This week saw the Bergen International Festival’s 2007 programme being launched. Renowned Norwegian vocal ensemble Trio Mediaeval are designated as next year’s official Festival Musicians.
The Festival programme was launched at a press conference in Johanneskirken (St John’s Church) in Bergen, Norway on Tuesday 28 November. Festival Director Mr Per Boye Hansen presented the 2007 Festival Musician – in this case Musicians – Trio Mediaeval, who performed three songs during the presentation.
Consisting of three sopranos – Anna Maria Friman, Linn Andrea Fuglseth and Torunn Østrem Ossum, the Norwegian-Swedish trio has since its inception ten years ago experienced enormous success, especially in the USA. Their concerts have received critical acclaim and their recordings have topped the charts. The trio’s repertoire has three distinct branches: polyphonic mediaeval music from England and France, contemporary music and Norwegian mediaeval ballads and popular songs.
During the Bergen International Festival, Trio Mediaeval will give a wide range of performances including Mediaeval Meets Jazz with the Tord Gustavsen Trio, a vocal concert with the Hilliard Ensemble and a concert in St John’s Church with the Danish video artist Signe Klejs.
While the 2006 Bergen International Festival programme had a Finnish focus, the 2007 programme focuses on Denmark. The opening concert includes the world premiere of a work by Bent Sørensen performed by the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. Moreover, the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra has been invited to Bergen to perform works by Bent Sørensen, Carl Nielsen and others in two concerts with Martin Fröst (clarinet) and Leiodas Kavakos (violin) as soloists. The Danish chamber orchestra Athelas will present a portrait of the Festival Composer, Bent Sørensen.
To mark the centenary of the death of Edvard Grieg, the Bergen International Festival has compiled a mini chamber music series. In accordance with Grieg’s artistic outlook, newly written works will be performed alongside works which held particular significance for Grieg and works by Grieg himself. Among the soloists in the Grieg series are such illustrious artists as Leif Ove Andsnes, Solveig Kringlebotn, Truls Mørk and Julian Rachlin.
The music programme of the festival includes performances by international stars: the baritone Bryn Terfel, the cellist Mischa Maisky and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir.
Nordic Premiere of Brecht’s The Measures Taken
In the stage art programme the Bergen International Festival in association with Transiteatret-Bergen presents its own production, also a Nordic premiere. The Measures Taken by Bertolt Brecht and Hans Eisler is one of modern music theatre’s boldest aesthetic and political experiments. The work focuses on the freedom and responsibility to the community of the individual; since its original premiere in 1930 it has been accused of being Stalinistic and hardly ever performed its entirety, as Brecht/Eisler performances were banned in Germany in 1954. The Bergen International Festival performance is directed by Tore Vagn Lid.
The world premiere of Jon Fosse’s new play, I am the Wind, is directed by Norwegian National Theatre director Eirik Stubø. The Norwegian Wind Ensemble presents the world premiere of Blåmannen, an opera set at the end of Edvard Grieg’s life, when he met Percy Grainger, the young Australian composer and pianist. Sverre Waage’s unique circus performance Trollringen (the Magic Circle) is a winner for young audiences.
Peer Gynt in Hungarian
The Hungarian theatre company Krétakör will make its mark on the city of Bergen throughout the festival with its characteristic style of acting. Their programme includes Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Chekhov’s The Seagull and Ibsen’s Peer Gynt. The Bergen International Festival presents Peer Gynt for the third year running: just as the 2006 Calixto Bieito performance contrasted with Robert Wilson’s in 2005, Krétakör casts light on Ibsen’s masterpiece from yet a new direction.
Among visiting companies are the Berlin Comic Opera, presenting the controversial Mozart opera The Abduction from the Seraglio and the Swedish Cullberg Ballet, with Walking Mad (choreography by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui) and End (choreography Wim van de Capelle).
The Bergen International Festival has previously announced from the 2007 programme:
Festival Composer: Bent Sørensen
The Mozart opera The Abduction from the Seraglio
Bryn Terfel performs songs by Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Jacques Ibert and Gerald Finzi and Welsh folk songs.
Programme events involving local partners have also been published previously:
Satellitt Borealis presents a new Norwegian Noise Trio: Slettemark, Manheim and Marhaug.
Carte Blanche and BIT20 Ensemble present their Festival performance to music by Festival Composer Bent Sørensen.
Jo Strømgren Kompani presents the dance performance The Orchestra.
Anton Chekhov: The Cherry Orchard directed by Yngve Sundvor.
Festival Artist: Børre Sæthre, Bergen Kunsthall
Festival Poet: Tone Hødnebø.
See the entire programme at the Bergen International Festival’s new website www.fib.no or in the printed programme catalogue, available throughout Bergen from Wednesday 29 November 2006.