Bergen International Festival launches 2009 programme

One of Norway’s most important cultural events, the Bergen International Festival, launched its diverse and exciting 2009 programme this week.

Knut Wiggen/Foto: Carol van Nuys

Bergen International Festival will present a brand new musical theatre production by Bent Sørensen and a new production of Henrik Ibsen’s The Wild Duck staged by two of Norway’s most acclaimed young directors. Fosse 50 is a celebration of playwright Jon Fosse, 15 years after his debut as a dramatist at the city theatre. This year’s festival will also bring together several of the world’s leading baritones: Bryn Terfel, Matthias Goerne, Peter Mattei and Dietrich Henschel.

A world premiere: The Danish composer Bent Sørensen’s Sounds Like You is a play for choir, orchestra, audience and two actors. The Danish author Peter Asmussen has written the text and Danish Katrine Wiedemann will direct. Bent Sørensen is recognised for his use of a tonal language that creates melancholic and misty dream landscapes.

Two of the Festival’s other new productions, The Wild Duck and Elephant Stories are being staged by two of Norway’s leading young directors, Vegard Vinge/Ida Müller and Tore Vagn Lid, respectively.

Tore Vagn Lid’s previous production at Bergen International Festival, Brecht and Eisler’s Die Massnahme (The Measures Taken), was invited to the Salzburg Festival in 2008, where it received rave reviews. Vegard Vinge and Ida Müller are well known for their uncompromising approach to theatre and for their distinctive language, which mixes elements from opera, splatter film, art theory and puppet theatre.

Jon Fosse 50

Bergen International Festival has had a long and close collaboration with Jon Fosse, and his 50th birthday in 2009 will be marked by a new production of his debut as a dramatist, Og aldriskal vi skiljast (And We'll Never Be Parted ) , and by MatthiasHartmann’s acclaimed production of Dødsvariasjonar (Death Variations). Hartmann will also be among the participants when recognised authors and directors from all over Europe come together to discuss Fosse’s plays. There will also be a number of other Fosse-related events.

From Wigmore Hall to Bergen

The year 2009 sees the start of a comprehensive collaboration between Bergen International Festival and the RazumovskyAcademy in London. Normally, master classes for hand-picked young musicians are held in Wigmore Hall in London. In May they will be transposed to Bergen, and Leif Ove Andsnes will be among those holding a master class. Oleg Kogan, Henning Kraggerud, Lars Anders Tomter and Alexander Sitkovetsky, all teachers at the Academy, make up the Razymovsky ensemble, which will be giving concerts together with some of the young musicians.

Electronica pioneer Knut Wiggen

Bergen International Festival will celebrate the Norwegian computer pioneer, entrepreneur and composer Knut Wiggen (1927). In the early 1960s, he was the driving force behind the building of the world’s first digitally controlled studio, ems, Elektronmusikstudion in Stockholm, which represented a sensational breakthrough in the development of the digital processing of sound. All of Wiggen’s electronic-acoustic compositions will be performed during the 2009 Festival as interludes and prologues in the concert series in the Grieg Hall.

Bergen International Festival 2009 will be a meeting place for some of the world’s foremost baritones: Bryn Terfel, Matthias Goerne, Peter Mattei and Dietrich Henschel. Swedish soprano Anne Sofievon Otter, Norwegian Sissel Kyrkjebø and the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir are also on the programme, together with Leif Ove Andsnes, Julian Rachlin and Mischa Maisky, among others.

Bob Wilson’s Threepenny Opera

Bob Wilson’s legendary production of Brecht and Weill’s Threepenny Opera is visiting this year’s Festival in Bergen together with the Berliner Ensemble. Wilson ’s tight visual direction and the Berliner Ensemble’s unparalleled acting skills produced such tension and aesthetic delight that critics were moved to call it ‘a miracle!’

Bergen International Festival has entered into a musical collaboration with the Hindu temple in Bergen, which will present music and dance from Southern India in connection with their annual Ganesh celebrations. This year, the public will have a chance to see the dancer Alarmel Valli, one of India’s foremost representatives of the Southern Indian dance tradition called Bharatanatyam.

This year’s Festival Artist is the Norwegian painter Leonard Rickard.

The Norwegian dance company Carte Blanche will present three different productions in three different venues during this year’s Festival, including the world premiere of a piece by the Norwegian choreographer Eva Cecilie Rickardsen. Jo Strømgren Kompani will present The European Lesson, and the Tero Saarinen Company will visit Bergen International Festival with Stravinsky Evening.

More info here.

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