Bergen’s concert hall needs renewal

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The concert hall in Bergen that’s named after the west coast city’s famous native composer Edvard Grieg needs renovation, to the tune of NOK 220 million. City officials and its cultural elite are raising funds for Grieghallen, with most of it sought from the public sector.

Grieghallen in Bergen

The concert hall in the heart of Bergen, built in 1978, has gradually become outdated, reports newspaper Aftenposten. Its sound, lighting and technical capabilities are overdue for an overhaul, with board chairman Egil Herman Sjursen noting that “there’s been a certain amount of development” in the past few decades.

Grieghallen remains a busy place, with 350 performances planned for this year. It always plays a major role in Bergen’s annual Festspillene, the international music festival that attracts talent and audiences from around the world every May.

The concert hall was built mostly with private funding, Sjursen told Aftenposten, and now seeks around NOK 73 million from the state. The rest is expected to come from city, county and private sources. After billions were spent on the new Opera House in Oslo, the citizens of Bergen think it’s only fair that they get their share of state funding now.

“Bergen has never received public funding for any cultural building of any size,” Sjursen told Aftenposten. “There are quite a lot of people living in the West Coast’s capital as well.”

The renewal project is due to start next year and carry on for four years while keeping Grieghallen open, with only some occasional “pauses,” Sjursen said.

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