Trumpet Player Tine Thing Helseth Is The Host Of The Opening Ceremony And Will Hold Several Different Concerts During The 2021 Bergen International Festival. Photo: Anna-Julia Granberg

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May 05, 2021

'This year's Bergen International Festival can be experienced at a venue, outdoors, and wherever you may be', says festival director Anders Beyer.

The 69th Bergen International Festival consists of 76 large and small events, and a total of 30 of these will also be filmed and made available digitally.

'We have had some challenging months with great uncertainty and many changes. The opening day is nearing fast, and we can finally present a large and varied programme at Bergen's many beautiful venues', says Beyer, who last autumn extended his tenure until 2026.

According to current rules, a maximum of 100 tickets per event will be made available. Should more audience members be allowed before the festival begins on 26 May, capacity will remain drastically reduced.

'It has been important to us also to have a broad digital offer. Last year, we learned a lot when we had to put together a new and digital festival programme in just a few hectic weeks. This year, we continue to build on that knowledge and will again offer festival experiences to those who cannot come to Bergen or get a seat at the venue', says the festival director.

This year's festival opens in Grieghallen with the world premiere of The American Moth, a multimedia performance by winter guests and Alan Lucien Øyen with, among others, Liv Ullmann on stage. Fifteen days later, it is time for the closing concert, with Arne Nordheim's The Tempest in new, cinematic form by video artist Sarah Derendinger. The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra performs the music with conductor Edward Gardner and soloists Mari Eriksmoen and Johannes Weisser. Other events on the festival programme include classical concerts and music of several genres, the theatre performances Erasmus Montanus and Hole & Son, dance, debates and events for the whole family.

A number of events have been cancelled or moved to coming years, including a commissioned work by the American artist Taylor Mac, a world premiere by festival composer Missy Mazzoli and a concert with the Vienna Philharmonic. Most of this year's artists are Norwegian, but there are also international elements.

'I am delighted that the participants in the opening performance The American Moth have been granted entry to Norway', says Beyer, who himself has had to lead the festival from Denmark for months.

The theme for this year's festival is 'This is America?' and was chosen several years ago.

'With all the dramatic events in the US over the past year, it is perhaps the most relevant, but also the most impossible topic we could have chosen. Concerts and performances with many American artists have been postponed. However, we still have the fantastic Missy Mazzoli from Brooklyn with us, and the American theme is repeated in the repertoire at many concerts and in this year's exciting debate programme', says Beyer.

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