Opera Scotland

Coffee Cantata Kaffee Kantate, BWV211; Coffee and Cupid

Music

Johann Sebastian Bach (born Eisenach 1685; died Leipzig 1750)

Text

'Picander' (C F Henrici 1700-1764)

Source

Original

 

Premières

First Performance: Leipzig 1734.

First Performance in UK: To be confirmed.

First Performance in Scotland: Glasgow (Theatre Royal), 6 October 1925

Scottish Opera première: N/A.

 

Background

The Coffee Cantata is a delightful piece by a composer not usually associated with frivolous subjects. It is a satire on the craze for the drinking of coffee that swept the German states in the early eighteenth century. It is even likely that it may have been performed in one of the coffee houses. It may be stretching the definition to describe it as an opera, but there were a number of similar pieces by other composers - short musical entertainments and dramatic interludes, obvious contemporary examples being Telemann with Pimpinone and Pergolesi with La serva padrona. However there were several earlier composers such as Monteverdi and Charpentier who also produced works of this kind. Later in the eighteenth century we see similar examples in Britain, from Boyce, Dibdin and others.

 

Characters

Historicus, the Narrator (tenor)

Herr Schlendrian (baritone)

Lieschen, his daughter (soprano)

 

Plot Summary

Herr Schlendrian is fed up with his daughter, for the only thing that seems to interest her is coffee. His own preference is for wine. He even threatens to deprive her of new clothes and jewellery, but this still has no effect. At last he tells her that she will not be allowed to marry unless she gives up drinking the stuff. She now agrees, and Schlendrian goes out to begin negotiations. Lieschen, left alone, makes it clear that any husband of hers will have to allow her complete freedom in one area at least.

The Cast

Herr Schlendrian
 
Historicus
 Narrator
Lieschen
 Schlendrian's daughter

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