Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 29+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-03-25
Download Issue
  News Index   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds     AIDS @ 32       Marriage
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

Elaine Dame hosts Matthew Shepard Foundation benefit Elaine Dame hosts Matthew Shepard Foundation benefit
Jazz vocalist and bandleader Elaine Dame will be holding down a Thursday ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times    Download PDF Issue

An LGBT take on a Poe classic
SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT
by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times
2013-02-20

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


Edgar Allan Poe's spooky short story The Fall of the House of Usher is well known to classic horror fans, but it probably isn't on the lists of LGBT readers who like to read between the lines of 19th-century literature for coded queer references or liaisons.

However, The Fall of the House of Usher as an opera is entirely a different matter.

According to Los Angeles-based out director Ken Cazan, the 1987 operatic adaptation of The Fall of the House of Usher by composer Philip Glass and librettist Arthur Yorinks makes an interpretive case that a once-unrequited same-sex love affair is central to Poe's classic story.

Windy City audiences will get a chance to see how much homoeroticism The Fall of the House of Usher can stand when Chicago Opera Theatre presents four performances of the work at Millennium Park's Harris Theater for Music and Dance starting Saturday, Feb. 23. The same production received largely rave reviews in California earlier this year at Long Beach Opera, the other company run by Chicago Opera Theater's new incoming general director and conductor Andreas Mitisek.

Now Cazan is not typically known for imposing extreme directorial interpretations on operatic works the way that many modern-day European opera productions often require pages and pages of director's notes in the program to explain the far-out concept onstage. Instead, Cazan likes to go to the sources of the works and to study the performance materials.

"Once I got the music and I read the libretto, I thought, 'Oh my!'" said Cazan during a telephone interview from California.

Poe's original short story involves a sickly bachelor named Roderick Usher, his deathly ill spinster sister, Madeline, and the male narrator named William who visits their ghostly mansion which is on the verge of both a familial and physical collapse.

Poe never goes into the exact detail about Roderick and the narrator's past relationship. Yet Cazan feels that Glass and Yorinks wanted to update the tale a bit by adding the gay angle and increasing the dramatic stakes.

"I tend to go with my first instincts on pieces and I did with this," Cazan said, noting that Roderick is described as being sensitive to everything, and that he's facing enormous pressure to continue the House of Usher by producing a male heir—a great difficulty if you're a homosexual.

There are also musical clues to this gay interpretation according to Cazan, particularly in Roderick's inciting letter-writing sequence (updated in this production to a desperate email) to William asking him to come and visit.

"It wraps up as the music starts to build to a crescendo, and (Roderick sings out to William) 'I need you!'" said Cazan, who also notes that William, too, sings about his apprehensive hopes for returned affections from Roderick.

Glass and Yorinks' decision to only give the sister one word to sing (an "ah") made Cazan decide not to leave her as a disembodied voice offstage, but to be a nearly omnipresent and hovering ghostly presence. Cazan also says Madeline could also potentially symbolize a feminine side of Roderick that he has long repressed due to social graces and family expectations.

Cazan is glad to once again return to Chicago Opera Theater, where he has previously directed works like the double bill of Duke Bluebeard's Castle with Erwartung, Shining Brow and two late Britten works: Death in Venice and Owen Wingrave.

But Cazan is eager to see if The Fall of the House of Usher will repeat the success that it had in California, especially since it's the same physical production and it features the same leading performers who will hopefully only have deepened their characterizations for the Chicago run.

"The response to this particular production out here has been overwhelmingly gratifying," Cazan said, adding that "people have come up to me at the theater in tears" going on about how moved they were by the work.

Chicago Opera Theater's production of The Fall of the House of Usher plays Millennium Park's Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, Wednesday, Feb. 27 and Friday, March 1, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Feb. 24. Tickets are $35-$125. Call 312-704-8414 or visit www.chicagooperatheater.org for more information.


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily
agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here.
Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you
stay on this page, the more you help us.

SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Travis Turner heads 'Upstairs' 2015-03-25
THEATER REVIEW Two Trains Running 2015-03-25
THEATER REVIEW The Hammer Trinity 2015-03-25
THEATER REVIEW Picture Imperfect 2015-03-25
THEATER REVIEW The Mecca Tales 2015-03-25
Theater Spotlight, Critics' Picks 2015-03-25
Rivendell Theatre honors Willa Taylor, marks 20 years 2015-03-19
SPRING THEATER PREVIEW The long and short of it: Classics and near-classics 2015-03-18
THEATER REVIEW First Wives Club: The Musical 2015-03-18
THEATER REVIEW 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea 2015-03-18
THEATER REVIEW The Full Monty 2015-03-18
THEATER REVIEW Garage Rep 2015 2015-03-18
Theater Spotlight, Critics' Picks 2015-03-18
SPRING THEATER PREVIEW: Bring on the premieres! 2015-03-18
SPRING THEATER PREVIEW: LGBTQ works for the spring 2015-03-18
Upcoming: Willa Taylor honors; GayCo event; Sculpture exhibit 2015-03-18
Entertainment: Madonna; Matt Bomer; Billie Jean film; Josh Groban 2015-03-17
Out Chicago live from Boystown March 22 2015-03-17
Kinsey Sicks campaign on Kickstarter funds trip to Scotland's "Fringe" 2015-03-17
About Face Theatre celebrates 19th year at Wonka Ball: Worhol 2015-03-12
THEATER REVIEW The Diary of Anne Frank 2015-03-11
THEATER REVIEW One Came Home 2015-03-11
THEATER REVIEW The Royal Society of Antarctica 2015-03-11
THEATER REVIEW Titus Andronicus 2015-03-11
Theater Spotlight; Critics' Picks 2015-03-11
NUNN ON ONE: THEATER Grant James Varjas pens gay-bar drama 2015-03-11
NBCUniversal partners with Second City 2015-03-11
THEATER REVIEW Fit to be Tied 2015-03-10
Windy City Gay Idol looks back on twelve years 2015-03-06
SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Garage activism 2015-03-04
THEATER REVIEW The Glass Protege 2015-03-04
THEATER REVIEW The Sweeter Option 2015-03-04
THEATER REVIEW Four 2015-03-04
DOUBLE REVIEW Dunsinane; Macbeth 2015-03-04
Theater Spotlight and Critics' Picks 2015-03-04
The (drag) queen's speech: Talking with Terence Boyle 2015-03-03
NUNN ON ONE: MAGIC Jeff Hobson bringing flamboyant persona to Chicago 2015-03-03
THEATER REVIEW The Trial of Moses Fleetwood Walker 2015-02-25
THEATER REVIEW Marie Antoinette 2015-02-25
THEATER REVIEW The Other Place 2015-02-25





Copyright © 2015 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 

ALMA names recipients of Young Latino Leaders for Creating Change scholarship
 
NUNN ON ONE: TELEVISION Taryn Manning dishes on new music, 'Orange Is the New Black'
 
PASSAGES Carl Sharp
 
Ald. Emma Mitts videotaped making anti-LGBT comments
 
New BYC location among Howard Brown meeting announcements
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now
Sponsor


Sponsor

  News Index   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds     AIDS @ 32       Marriage
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.