‘Festspillene’ underway in Bergen

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The annual festival of culture and music in Bergen called Festspillene opened this week in traditional fashion, with a visit from King Harald and Queen Sonja and a cloudburst as thousands gathered to see the event kicked off outdoors.

Organizers have faced more challenges than the weather this year, with a Chinese ensemble bowing out at the last minute in a move believed tied to China’s anger over last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, and volcanic eruptions in Iceland delaying the arrival of some performers. The star of a performance of Oedipus Rex got sick, leading to an unexpected search for a replacement, and it was demanding to get 220 young musicians from Venezuela to Bergen for a special event.

But the festival began on Wednesday with spectators like top politician from Bergen Erna Solberg simply donning plastic rain gear and smiling through the showers. The festival will extend over the next two weeks, with 150 events on the program including concerts, plays, dance and exhibitions.

Minister of Culture Anniken Huitfeldt said the annual festival, now in its 59th year, unites older and modern cultural expression. “New events are created alongside the traditional,” she said. For program details, click here (external link).

Views and News staff