And one more thing...

There might be some personal nonsense in here, too...


Libretto


When I say an opera librettist, what I really mean is a supremely gifted mind reader with endless patience, total flexibility, great literary skills, and no ego.

I'm in the market for a librettist who shares or can be convinced of the vision for Usher.  Until then, it falls to me to craft it.

This is the current working version.  Scenes are divided by horizontal lines.  Text likely to be cut is [yellow and set in brackets].  Feedback and suggestions are most welcome.

The last update was 10/12/2015.  The previous update was 04/01/2015.


Overture / Opening Credits

USHER
(voice-over, recitative)

My Dear Sir —

[In the first place] [ let me assure you that,] if I have not lately written, it is [rather] because I have been in precarious health, suffering a keen anxiety [and difficulties] of no ordinary kind.  I am [quite] at a loss to understand it, and have nearly succumbed to its influence and yielded to despair.

[But by the exertion of much resolution] I now most earnestly solicit your [prompt and generous] assistance.  The friendship you have always evinced, the near relationship which exists between us, warrant me in hoping that these words may induce you to visit [with] me a-while, that your cheerful society might bring respite.

You are my greatest and only stimulus now, to battle with this uncongenial malady.  [I have been dreaming [[every day and night]] of [[the rapture I should feel in]] having my [[only]] friend with me here, and] it would afford me the greatest pleasure to show you every attention in my power.

I beg you, Edgar, make no reply, but hasten here.  I remain —

Very Truly Your Friend,

~ Roderick Usher



Scene 1

EDGAR
(On horseback, alone on the road to the Usher estate.)

What drear country —
— Sullen and silent, empty, [and] enervating…
Such isolation can wound the soul.
First I shall prescribe a sojourn to Boston,
A month in amiable company to lighten the spirit,
Thence to the Cape, and a crisp wind from the Old World.

(He comes upon the gate, almost suddenly, and sees the house for the first time.
The horse continues slowly toward the house.)

Is this… Is this the melancholy house of Usher?
My blood is ice!  But why do I shudder?
It is a mere house, a simple landscape —
— A bleak, despairing place to be sure, yet...
There is a pall of gloom upon it,
A sensation beyond Reason’s reach.
Vacant windows [seem to] stare with [a] torpid contempt,
Clumps of rank sedges, white stems of withered trees…
Each feature unpleasant, but [taken] together invoke
An utter depression, a sickening of the heart.
Perhaps [it is [but]] a fell geometry [that] shapes these shadowy fancies.
A different arrangement of the [particulars of the] scene
Would [surely] annihilate its dreadful effect —

(The horse stops at the edge of the tarn.
Edgar's face pales upon seeing the reflection of the house.)





Scene 2



Scene 3



Scene 4



Scene 5