Arguably the most important cultural festival on Norwegian soil, The Bergen International Festival has been called the Salzburg of Scandinavia, comparing it to the legendary Austrian event. Now the program for next summer’s festival has been announced, not lacking in special treats and exciting productions.
The program revolves around three new important productions; in opera, ballet and theatre:
Firstly the opera production L’amour de Loin, written by Kaija Saariahos, will open the festival. It is a musical collaboration between Den Nye Opera (the new opera) and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.
And then there is Ambra, an all-night dance performance comprising the two ensembles Carte Blanche, of Bergen, and Iceland Dance Company from Reykjavik. The performance is accompanied by Icelandic music, and aims at depicting current Nordic dance.
Last of the three new productions is Ibsen’s Brand. It comes to pass as a special collaboration between the Norwegian National Theatre in Oslo, and the Bergen International Festival. Cherished Norwegian actor Sven Nordin will play the leading part as Brand.
The other main feature of the program of the International Festival is, as always, the Artist in Residence. This year the committee has opted for the relatively little known Norwegian violinist Bjarte Eike. The program presents him thus:
The Bergen international festival is proud to present Bjarte Eike as Musician in Residence 2008. Interest in early music is in the ascendant throughout the Nordic countries, and as one of a small number of Norwegian string players that focus solely on period performance Bjarte Eike has won international acclaim as a Baroque violinist. He has enjoyed success as the leader of the Baroque Soloists, as a member of the ensemble Baroque Fever and as a solo performer. A Venetian spirit permeates the Musician in Residence’s concerts, which cover a time span from early to late Baroque. They provide an insight into the development of Venice as the great musical centre in Europe for 150 years, ranging from Gabrieli (1554/57–1612) and Monteverdi (1567–1643) via Biber (1644–1704) to Vivaldi in the 18th century. The concerts also follow the development of the violin as an instrument, from its early beginnings in the 16th century, when it was considered a vulgar instrument best suited to dance music, to composers such as Castello, Marini, Uccellini and Fontana, who introduced the violin as a virtuoso instrument at the courts of Europe. Bjarte Eike is joined in all concerts by outstanding performers of early music. Barte Eike is, with the exception of Siwan, responsible for the idea and adaptation of all his concerts at the festival.
In addition to numerous new and exiting performers and events, there will also be a significant presence of established stars during next year’s festival; established names that have appeared at the festival many times before and artists that have made their way to the very top of the international scene of classical and contemporary music. Suffice it to mention names like Leif Ove Andsnes, Arve Tellefsen and Solveig Kringlebotn.