Chicago Opera Theater collaborates with Facets Multimedia, the Gene Siskel Film Center and the University of Chicago for events around the Chicago Premiere of Glass’ THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER

image001 (1)Chicago Opera Theater (COT) offers more opportunities to look inside its operas through its new initiative, Viewpoints. These collaborations with Chicago cultural institutions will draw audiences even further into the passionate world of COT’s 2013 Season, “Power of Love, Love of Power.”

The first three Viewpoints will be held in anticipation of the February 23 opening of Philip Glass’ The Fall of the House of Usher. Discover the dramatic power of Philip Glass’ music, witness the frenzied decline of Edgar Allan Poe, and investigate the interaction of Glass’ haunting score with Poe’s original story.

Viewpoints Events

The Raven

February 10, 12 pm

At the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N State St.

$6 for COT subscribers, $11 regular admission

Chicago Opera Theater invites Chicagoans to get to know two American artistic pioneers: Edgar Allan Poe – father of the macabre – and Philip Glass, the sound of 21st century American music.  The 1915 silent film The Raven from director Charles Brabin (The Mask of Fu Manchu) highlights the trials and tribulations of Poe’s tragically short life.  The film’s depiction of Poe’s embittered life evokes sympathy for a man tragically undone by his demons.

The film will be underscored by a Philip Glass solo with live accompaniment by pianist Michelle Schumann. Additional appearances by COT artists will follow, with live excerpts from The Fall of the House of Usher.

Siskel Film Center:


February 17, 12 pm

At Facets Multimedia, 1517 W Fullerton Ave.

$5 for COT Subscribers, $9 regular admission

Explore the 1982 cult favorite film with an award-winning score by Phillip Glass. The title is a Hopi word meaning “life out of balance.”  This non-narrative film is an apocalyptic vision of the collision of two different worlds: urban life and technology versus the environment.  COT’s General Director Andreas Mitisek and Facets’ General Director Milos Stehlik introduce the film.

The audience’s immersion into the film will be augmented by a discussion on the impacts of technology and civilization on the environment with Scott Manning Stevens, Director of the Newberry’s D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian & Indigenous Studies, and University of Chicago Senior Lecturer in the Department of Cinema & Media Studies, Judy Hoffman.

Live music and a reception to follow.


Trailer to Koyaanisqatsi:

“Who is Usher?” 

February 19, Pre-reception 6 pm; Main Event 6:30 pm

University of Chicago, Logan Center – Performance Penthouse, 915 E. 60th St.

Admission:  FREE

Delving into the opera The Fall of the House of Usher by Philip Glass based on Edgar Allen Poe with an exchange between Director Ken Cazan, COT General Director Andreas Mitisek, and University of Chicago English professor Eric Slauter.  Slauter, who specializes in American culture and literary history, will contribute insight into what lies beneath the surface of Poe’s classic Gothic horror tale, asking, among other questions:  Who is Usher?  Is he mad?  Has he killed his sister?  Is it real or imaginary?  Where is the line between truth and illusion?

University of Chicago Events:

The Fall of the House of Usher

Philip Glass’ The Fall of the House of Usher, a gothic horror story which blurs the line between the real world and the supernatural, opens Chicago Opera Theater’s 2013 Season.  This is Andreas Mitisek’s inaugural season as General Director of Chicago Opera Theater since assuming the position in June 2012.  Glass’ haunting 1987 score for Edgar Allan Poe’s macabre masterpiece, with lyrics by Arthur Yorinks, provides the perfect backdrop for this nightmarish journey to the edge of madness.

The Fall of the House of Usher, taking place at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Drive, runs for four performances only: Saturday, February 23 at 7:30 p.m.Sunday, February 24 at 3 p.m.Wednesday, February 27 at 7:30 p.m. and Friday, March 1 at 7:30 p.m.

The Fall of the House of Usher is a co-production with Long Beach Opera (LBO), whose production opened January 27.  An opera in two acts, The Fall of the House of Usher takes the audience deep into the eerie realm of the House of Usher.  When William receives a letter from his long lost friend Roderick Usher, apparently suffering from illness and requesting William’s presence, he journeys to the sinister mansion where Roderick and his twin sister Madeline live as the last of the Usher bloodline.  At first William tries to aid his friend by reminding Roderick of his passion for art, music and literature, but William soon becomes swallowed up in a world where the border separating real and supernatural is blurred, and paranoia then takes control.  Taken from one of Edgar Allan Poe’s most popular tales, this unsettling story explores the line between truth and imagination, all set against Glass’ haunting and suspenseful music.  COT has also performed Glass’ opera Akhnate in 2000.

Individual tickets, on sale now, range from $45 to $125.  Tickets may be purchased through Chicago Opera Theater, by phone at 312-704-8414, or through the Harris Theater at and 312-334-7777.  COT offers half-off tickets to students in sections A, B, C and D.

The Fall of the House of Usher is generously supported by Orli & Bill Staley and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

For more information on the Chicago Opera Theater, its programs and events please visit