Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-10-22
Download Issue
  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 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

ELECTIONS 2014 Printable Election Guide Charts ELECTIONS 2014 Printable Election Guide Charts
Early voting has begun in Illinois. Consult our 2014 General Election charts ...

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 Theatrical puzzle pieces 2014-10-22
THEATER REVIEW Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street 2014-10-22
THEATER REVIEW Watch on the Rhine 2014-10-22
THEATER REVIEW The Submission 2014-10-22
THEATER REVIEW At Last: A Tribute to Etta James 2014-10-22
EXHIBITS 'David Bowie Is' wows patrons at the MCA 2014-10-22
Theater spotlight and Critics' Picks 2014-10-22
Laramie Project; Boy George; Library exhibit on marriage 2014-10-22
'By Women for Women' Oct. 25 at Joffrey Tower 2014-10-21
GayCo Productions turns 18, is Bearly Legal 2014-10-17
SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Gay bar drama 2014-10-15
THEATER REVIEW Danny Casolaro Died for You 2014-10-15
THEATER REVIEW The Wild Party 2014-10-15
THEATER REVIEW Witches Among Us 2014-10-15
THEATER REVIEW Take Me Out 2014-10-15
Theater Spotlight and Critics' Picks 2014-10-15
Cyndi Lauper talks about 'Kinky Boots' 2014-10-15
Upcoming shows: Laramie Project; Brickman; McComas, Kuper, Kennedy 2014-10-15
46th Jeff Awards celebrates excellence in Chicago theatre 2014-10-13
Terrence McNally Eclipse Theatre Company's featured playwright 2014-10-12
Robert Patrick: One of oldest gay playwrights on theater history 2014-10-08
THEATER REVIEW At Home at the Zoo 2014-10-08
THEATER REVIEW The World of Extreme Happiness 2014-10-08
THEATER REVIEW The Night Alive 2014-10-08
THEATER REVIEW Bethany 2014-10-08
Theater Spotlight and Critics' Picks 2014-10-08
NUNN ON ONE Gay actor from 'Nurse Jackie' shows theater chops 2014-10-08
Dustin Lance Black talks marriage rights, traveling and London 2014-10-08
Double date with Walt Whitman: Interview with playwright, actor 2014-10-07
Bennett and Gaga's CD; Melissa on marriage; Laverne in Vegas 2014-10-07
Laramie Project launches Northwestern's MainStage season 2014-10-06
October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard to premiere 2014-10-03
THEATER REVIEW Season on the Line 2014-10-01
THEATER REVIEW Rest 2014-10-01
MUSICAL REVIEW A Kurt Weill Cabaret 2014-10-01
THEATER REVIEW Jane Eyre 2014-10-01
Octavia Spencer: 'Red' is the new black 2014-10-01
Theater spotlight; Critics picks 2014-09-30
La Roux Oct. 1; Big Freedia Oct. 10; By Women for Women Oct. 25 2014-09-30
THEATER REVIEW Another Bone 2014-09-29





Copyright © 2014 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.

 

 

 



 

Aon, KPMG hold pro-LGBT event
 
ELECTIONS 2014 Printable Election Guide Charts
 
Sophia Bush on 'Chicago P.D.' and being an LGBT ally
 
Gay in the Life: Justin Romme
 
BENT NIGHTS Xina Xurner;'Shame That Tune'; Asgeir
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now



  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 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      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
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.