Music by Peter Rose. Lyrics and Narration by Anne Conlon
In Arabica Rose and Conlon bring us another powerful message that demands urgent attention.
Rose and Conlon's latest work looks at the international coffee market to show how developing countries are simply pawns in the money games played by the major industrial powers. Although we are encouraged to be more conscientious consumers, we still buy basic commodities at the supermarket with barely a thought to how they got there. The attractive, shiny coffee packets we choose disguise the fact that the people growing and picking this coffee are paid virtually nothing, that their countries are bankrupt and are at the mercy of the World Bank or the IMF. and yet how can it be that just about everyone else - coffee merchants, companies, speculators - profit from the enterprise?
ARABICA tells the intriguing story of the history, production and trading of coffee. The main character is Arabica, the 'queen of coffee beans'. As the story unfolds, the audience is introduced to a variety of characters from Khaldi, the aged Ethiopian goatherd whose goats, according to legend, first discovered the magic of coffee, to Lucia, the questioning young girl who helps her mother at harvest time on the coffee plantation.
There is also the suave, successful exporter and his sophisticated wife; a pensive production line worker; profit-conscious roasters and ruthless bankers.
It is only as the musical progresses that Arabica discovers she is much more deeply involved in the problems of the modern world than she ever realised.
Cast: Narrator, soloists, chorus
3 flutes (1st db. piccolo), oboe, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, bassoon, 2 alto saxes, 2 tenor saxes, baritone saxophone, 3 trumpets, horn, 2 trombones, E flat bass, percussion, harpsichord, piano, acoustic guitar, cello, bass guitar
Printed editions: Vocal Score, Word Book, Chorus Book
Recording: Compact Disc: cassette