The Coffee Cantata

Augustana Performing & Visual Arts will present the Coffee Cantata on Tuesday, Nov. 10.

Event Details

Date: November 10, 2015

Times: 7:30 p.m.

Location: Kresge Recital Hall, Humanities Building

Ticket Info: All tickets are $5

Reserve tickets.

Augustana Performing and Visual Arts will present "The Coffee Cantata," an opera theatre event featuring works by Johann Sebastian Bach, at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 10, in Kresge Recital Hall.

All tickets are $5 for the event and can be purchased online at or by calling the Augustana Box Office at 605.274.5320. 

About the Production

The townsfolk of Leipzig in the early 1700's were overcome by a powerful and exotic addiction to a substance recently introduced from the New World. While much of the population were smitten, many others viewed is with suspicion and thought it dangerous to their health. The new fad? Coffee! But what an unlikely inspiration for a Cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach!

Bach was a career musician. Almost everything he wrote was for a practical purpose. Employed by the church, his main job was to write a sacred Cantata for the Lutheran service every Sunday. He wrote hundreds of them, at least five complete annual cycles, of which more than 200 survive.

"The Coffee Cantata" is lighthearted and as close as Bach comes to comic opera, in which he pokes fun at both coffee drinkers and their old-fashioned critics.

The story concerns the father Herr Schlendrian (“Mr Routine”) portrayed by a plodding lead-footed melody, and his daughter Lieschen, the coffee-lover.

In an effort to rid his daughter of the evil drink, he progressively forbids her her luxuries. Lieschen refuses to give it up, saying that coffee is “more delicious than a thousand kisses, and sweeter than muscatel wine."  It is only when Schlendrian refuses to allow her to marry that she relents. But even then, as the father goes off to find a husband, Lieschen reveals that she will make it a part of the marriage contract that she be allowed her three cups a day.

This charming cantata has friendly melodies that cleverly reflect the characters' personalities. Bach lets his hair down and produces a lot of fun. Bringing the fun to life on the Kresge Recital Hall stage will be Dr. Lisa Grevlos, Dr. Russell Svenningsen and Dr. Monty Barnard, all choral music faculty at Augustana.  Dr. Shu Li (piano), Dr. Eunho Kim (violin) and Dr. Kaaren Melik-Stepanov (cello) will accompany the Cantata. The cast will be joined on stage by students Sara Frederes ‘17 and Adam Anderson ’18 who will perform a selection from Mozart’s “Cosi fan tutte.”