Potato Opera

Act I


Scene 1. Mountains. Composer Lolita Ritmane

The cloud covered Andes Mountains are the home of the ancient Mountain Potato people created by the Sun itself. It is an early morning. The Little Potato wakes up and wants to go with everyone to the annual Harvest Festival.  His mother, sisters and big brother are adorning themselves and painting their faces. The Little Potato likes the blue streak on Mama's cheek the best – it is as blue as the sky. Yet he has to stay home, for the mountain paths are dangerous and the Festival takes place far away. The Little Potato, however, believes that he is strong enough.  He hides in the basket that his brother puts on his shoulder. The family descends on a mountain path that is as narrow as a potato bed.  At a particularly dangerous moment, the Little Potato quickly jumps out of the basket, helping his brother to keep his balance and not fall into the abyss. The Potatoes are approaching the valley from which the drums of the sorcerer Condor are heard.

 

Scene 2. Harvest Festival. Composer Evija Skuķe

The potato family has arrived just in time: Condor has already begun the solemn Harvest ritual that depicts the symbols of the world: Uku Pacha, the underground snake; Kay Pacha, the above-ground puma; and Hanan Pacha, the condor of the sky. The sorcerer ascends above the clouds to talk to the Sun, and the potatoes await his prophecy. The message is frightening: danger and faraway travel are in their future.  Yet the potatoes are destined to feed the entire world. The Little Potato announces that he has no fear and Condor gives him an amulet, a little knife, with the prediction that he will have a special mission to carry out. Condor fails to say what it is, for he is interrupted by an attack by Spanish invaders.  The Mountain Potatoes flee. The Spaniards capture the Potato family and take it with them.

 

Scene 3. On the ship. Composer Evija Skuķe 

Sailors are supposed to take the potatoes to Europe. They are locked into the cargo hold of the ship, but the Little Potato cuts the ropes with his knife. For the first time in their lives, the Potatoes see the wide blue sea. They are addressed by the Spanish monk Hieronymus, chronicler and gardener, who is serving in the Order of Saint Hieronymus: “Wherever you should find a new home, there will always be land and it will be fertile!”  The captain of the ship Castellanos is wondering about the strange travelers; the monk asks the Potatoes about their life in the mountains and records their story in the chronicle.

 

Scene 4. Storm. Composer Evija Skuķe

At night, the ship's rats sneak up to the potatoes. The Little Potato wielding his little knife and his big brother defend themselves courageously, Hieronymus also comes to their aid. The rats flee, for a storm has begun and the ship runs aground on the cliffs along the shoreline. The sailors row ashore, yet the potatoes have to get in the water even though they are from the mountains and cannot swim. Hieronymus faces a dilemma – what should he rescue?! Initially he attempts to save his treasure, the big book that contains the chronicle, but then he decides to save the lives of the Potatoes. Dragging the basket with potatoes ashore, he manages to reach the shores of Europe.  

 

Scene 5. Monastery garden. Composer Rihards Dubra

While the others are resting, the Little Potato talks to monk Hieronymus and tells him about his mysterious life task mentioned to him by Condor. To find it, he has to immediately be on his way into the wide world! The Little Potato does not quite believe the words of Hieronymus that it is always easier to get to know the world than it is to know oneself. Finally, he too falls asleep.

 

Scene 6. Market place. Composer Rihards Dubra

Along with monk Hieronymus, the Potatoes arrive in the city square where farmers are trading with city folk.  The strange newcomers startle the people and make them afraid.  The Little Potato successfully sells the reed that he has made with his knife. In the middle of the square, where the merry-go-round is turning, the monk introduces the Potato family to four prominent gentlemen: the Mayor, the learned botanists Clausius and Bochem, and apothecary Parmantier. The learned men come out with their scholarly ideas of what to call the potatoes and of what use they could be. An even more powerful threesome arrives: the King, the Cardinal, and the Pope. The traders accuse the strangers of evil intentions. Yet the King invites the Potato family to his palace. The Pope and the Cardinal tell Hieronymus to return to the monastery, and the friends have to separate.

 

Scene 7. King's palace. Composer Rihards Dubra

A ball at King's court. Potato's sisters dance with the King and the ladies of the court stick potato flowers into their hair – they are kindly distributed by the big brother. The unusual flowers are the latest fashion!  The Little Potato is bored and is picking at the fancy gilded chair with his knife. The Old Lady of the Court notices it and is horrified by the bad behavior of the "little savage". The Little Potato runs away from her, hides and watches Mama Potato dance with Duke Jacob of Courland who invites her to come to Courland. The Little Potato challenges the Duke to a duel and is ready to match his tiny knife to the large sword – he is not letting his Mama go anywhere! Jacob is impressed by the great courage of the Little Potato. The entire Potato family can go to Courland! Yet the sisters and big brother have made different decisions: the sisters have received marriage proposals from the King's guests from Germany and Holland, but the big brother will remain in France together with the lady who looks so good adorned with potato flowers. The Little Potato is surprised that making a choice means separating again; the family members say good-bye to one another.  

