When a man visits his ill childhood friend Roderick Usher after many years apart, he is shaken to his core by the foreboding atmosphere and sense of evil that pervades the household and its inhabitants. His attempts to understand and address the literal and figurative "illness" that permeates Usher's house fail at every turn, and he is unable to deter Usher, his sister Madeline, and the house itself from their swift descent into the abyss. The hauntingly beautiful and strange music of Philip Glass perfectly captures every nuance and inner nerve of this powerful story by Edgar Allan Poe.
The Fall of the House of Usher: Conductor
Michelle Rofrano is a Sicilian-American conductor with a strong interest in the intersection of art and social activism. Driven by a passion for storytelling, her recent operatic work includes leading productions of THE QUEEN OF SPADES AND TROUBLE IN TAHITI with The Glimmerglass Festival, the New York premiere of Pauline Viardot’s CENDRILLON with City Lyric Opera, DON QUICHOTTE AT COMACHO’S WEDDING with Opera Saratoga, LE NOZZE DI FIGARO with the Crane School of Music, TROUBLE IN TAHITI, AVOW, and A FLOURISH OF GREEN with Westminster Choir College, and COSÌ FAN TUTTE and THE TURN OF THE SCREW with DC Public Opera. She has previously served as assistant conductor with Florida Grand Opera, Spoleto Festival USA, Opera Birmingham, and The Glimmerglass Festival, including the world premiere of Jeanine Tesori and Tazewell Thompson’s BLUE. Upcoming engagements include serving as cover conductor for productions with San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Juilliard Opera.
An alumna of the Peabody Conservatory’s Orchestral Conducting program, Rofrano enjoys performing orchestral repertoire in addition to opera and has led concerts with Spoleto Festival USA, the CJMEA youth orchestra, and The Little Orchestra Society. Her recordings from Spoleto Festival’s Classical Showcase concert in 2019 with the SFUSA orchestra have been featured on classical music radio program Performance Today, reaching a national audience.
In response to the US federal immigration ban of 2017, Rofrano organized and led #NoBan: an orchestral protest concert with an aptly-named ad-hoc ensemble, PROTESTRA, to raise donations for refugee aid organizations. In 2020, PROTESTRA incorporated as a non-profit with the mission of raising awareness about social justice issues through classical music. The group has recently performed concerts advocating for climate justice and racial and gender equality. In addition to her work as the Founder and Artistic Director of PROTESTRA, Michelle is a co-creator of Girls Who Conduct, an educational initiative that provides conducting mentorship for young women and non-binary musicians in an effort to promote gender parity on the conducting podium.