Future sounds from Bergen

Oslo, minus several degrees, the landscape monochrome with luminous streaky skies. Bergen National Opera is in the capital at Operaen with a fine mix of nationalities and three Nordic composers to develop new operas for premiere in March.

Fabulous Fabio

In the thick of rehearsals for Bellini´s I Capuleti e i Montecchi – a notoriously difficult opera to stage – with complex chorus choreography, exhausted soloists and the alarming possibility of Tebaldo accidently stabbing a stagehand (yes, we have real swords) – a small figure remains serene. Fabio Biondi, conductor, Bellini specialist, baroque and classical […]

The European Cultural Parliament meets in Pristina: politics, art, equality, strong coffee and opera

Arriving in Pristina for the annual European Cultural Parliament meeting, we gather in the gleaming new airport foyer, all glass and marble, and so squeaky clean that one daren´t finger a surface. The airline magazine has already pointed out two unmissable Kosovan experiences: Pristina´s exciting nightlife and excellent morning coffee. These may, we feel, be […]

Israeli theatre caught in conflict

With shows by Israeli artists cancelled at Edinburgh Festival Fringe amongst clamorous protest and current outcry here in Norway around Habima Theatre´s collaboration with Oslo´s Nationaltheatret, maybe it´s worth – on behalf of the artists themselves – considering a wider perspective. Edinburgh Festival was, after all, begun in the wake of World War 11 into […]

Tzars don’t change that much – Aftenposten, 24th March 2014

It´s timely that right now in Bergen we are preparing an opera based on a Pushkin poem about Russian imperialist ambitions. Rimsky-Korsakov´s Gullhanen (The Golden Cockerel) – which tells the story of a mythical Tzar who invades a neighboring country, and is pecked to death by a golden bird charged with warning him of danger […]

Irrepressibly outspoken, forcing reinvention – with Gerard Mortier opera has lost a king

There are those in arts leadership, some highly effective, of whom one could say ’his project was himself’. Of course personal ambition can be a fine thing and in its swirling wake, great things may happen. Egos dominate in most high level activities; Gerard Mortier, who died yesterday, most certainly had ego. His project, however, […]