Usher House

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Usher House
  • Opera in one act. Libretto by the composer, based on Oscar Wilde’s “The Canterville Ghost”,
  • Running time: Approximately 60 minutes
  • Sung in English

Roles: Virginia (soprano), Mrs. Otis (mezzo-soprano), 1st Twin/1st Boy/1st Voice from Tapestry (mezzo-soprano), 2nd Twin/2nd Boy/2nd Voice from Tapestry (mezzo-soprano), Cecil Cheshire (tenor), Hiram Otis (baritone), Ghost/Sir Simon (bass), Family at Gravesite/Guests/Staff (non-speaking)

Orchestration: 2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassons, contrabassoon, 2 horns, trumpet, 2 trombones, tuba, 2 percussion, harp, piano/celesta/harpsichord, strings (piano reduction available)

In Rehearsal

Gulbenkian Orchestra with Lawrence Foster, conductor; Etienne Dupuis, baritone; Christian Elsner, tenor; Phillip Ens, bass; Lisa Delan, soprano; Benedict Cumberbatch, actor

Reviews

See review archive

“I found both Getty’s libretto and music to be effective in presenting an augmented version of Poe’s tale. It worked well that the character of Madeline Usher, Roderick’s sister who was entombed a few days too early, was assigned to a dancer (Jamielyn Duggan), with Madeline’s voice sung by Illinois soprano Jacqueline Piccolino.”

OperaWarhorses, 2015

“Usher House is [Getty’s] treatment of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, and it is a more edgy work. Poe is introduced into the drama in the role of narrator telling the story. Getty has made other adjustments…He actually makes the Ushers more appealing and likeable than they are in Poe (or in Glass’s opera), and the horror of the ending is all the more dramatic because we have been attracted to them. The music is darker than [Getty’s] Plump Jack, as is appropriate for the story. One hears echoes of Bartók, Debussy, and Mahler in the writing. But the score is not mere copying of others’ music.”

Henry Fogel
Fanfare, January-February 2014

“He is a real composer. His style is proudly tonal, although there are, as he says, ‘hints of atonality, such as any composer would likely use to suggest a degree of disorientation...’ I think Usher House is his most expressive work yet.”

Raymond S. Tuttle
International Record Review, January 2014