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Shining outdoor concert on Lille Lungegårdsvann

– It will be quiet and loud at the same time, says Sven Sören Beyer.

He is both artistic director, lighting designer and concept originator for Midnight Reflection – A Silent Concert, where sound and light are mixed in a visually stunning show using the whole of Smålungeren as a stage. The music will come from the Nordic Prism concert with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, being performed earlier that night, and will be transferred via wireless headsets.

– It is a combination of being together and in your own world. Before the concert begins, you can chat with friends and family, enjoy the festival atmosphere and have your own picnic. But as soon as the concert begins, you have to put on your headset if you want to hear the music, says Beyer, who is the founder of German artist network phase 7.  

Living sculpture of light

On the water, lights, projections, dancers and other elements that Beyer will not give away just yet will accompany the music. At the centre of it all is a reflecting dome currently being produced in Poland.

– In the magical midnight hour we will literally bring the nordic prism to life, in a reflection of the 2015 Festival theme; love, says Beyer.

He is currently working on programming the lights, where amongst other things 60 lamps with almost laser-thin beams will be part of a living sculpture of light. The bright Bergen summer nights create a challenge for Beyer:

– We had arranged to have one night for rehearsals before the show, but we were not aware that there was only real darkness for about 3.5 hours, a smiling Beyer says.

The musical component also brings time management challenges. After the Grieghallen concert, the technicians will have about an hour to do sound mastering for Midnight Reflection. This is why Beyer has elected to focus the light show on Grieg’s famous piano concerto, by many considered to be the Festival’s signature piece. In addition, Per Nørgårds new double concerto will be performed. 

Sunshine inside

Beyer and his team are used to challenges. The artist collective have worked on, among other things, the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the opening of Umeå as European Capital of Culture on a frozen river in minus 20 degreees centigrade. When Beyer did Murmuration with drone helicopters, electronica and choir at the 2013 Festival, the authorities gave strict instructions that the event must not disturb the sleep of downtown residents.

– That is why we first thought we had to create something without lights, because the event had to happen earlier in the evening, before nightfall. But lights are an important artistic expression for me, says Beyer.

What if you could take away sound instead, he thought. By chance he heard about the Silent Disco concept, a dancing event where the music could only be heard through  headsets. (The same concept was very successful at KODE in February earlier this year.)

– All the pieces fell into place at that point. This will be a new format for people to experience classical music in a novel way. Genres are not important to me, but the special thing about the classical music is that you need to take time to enjoy it. It is a nice counterpoint to today’s busy world.

And finally: What if this Festival Saturday sees pouring rain?

– I have learned from Norwegians that the most important thing is to have sunshine on the inside, says the Midnight Reflection creator.

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Calendar
23 May - 06 June 2018
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Calendar
23 May - 06 June 2018
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