UNTIL MARCH 13 YOU CAN STILL BUY TICKETS FOR THE STREAMING OF THIS PRODUCTION VIA THE DATE BUTTONUsher brings the musical worlds of Claude Debussy and the Flemish composer Annelies Van Parys into a surprising dialogue. Van Parys and librettist Gaea Schoeters created a new chamber opera based on Debussy's sketches for La Chute de la maison Usher (1908-17), after Edgar Allan Poe. After a successful start at the Berlin Staatsoper (2018) and performances at the Folkoperan in Stockholm, Usher will have its delayed premiere in Belgium. The French director Philippe Quesne, who was inspired by American horror films from the 1970s, is directing this new production.
Roderick Usher, the last male member of a dying family, lives with his twin sister Madeline in the family's dilapidated ancestral home. Roderick, who is struggling with an acute health crisis, has enlisted the help of a childhood friend. Roderick's sister, who is being cared for by a live-in doctor, is also ill and suffers from severe physical attacks. Increasingly, Roderick finds himself in the grip of irrational fears, which drive him mad.
Usher, Debussy's original and unfinished opera, morphs into an urgently topical tale of violation of the personal freedom of movement and manipulation of fear and paranoia in the name of protection and safety. After all, the doctor, who endorses Roderick's self-selected quarantine, knows: "Fear is a powerful virus of which I am both the germ and the cure."