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Monday, July 22, 2024

Bergen’s annual festival underway

The annual cultural festival known as Festspillene i Bergen (Bergen International Festival) was well underway this week, after a traditional royal opening and a program that lasts until June 6.

The festival opened last week in brilliant, warm, sunny weather as it celebrated its 60th anniversary. Norway’s government minister in charge of culture, Anniken Huitfeldt, joined Queen Sonja and King Harald in opening the two-week-long series of concerts, theater performances and other cultural displays that attract audiences and artists from around the world.

Huitfeldt claimed that it was the nature of people in Bergen to be “a bit ahead of their time,” referring to how the festival started back in the early 1950s at a time when Norway was still rebuilding after the devastation of World War II. Huitfeldt noted there was a feeling at the time that if Bergen didn’t launch the festival, some other city would. “It demanded both bravery and a bit of craziness,” Huitfeldt said.

Among the opening events this year was a production of Handel’s opera Xerxes, which premiered in Berlin in mid-May. Also on the program (external link) were Norwegian musicians Leif Ove Andsnes and Truls Mørk, the Frikar Dance Company, violinists Vilde Frang Bjærke and Arve Tellefsen and pianist Håvard Gimse.

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