"The festival programme features big names within classical music, new theatre performances with an edge, and not least – delightful experiences for young and old," says CEO and artistic director Anders Beyer as he presents the 63rd Bergen International Festival.
The festival takes place from 27 May to 10 June this year. Among its 150 concerts and performances are 11 world premieres and 13 premieres of new works of music. The festival makes use of 20 different venues in and around Bergen city centre, including the homes of Edvard Grieg and Ole Bull.
Norwegian and International Stars
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates its 250th anniversary with the opening concert Porgy & Bess in Andrew Litton's version, BIG Nightmare Music with Igudesmann & Joo and the concertNordic prism . In the latter they perform Grieg's Concerto in A Minor and a commissioned work by Danish composer Per Nørgård. Later that night, these performances will be transmitted though headphones and staged with lights, dancers and video on the lake in the city centre. The German artist collective phase7 is behind the performance. The festival concludes with the international co-production Orfeo by renowned choreographer Sasha Waltz. She describes the performance as a choreographed opera, and Freiburger BarockConsort form part of the great ensemble. The classical music programme also includes Les Arts Florissants, Anne Sofie von Otter, The Borodin Quartet and some of Europe's greatest countertenors, including Franco Fagioli. They take to the stage in a concert version of the renaissance opera Catone in Utica by Leonardo Vinci. Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes presents four concerts featuring young, Norwegian string talents, violinist Henning Kraggerud performs The Seven Last Words of Christ by Haydn with a chamber orchestra, and Danish baritone Bo Skovhus presents Schubert's Winterreise in the concert hall on Edvard Grieg's property. From Paraguay comes Cateura – The Recycled Orchestra, who will play together with Norwegian music school students.
The concert programme also features names such as Ute Lemper, Omar Sosa Quarteto AfroCubano and Helmut Lachenmann.
Diverse Performing Arts
In the performing arts programme, Rimini Protokoll stages conversations about Europe in private homes, and the festival adds religious criticism to the mix with the world premiere of the chamber opera Adam and Eve – a Divine Comedy. International theatre triumphs such as King Size by Christoph Marthaler, Hotel Paradiso by German Familie Flöz, and Mies Julie by Yäel Farber are performed at Den Nationale Scene.
The Bergen International Festival also offers a large outdoor programme. Free concerts and family activities are held in the pleasant urban spaces in Bergen, and in more rural settings, including the seven mountains that surround the city.
"The festival programme is diverse and invites both reflection and excitement," says Anders Beyer.