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Scare Pair: Usher House & The Canterville Ghost

By Gordon Getty


Ready for a spooky night out? The Broad Stage transforms into two different haunted houses in a double bill of operas by Gordon Getty. Writer Edgar Allan Poe takes the stage himself as the main character of Usher House, an unsettling chiller that has all the classic elements of Gothic horror: a high-strung recluse, a beautiful madwoman and a sinister doctor, all hidden away in a crumbling manor house full of secrets. The Canterville Ghost puts a deft comic spin on Oscar Wilde's witty tale, in which the 300-year-old ghost of an English nobleman fails to impress his newest audience, a family of Americans who simply refuse to be frightened. 


  • Friday June 22, 2018 07:30 PM
  • Sunday June 24, 2018 02:00 PM

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Performances take place at The Broad Stage (1310 11th Street, Santa Monica CA 90401)

Running time: approximately two hours and 20 minutes


Creative Team


Usher House
Derived from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher,” the opera has Poe taking the stage himself as the narrator and main character. The macabre tale follows the reclusive Roderick Usher, who lives with his ailing twin sister Madeline and the sinister Doctor Primus, in their vast ancestral home that is alive with the ghosts of the past. When Roderick’s old friend Poe visits, they become inescapably drawn into an otherworldly sequence of events, including Madeline’s apparent death and burial in a vault beneath the house.  The climax of the story occurs when Madeline’s figure appears at the bedroom door during a storm—she had been buried alive and has clawed her way out of the vault to find her brother. As Poe flees the scene, he turns back to see the House of Usher splitting in two, collapsing around the siblings.

The Canterville Ghost
The opera is based on Oscar Wilde’s story of the same name. Sir Simon de Canterville, a centuries-old spirit, tries desperately to scare the current residents of Canterville Chase. But his new "audience," a family of rich Americans, doesn't take his ghostly presence seriously. He is admonished by the adults and tormented by the family's rambunctious two sons. Poor Sir Simon feels like a once-great actor, whose art no longer makes an impression.. Only the young daughter, Virginia, feels sympathy for the Canterville ghost. She helps the spirit find his eternal rest in the end.

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