‘Porgy and Bess,’ a Hit for the Met Opera, Gets an Encore

‘Porgy and Bess,’ a Hit for the Met Opera, Gets an Encore

Bess is apparently not the only one who loves Porgy.

The Metropolitan Opera’s sold-out production of the Gershwins’s “Porgy and Bess” has been so successful this season that the company is doing something without precedent in its modern history: It is adding several performances to the run.

The show, which opened the season in September, was scheduled to return on Jan. 8 for seven performances, through Feb. 1. On Thursday, the Met announced it would add three more, on Feb. 4, 12 and 15.

Big repertory companies, which plan their crowded schedules years in advance, rarely have the flexibility to add performances to even their most successful shows. But the Met had an unexpected hole in its schedule.

In June, months after it announced its current season, the Met said that technical difficulties would prevent it from moving forward with its plans to stage Robert Lepage’s complex production of Berlioz’s “La Damnation de Faust.” It decided to perform the opera in concert instead, and to cancel three performances, leaving a hole in the calendar.

Enter “Porgy,” which audiences can’t seem to get enough of. It has become a runaway hit at a time when the Met has struggled with declining attendance. Starring Eric Owens and Angel Blue in the title roles, one performance this fall broke a Met record, officials said: Because the company increases prices as demand rises, the performance took in 113 percent of its anticipated box office revenue.

The Met said that most of the original cast would be able to perform the extra dates, including Mr. Owens and Ms. Blue. The conductor, David Robertson, will lead the final two new dates; the Feb. 4 performance will be conducted by J. David Jackson. Tickets will go on sale Dec. 9.

“Porgy and Bess” is shaping up to be a cinema hit, too. The Met said that it had already sold 67,000 tickets to the upcoming Live in HD simulcast of the production to cinemas around the world, on Feb. 1, and that it plans to add encore screenings in more theaters than usual.

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