coffee cantata (true) story

Today, I’ve been digging through heaps of old programmes and newspaper clippings and I feel a little stories-from-my-life-ish. Here is one:

Bach’s coffee cantata is perfect stuff for a mini opera. During the summer season of 1993, we performed this piece on stage together with an intermezzo by Giuseppe Orlandini in the beautiful riddarsalen (today called kungssalen; possibly the knight became king between 1993 and now) of Läckö Castle upon Lake Vänern in Sweden. After the cantata, there was an intermission where the public was able to get a cup of real coffee. The intermission was announced by an actor in a classical jester’s costume, carrying an oversize coffee cup filled with dry ice that emitted some suggestive steam.

We had been playing this programme about ten times, when one day the jester-actor entered on cue, but instead of the steam, his cup was slowly and steadily overflowing with an enormous mass of pale brown and glistening five-inch-large bubbles. Sections of the slimy trail soon splashed down on the floor behind him. The orchestra, strategically placed on stage in view of the audience, collectively collapsed in laughter, while the actor turned around and lost his speech in disbelief. The whole performance made an impression of a well rehearsed and impeccably performed comedy sketch.

Afterwards we learned that he had tried to add verisimilitude to his steam by pouring some coffee from his thermos on top of the content of his cup – for the smell, as he said. Without even looking, he had then entered the hall. Only because we were laughing he turned and saw the mess for the first time.

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