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PT 6451
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PT 6451

GETTY, G.: Usher House [Opera] (Foster)

The Classical Shop
release date: July 2013

Recorded in 24 Bit / 96Khz
album available as a Studio Master


Gulbenkian Orchestra


Lawrence Foster


Christian Elsner



Grande Auditorio of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Lisbon, Portugal


Record Label




Total Time - 66:55
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GETTY, G.: Usher House [Opera] (Foster)

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Usher House

1 Act I: Prologue: During the whole of a dull, dark and soundless day (Poe) 1:23
2 Act I Scene 1: Can it be five years my friend? (Roderick, Poe) 21:11
3 Act I Scene 1: Where is my lady, o where is she gone? (Poe) 2:55
4 Act I Scene 1: She was my model in writing (Poe, Roderick, Primus, Attendant) 4:08
5 Act I Scene 2: Lady Heliane Usher (Attendant, Roderick, Poe) 7:12
6 Act I Scene 3: And now it is time to bid our silent farewells (Roderick, Primus, Poe) 5:02
7 Act I Scene 4: We are particularly honored to receive our guest (Primus, Poe) 8:48
8 Act I Scene 5: Roderick, I must speak (Poe, Roderick, Madeline) 16:16
 Christian Elsner Soloist
 Lawrence Foster Conductor

Poe’s intergrown house and family of Usher are artworks of morbidity and malaise worthy of the spectacular climax he devised for them. He has preferred to make mood everything, saving almost all dialogue and explicit action for the closing scene. There is no moral, no tragic flaw, no explanation. Poe rather gives us the logic of the nightmare, and on this plane his logic is airtight.
Probably the safest course in dramatizing this gothic masterpiece would have been to save both letter and spirit as intact as possible. In fact, I found myself taking liberties. To start, I have made Poe himself the narrator who lives to tell the tale. More radically, I have conceived him and the doomed siblings as types of an ante-bellum warmth and gallantry which hardly exist anywhere in the prose of the real Poe, and must be counter to his purposes here. I have added other gothic staples – forbidden knowledge, a Faustian pact, ghostly ancestors – and have shifted all into a tale of good and evil and redemption. Good means Poe and the siblings, evil means Primus and the ancestors, and Madeline becomes the agent of redemption. 
To fit this new design, I have played down Roderick’s ailments, and played up his geniality and hospitality. I show no hint of his intolerance of light and noise, suggesting that the lumens and decibels he meets are within his comfort zone, or, if not, that he is too considerate a host to wish to seem a burden. Meanwhile, I have done everything I can to make Madeline endearing, not threatening. Only the forces of evil fear her. This premise can make the close all the more horrific.
For better or worse, the deed is done. Directors and interpreters are entreated not to research the original, or biographies of Poe, for clues to motivation or personality. There are no clues outside these pages.
The director is free to leave out the attendant, and to suggest the ancestors by visual effects alone, without actual performers. On-stage musicians may be members of the orchestra or may be left out.
Gordon Getty

"... All of the singers (except Delan, who has no words to sing!) enunciate clearly,.. Vocally, this doesn’t sound like difficult material, but it is sung stylishly...  Lawrence Foster and the Orquestra Gulbenkian contribute strongly to the opera’s atmosphere ... Pentatone presents the performances in a realistic perspective, with ample detail and warmth."

Raymond S Tuttle - International Record Review - January 2014


 "... The performance, recorded in Lisbon, is quite good. German tenor Elsner sings excellent Englis and takes advantage of the few opportunities to let his voice ring out. Dupuis’s high baritone is a pleasure to hear, and his wods are always clear. En’s mellow bass is just right for the sinister doctor... Once assumes the consuctor is committed to his task, and Pentatone’s sound is excellent."

Ralph V Lucano - American Record Guide - November/December 2013

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