DERIDED as a half-breed between musical and opera when it was first performed on Broadway in 1935, Porgy and Bess is now revered as one of the greatest works of American composer George Gershwin.

The tale of the fictional black neighbourhood of Catfish Row, South Carolina, it tells the story of crippled Porgy who takes in Bess after her boyfriend commits a murder.

The pair fall in love, to the inspired songs of Gershwin including I Got Plenty O' Nuttin, Summertime, and It Ain't Necessarily So, but as always in musical or opera their love is the victim of many an misunderstanding and coincidence.

Attacked for being trite and conventional, the show was not an immediate success and was fiercely defended by its composer.

He said: "I am not ashamed of writing songs at any time so long as they are good songs.

"In Porgy and Bess I realized I was writing an opera for the theatre, and without songs, it could neither be of the theatre nor entertaining from my viewpoint.

"But the songs are entirely within the operatic tradition. Many of the most successful operas of the past have had songs. Nearly all of Verdi's operas contain what are known as 'song hits'.

"Carmen is almost a collection of song hits... If I am successful Porgy and Bess will resemble a combination of the drama and romance of Carmen and the beauty of Meistersinger."

Sadly, Gershwin died only two years after the show's first performance and never saw it finally reach the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1985. Now recognised as a classic, a new version of the show directed by Will Roberson comes to St David's Hall on Sunday.

Tickets range from £17.50 to £32 and the music begins at 7.30pm. Box office 02920 878444.