Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-04-18
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  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 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 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

Gay News

Season of Concern hosts 'Cabaret for Care' 2018-04-18 - Season of Concern's 2018 annual benefit titled Cabaret for Care came to the Goodman Theatre on April 9. The evening had donors enjoying ...


Gay News

DANCE PROFILE Getting to know Lucky Plush dancer Aaron-Raheim White 2018-04-18 - How does one go from being a quiet young boy with an unstable home to being a successful Reiki master-teacher and MFA in ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Our Great Tchaikovsky 2018-04-18 - Playwright/Performer: Hershey Felder; Music: Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky At: Steppenwolf Theatre Upstairs, 1650 N. Halsted St. Tickets: 312-335-1650 or Steppenwolf.org; $55. Runs through: May ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW 33 to Nothing 2018-04-18 - Playwright/Composer: Grant James Varjas At: A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells St. Tickets: 312-943-8722; ARedOrchidTheatre.org; $30-$35. Runs through: May 27 ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Ghosts of War 2018-04-18 - Playwright: adapted by William Massolia, from the novel by Ryan Smithson. At: Griffin Theatre Company at The Den, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. ...


Gay News

Critics' Picks 2018-04-18 - The Gentleman Caller, Raven Theatre, extended through May 27. You can see this play because it's so literary or because it's so gol-durn ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Lettie 2018-04-18 - Playwright: Boo Killebrew At: Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. Tickets: 773-871-3000; VictoryGardens.org; $15-$56. Runs through: May 6 Sometimes a ...


Gay News

THEATER SPOTLIGHT Midsummer Night's Dream 2018-04-18 - When the Joffrey Ballet takes on Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman's Midsummer Night's Dream, the performance will be a world away from Shakespeare's original. ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW 9 to 5 The Musical 2018-04-18 - Music and lyrics: Dolly Parton Book: Patricia Resnick. At: Firebrand Theatre at the Den Theatre, 1329 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets: $20-$45; FirebrandTheatre.org. Runs ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Another Jungle 2018-04-18 - Playwright: Kristin Idaszak At: The Buena at the Pride Arts Center, 4147 N. Broadway. Tickets: $25. Runs through: April 29 Produced ...


 



Copyright © 2018 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

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.