Myth and Mayhem

The two shows that make up Goat Hall Productions’ latest double-bill of one-act, mixed-media operas don’t appear to have much in common besides a shared interest in ancient Greek myth and a highly developed sense of the esoteric. Described by the company as “a three-ring-circus bar-room opera,” The Playboy of the Western World must be one of the freest adaptations of Irish dramatist John Millington Synge’s famous 1907 play ever attempted. Puccini’s Turandot, Irish jigs, burlesque, Stravinsky, rock ´n’ roll, ragtime, the Oedipus myth, and Monty Python are just some of the cultural influences behind composer Mark Alburger’s opera about a group of Americans who spend most of their lives propping up the local bar. Steven Clark’s Dionysus, meanwhile, depends more explicitly on ancient Greek source material. An adaptation of EuripidesThe Bacchae, this opera centers on the radical cult surrounding the legendary god of wine. Dionysus may be the opera world’s answer to extreme sports: Incorporating electronic and live music as well as animations by Garth Kauffman, the story carries the audience from demonic possession through hallucinogenic visions until finally culminating in a violent, orgiastic bacchanal.
Thu., Aug. 23, 8 p.m.; Fri., Aug. 24, 8 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 25, 8 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 26, 7 p.m.

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