Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-07-22
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  WINDY CITY TIMES

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.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

These Boots Are Made for Working 2015-07-23
Chaz Bono on stage in "Down the Road" in LA 2015-07-23
Upcoming: Theater 2015-07-22
SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT About Face takes 'Breaths,' marks anniversary 2015-07-22
THEATER REVIEW Men of Soul 2015-07-22
THEATER REVIEW Whatever 2015-07-22
THEATER REVIEW Take Me Back 2015-07-22
NUNN ON ONE Sandra Bernhard: Feeling '#blessed' 2015-07-22
THEATER REVIEW Grand Concourse 2015-07-22
Theater Spotlight and Critics' Picks 2015-07-22
Entertainment: Jennifer Hudson; Lee Daniels; Margaret Cho; Thomas Roberts 2015-07-21
Loving Repeating musical tribute to author Gertrude Stein 2015-07-20
Piccolo's 2015/2016 season opens With local playwright adaptation 2015-07-17
Step Up Productions announces 2015-16 season 2015-07-17
Macbeth cast announced 2015-07-16
THEATER REVIEW Kiss of the Spider Woman: The Musical 2015-07-15
THEATER REVIEW Brilliant Adventures 2015-07-15
THEATER REVIEW Kinky Boots 2015-07-15
Theater Spotlight and Critics' Picks 2015-07-15
THEATER REVIEW Bard Fiction 2015-07-14
Court Theatre opens season with August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean 2015-07-13
Trap Door Season announces 2015/2016 season 2015-07-12
OUTspoken! LGBT Storytelling at Sidetrack celebrating one year 2015-07-10
Sandra Oh, Andre De Shields in Victory Gardens Theater Ignition Festival 2015-07-09
Coffee table book reveals world of burlesque 2015-07-09
DANCIN' FEATS A closer look at 'Queer, Ill & Okay' 2015-07-08
THEATER REVIEW Beaches 2015-07-08
THEATER REVIEW Bent 2015-07-08
THEATER REVIEW Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike 2015-07-08
AIA exec Zurich Esposito living out childhood dream 2015-07-07
Theater Spotlight and Critics' Picks 2015-07-07
THEATER REVIEW Matawan 2015-07-07
Memorial planned for Chicago Dramatists' Russ Tutterow 2015-07-03
Chapin Hall launches 'Voices of Youth Count' 2015-07-01
SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Broadway 'losers' 2015-07-01
THEATER REVIEW Men on the Verge of a His-Panic Breakdown 2015-07-01
THEATER REVIEW A Work of Art 2015-07-01
THEATER REVIEW Moby Dick 2015-07-01
Spotlight, Critics' Picks 2015-07-01
THEATER REVIEW The Who & the What 2015-07-01
 



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.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



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.