Many of us wage a constant battle against ants and other insects. But what if ants and humans were the same size? Lisa Codrington's libretto tells a humorous story of such an encounter, with colonial overtones...
Libretto by Lisa Codrington
Music by Kevin Morse
Queen of the Amazon Ants (mezzo soprano)
Herbert J. Hanson, Ant Exterminator (tenor)
Inside the ant colony, the queen interrogates the subject on the recent extermination of all the ants in the colony except themselves. After a meditation on the superiority and hardiness of Amazon ants, Herbert pushes a large piece of chocolate cake onto the stage, which the subject hungrily approaches. The queen realizes the ploy, and the two ants put on their gas masks and run for cover as Herbert sprays the immediate area with smoke. Herbert, laughing, exits as the two ants re-emerge and the queen orders the subject to bring Herbert to her so she can mate with him. Herbert re-enters, and after a short aria, is surprised by the subject, who subdues him after a heated battle. She then drags him off to the colony.
When Herbert regains consciousness, he finds himself tied to a chair. The queen introduces herself and after accusing him of exterminating nearly the entire colony, expresses her wish to mate with him. After a heated duet, Herbert turns to the subject and informs her that she not only has been stolen from a neighboring ant colony before she hatched, but that she is actually a carpenter ant, not an Amazon. After more heated argument, the queen informs Herbert that it is time to mate. Herbert buys some time by suggesting a mating dance, to which the queen reluctantly agrees. Herbert dances first, after which the queen takes her turn and then reclines upon the ground. Herbert siezes the opportunity and pins her down with his foot. The queen begs the subject to help her, but the subject refuses to come to her aid. Herbert then sprays the queen with an aerosol spray, and she falls to the ground. Herbert offers a truce with the subject, which she accepts, but before she can touch his outstretched hand, Herbert sprays the subject with a fatal dose of bugspray. Herbert triumphantly leaves the stage. The queen regains consciousness, sings of her determination to continue the fight against human domination, and leaves the stage in pursuit of Herbert.
You can read more about Lisa Codrington at Africlassical. Opera To Go 2008 is a presentation of Tapestry Opera Works and runs through February 23rd at the EnWave Theatre in Toronto as part of the Harbourfront Centre's World Stage 08.