• Doris Koplik
  • Alas, she’s dead (or is she?)

Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher with a score by Philip Glass?

That’s a no-brainer.

Poe’s heavy-breathing short story, an exercise in sustained suspense, and Glass’s throbbing, hypnotic music are made for each other. For both, it’s all about the atmosphere and the tension. Making that work for an audience is another matter.

In Chicago Opera Theater’s current production of Glass’s rarely seen 1987 opera, director Ken Cazan has pulled it off by making sense of it. The first time he heard Usher, Cazan says in a program note, he immediately understood it as centered on an “unfulfilled homosexual relationship.”