Claude Debussy rocked the opera world with his poetic enigmatic ”Success and Immensely” which premiered in 1902. Unfortunately, he failed to ever write an opera after it, but had several projects worked on in many years. There he came the farthest with was ”La chûte de maison Usher”, a operaversion of Edgar Allan Poe's gothic romantic novel ”the House of Usher the downfall”.
In this story, there were the same obscure symbolism Debussy beloved of their samtidförfattare and artists. The house of Usher was a mysterious animated place, just like the castle in ”Success and Immensely” or castle in Béla Principles ”Knight Blåskäggs borg”, one of the first operamästerverk which was inspired by Debussy's contemporary classics.
to complete the ”La chûte de maison Usher” through the years. The belgian composer Annelies Van Parys has now written an opera that is both Debussy's and her own – she has started from his foundation but not tried to copy his style when she has composed new music. The result is a chamber opera which is one of the most ambitious and exciting productions such as Folkoperan has set up in recent years.
It is not a straightforward story to do an opera, because the strength of Poe's novell is not in the story and dialogue, but in the evocative descriptions and the creeping unpleasant mood. The main characters are the neurotiske dysterkvisten Roderick Usher, his sick sister, Madeline, and Rodericks namnlöse friend come and stay with them for a few weeks and witnessing the siblings ' death and – because they were the last in her family – the end for the entire family Usher. The friend don't have time to leave the family slottliknande house before it collapses.
to create a little more drama chose Debussy to strengthen familjeläkarens role, and even make the Madeline a tad more active. In Folkoperans ”Usher”, it appears that the doctor utilizes Madeline sexually and then engineers her death – he is simply a manipulative villain, which makes the story less mysterious and special, and Roderick Usher's behavior less bizarre and interesting. At the same time have the incestuous love that only hung like an invisible question mark in the air in Poe's novell here smällts up to an undoubted fact.
design, not least in the congenial portrayal of the nasty ravens that fly in the flock, and nice and unfashionable enough to have Van Parys searched against arias, clear solo for the audience to rest in (let be that the melodies are anything but restful). Alexandra Büchel sings and acts fantastic in the role of Madeline, while Ola Eliasson has problems with Roderick – he sings great but exudes far too much strength and firmness of character. Olle Persson, who plays the friend sings nice, but has a hopelessly passive role, and Rickard Söderberg has an even trickier role as the karikatyrliknande the doctor, even if he convinces the vocal. But his song about fear as a tool for the ”perfect policy”, a boot to the present, it feels grossly out of place.
The biggest problem, however, is regin and stage design. Poe's classic gothic building, where the stones and the dark wood almost seem to possess a terrifying magic, has been moved to a bright, fresh and modern villa. Thus do you kill what is left of the original atmosphere. The contemplation of the contrast between the story and the visuals do the ”Usher” eerie, in a new way, but not in a fascinating, nightmarish way, rather as a dream that the brain only bothered to construct half of it.