An oratorio on the biblical parable of the foolish and the wise virgins, for five singers, violin, double bass, guitar and accordion. It is inspired by an 11th-century liturgical drama and reuses the original medieval text in Latin and Occitan, as well as new Occitan text by poet Alem Surre-García and new French text by Sasha Zamler-Carhart. The piece was commissioned by the Déodat de Séverac festival to promote artistic creation in Occitan. It was premiered in Toulouse (France) on November 27, 2012, with a scenography by Nico de Rooij.
The medieval dramatic interpretation of the Gospel story features two groups of young women expecting Jesus, their bridegroom (sponsus in Latin), who is late for the wedding feast. The wise ones have kept enough oil to keep their light burning through the night but the foolish ones have run out. They first beg the wise ones for oil, then try to purchase it from merchants, both times in vain. When Jesus finally arrives he refuses to receive them and they are sent off to hell.
The modern oratorio Sponsus tells the story in 44 vignettes with a mix of singing, poetry and speech, with no strict correspondence between singers and characters. The inspiration for the material is drawn from a variety of sources, including Cuban music, Bertolt Brecht pieces, Buxtehude cantatas, folk singing from the Mediterranean area, the Caucasus and Madagascar, but makes no reference either to 11th-century music or to Occitan traditions.