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War of the SexlessMonday, May 28, 2012 By John Norine Jr., Theater Jones
The Fort Worth Opera closes its festival season with Lysistrata, Mark Adamo's take on an ancient Greek comedy.
The concept of Deus ex machina (literally, "God out of the machine") is not a foreign concept in opera. Gilbert and Sullivan used the plot device often in their works—Frederic's servitude and the pirates' salvation in Pirates of Penzance is a commonly cited example. Wagner took the idea a step further in his Ring cycle, most notably in Die Walküre where Wotan (a literal god) puts his daughter into a magical sleep surrounded by fire so that she can stay protected until she is saved by the protagonist.
Regardless of the placement or obviousness of the device, one thing holds true: the hand of god as a twist of the plot is for the best. Unlike real life, the gods don't say no, which makes Mark Adamo's setting of Lysistrata that more compelling. Based on the play of the same name penned by Aristophanes in 411 BC, the composer turns the machina idea on its head; the gods say no.
As the final production of the 2012 festival season, the Fort Worth Opera presents Adamo's retelling of the women of ancient Greece and their bid to end the war between Athens and Sparta by withholding what men crave the most: sex.
-- John Norine Jr., Theater Jones
Read the full Lysistrata review by clicking here.