A pocket monodrama in 9 movements.
Food (2012) is a satire on midcentury cooking etiquette. Like Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire (1912), Food is a hybrid of art song, Baroque suite, theatrical monologue and chamber opera. And like Pierrot, soprano Helen Gabrielsen’s character is a housewife who is half human, half plastic. In a vain attempt to express the unspeakable through a vocabulary of television advertising and the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, she rages at the cranberries, gossips with the cake, takes valium with rhubarb and spirals in depression over the eggs. Eight Strings & A Whistle play her kitchen assistants – at times chopping, mixing and stirring, at others whipping up a ritornello or a lament, ever fearful of the next mood swing.
Food marks the continuation of a series of satirical pocket operas on the 1960s by composer Dag Gabrielsen that began with All Three Acts of a Sad Play Performed Entirely in Bed (2010). The work makes reference to Baroque chamber and solo instrumental works by composers such as Telemann and Bach as well as extended techniques and scoring typical of the 1960s by György Ligeti and Luciano Berio.
Score & Scenario by Dag Gabrielsen
Texts appropriated from Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons
Helen Gabrielsen, soprano
Suzanne Gilchrest, flutes
Ina Litera, viola
Matt Goeke, cello
Tenri Cultural Institute
New York, NY
November 16, 2012