 

Scene 8. Winter in a farmstead in Courland. ComposerLīga Celma-Kursiete

Mama Potato and the Little Potato have arrived in Courland. They are received by the Latvian Farmer and his Wife; the entire household runs over to look, but they all are very cautious in their dealings with the strangers. Farmer's Wife, however, welcomes the travelers to their house. Winter is harsh in Courland, but Mountain Potatoes are used to hardship in their homeland. When spring comes, they will be able to lay down roots here.  

 

 

Act II

 

Scene 9. Spring in the farmstead. Composer Līga Celma-Kursiete

The old Farmers are teaching a game to the children. Lacking a partner, the Little Potato steps aside and begins talking to the oddball and dreamer of the household who has earned the nickname Wool Gatherer. Wool Gatherer tells him that here too people know underground, above-ground and heavenly powers – only their names are different. Mama Potato teaches the farmstead girls a strange, incantation-like song about longing for the beautiful Potato with the big eyes. The fields are ready to be planted and members of the household go to plant potatoes.  

 

Scene 10. Potato field in summertime. Composer Mārtiņš Brauns

A choir of earthworms is heard in the underground. Light and noise from aboveground break into the underground through the passage dug by the Mole. The Little Potato keeps questioning the reticent Mole, wanting to know what is happening above the ground. The Mole says that war has started. The Little Potato tries to squeeze his way up, for he wants to see everything with his own eyes. In the narrow passage, he loses the knife given to him by Condor. Above, the farm people are fighting bugs and wild hogs who threaten the potatoes. A thunderstorm is approaching, and, as there is a peal of thunder, the bugs and hogs run away. The Little Potato returns to the underground where Mama Potato is nursing the baby potatoes. Digging his holes, the Mole has found a pot of gold. He gives every potato child a shiny coin for good luck. As he puts the coin in his pocket, the Little Potato discovers that his knife is missing… Feeling very sad, he goes to Mama Potato who is putting the children to sleep by singing a lullaby. It is sad – soon they will have to part with Mama as well. But she is offering some comfort – the family will continue, a whole bunch of new potatoes will grow from one old one. The Little Potato has a dream. Perhaps many knives can come from one? In the dream, he backtracks in order to find the knife, but enters an unfamiliar world.

 

Scene 11. Autumn on the potato field. Composer Andris Sējāns

The potato harvest has just ended and an impressive calling-and-answering by the Potato family is heard. The harvesters walk through the field for one last time accompanied by the Historian. He finds an ancient pot of money in the ploughed field.  The Historian praises the importance of potatoes for science: since potatoes are grown and harvested in Latvia, historical evidence is found in every field.  The harvesters also find the knife of the Little Potato and turn it over to the Historian who is amazed by the strange ornaments.  It will be a new historical discovery! The Little Potato sits by the bonfire sadly and is painting his face ash gray. Yet the knife has been found! The Little Potato regains courage and determination. The harvesters compete in potato peeling and the Little Potato is the most successful, he is the hero of the day. No one remembers that a short while ago potatoes were strangers who were treated with great suspicion, but now they are fully accepted as kin! The Little Potato asks the Wool Gatherer if it is his task to feed the world. The Wool Gatherer reminds him of the blue line of his Mama – the yarn of the dream.

 

Scene 12. Potato factory. Composer Andris Sējāns

In the yard of a factory the sound of operating machinery and conveyor-belt is heard. Two lovers are conversing – secretary, Mis Starch and director, Mr Compote. The Little Potato arrives along with Wool Gatherer to see where the hundreds of potatoes that are to feed the world are going. Mis Starch makes fun of the sandy country boy who has arrived in the city but the director has a feeling that the Little Potato has much energy and asks if he too would like to become a factory director. Yet the Little Potato understands that it is not really his calling. He also does not want to become a rapper or street acrobat, even though he is not less agile than his cousins, the Chips who invite him to join them. Ever more potatoes arrive in the factory and the heap of sacks keeps growing bigger. The Little Potato understands: he will have to choose his own path and go it alone. He starts climbing the potato mountain that reaches to the clouds.

 

Scene 13. Cloud mountain. Composer Lolita Ritmane 

High above in the sunlit field of the heavens the Little Potato is greeted by the old sorcerer Condor. The knife of courage has helped the Little Potato to overcome hardship in his long travels, to withstand being separated from his family, to grow big and find his way. His task is to plant dreams in the blue fields of the heavens and to grow the unknown that the entire world longs for: “The dream is never a stranger in the world…”


Tulkoja Ieva Lešinska - Greibere

Veidots ar Mozello - labo mājas lapu ģeneratoru.

do not click here