EL BACALAO – New and unique premiere


Klippfish: The art of drying salted cod on rocks by the sea. The Basques discovered it, the English developed it, and the entrepreneurs of the Norwegian coastal city of Kristiansund perfected it.

And therein lies a tale. Or three. But what tale? That question was also present in my mind when Nordmøre Museum contacted me to order a new performance based on klippfish, Kristiansund and bacalao, the Iberian salt cod-dish that entered Norway through said city.

In Kristiansund they are celebrating a salt cod festival every year. Number 18 this year, and on the 17th of June, on the Day of Bacalao, when natives of all ages compete to create the most succulent dish of Bacalao de Kristiansund, they wanted a particular apértif before crowning the winner and gorging themselves on tomato-flavoured fish. A dish for the soul.

What I ended up serving them was a magical short tale about a Basque sailor and a Kristiansundian fish labouress (taking some lingual liberties here) – a romantic tragedy backboned by this Basque expression:

“Illargui amandrea, zeruan ze iberra?”

“Dear moon, beautiful mother, what news do you bring us tonight?”

The museum staff were highly appreciative of my work – here are some quotes (freely translated from Norwegian) from the listeners:

“Not a dry eye amongst us”
“This was a strong image of the dream that the salt cod workers carried with them”

If you wish to know more about the performance you can click the link below.

El Bacalao (2012)

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