Double Bill: Getty's 'Usher House' and Debussy's 'La Chute de la Maison Usher'

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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Brian Mulligan (Roderick Usher), 'Usher House' (Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera)

Tune in to WQXR this Saturday at 1 pm for a double bill of Gordon Getty's Usher House and Claude Debussy's La Chute de la Maison Usher performed by the San Francisco Opera. The production stars Brian Mulligan, Jason Bridges and Jacqueline Piccolino in the duel role of Madeline Usher and Lady Madeline.

Conductor: Lawrence Foster


Roderick Usher -Brian Mulligan
Edgar Allan Poe -Jason Bridges
Madeline Usher / Lady Madeline -Jacqueline Piccolino
Madeline Usher (dancer) -Jamielyn Duggan
Doctor Primus -Anthony Reed
Le Médecin -Joel Sorensen
L'Ami - Edward Nelson


Part 1, Usher House
Part 2, La Chute de la Maison Usher

Comments [4]

Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Thanks James
Best wishes

Sep. 24 2016 05:09 PM
James Robiscoe from Sleepy Hollow, NY

Ms. Nardone, it's a broadcast I think you would have enjoyed. Gordon Getty's opera gripped my ears, and Debussy's "Downfall" was to me totally new. I heard many echoes of his "Martyrdom of St. Sebastian." I'll be on the lookout for these works on disc.

Sep. 24 2016 04:54 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

SORRY I could not listen today.
One of my favorite Poe stories.

Sep. 24 2016 03:37 PM
Les from Miami, Florida

I'm delighted to have been one in the radio audience to have heard what I consider a major coup for the San Francisco Opera Company. I think Gaetano Merola would have been extremely proud had he lived to hear what his company's achievements were including this double bill. I've always wondered what Debussy's opera on Poe's story would have sounded like if only it were completed and premiered at the Metropolitan Opera House with the intended "The Devil in the Belfry". The orchestration in "La Chute..." does bring Debussy to mind, thanks to Robert Orledge --- either Debussy or Dukas' "Arianne et Barbe-bleu", it seems to me. Judging from the photos on the Opera's website, the stage picture accurately represents Poe's story; and since Getty is a living composer, well and good that he chose a Twentieth century locale and time frame. I do regret not having a libretto or score for both operas; and certainly the full impact is missing in that we listeners couldn't see the performances. It strikes me that Getty's sound world is more difficult to describe or recognize than Debussy's as regards a personal "signature". I've never heard anything else by him to date. I did like his use of pedal points and inverted pedal points against which single solo instruments were employed such as the celesta, violin and oboe. I thought the use of a waltz meter to accompany the arrival of the guests a master stroke: it was a great change of pace. I would like to see and/or hear the double bill again, the better to appreciate them. I understand Lawrence Foster conducted the double bill in Europe. As far as I'm concerned, the soloists and instrumentalists who presumably have never seen or heard these works before studying and performing them can justiably consider themselves masters of their art.

Sep. 24 2016 03:23 PM

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