne Brown as Bess

Anne Brown as Bess

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