Poe’s famous horror story has fascinated poets, dramatized and composers for over a century. Poe hints at much, but states hardly anything at all. Is the story real, or is it a hallucination? What are the relationship between the narrator (William), his friend Roderick Usher, and Roderick’s dying sister, Madeline? Has she been buried alive, or is it a demon from hell who takes such a spectacular revenge at the end? And is the vast house in which they live a living malignant entity? Incest, homosexuality, murder, and the supernatural hang in the air, but then again, such things may exist only in the imagination of the audience.
Premiered in 1988, the opera has been one of Glass’s most popular yet has never received a recording until now performed by Wolf Trap Opera Artists, Inscape Chamber Orchestra under conductor Joseph Li. The performance features a stellar cast including Jonas Hacker as Roderick Usher, Ben Edquist as William, Matthew Adam Fleisher as the Servant, Nicholas Nestorak as the Physician, and Madison Leonard as Madeline Usher.
Glass’s gothic opera, part of a trilogy of dark operas including Kafka’s The Trial and In the Penal Colony, receives a stunning studio recording produced by Soundmirror. The package includes two booklets including a full libretto, and photos of the 2017 production.