FRUITS OF THE EARTH
An oratorio in motion for choir and saxophone quartet. Music by Nic Gotham.
Premiere 2003, directed by Baņuta Rubess, produced by Latvijas koncerti at the Latvian National Opera New Hall.
Available on CD.
The libretto for Fruits of the Earth consists entirely of found texts.
Part One: Extase du Gout has texts and recipes by Jean Anthelme-Brillat Savarin, the great French philosopher of gastronomy, as well as excerpts from sixteenth and eighteenth century recipes in English, German and Latvian.
Synopsis: a cooking class in 1826. A dominating CHEF surrounded by cooking students from various countries - the SOUS-CHEFS - pontificates on the subject of food - for example you are what you eat. In the meantime, the sous-chefs crack eggs and bake their national favorite - Snow, Schaum and Buberts. The result is EXTASE DU GOUT.
Part Two: Leibfrucht consists of texts selected from eighteenth and nienteenth century treatises on midwifery and obstetrics, particularly from Dr.William Smellie's writings on midwifery in 1752, as well as from the writings of Hippocrates. Sung in English, Latin, Latvian, and German.
Synopsis: an obstetrics class conducted by Dr. William Smellie. He is surrounded by his INTERNS, as well as MIDWIVES and PREGNANT WOMEN. He lectures on his experiences in delivering babies, many of which are not successful. As he lectures, one of the mothers goes into labour. Though everyone fears a poor outcome, a healthy fruit of her womb is born - "as is described in Collection Twenty-Six, Number, Two, Case Three."