Norway’s Henrik Ibsen is often considered the most-read playwright after William Shakespeare, and the reason is perhaps that he talks about women, the corruption in our society and the middleclass values. 150 years ago, however, he wrote the dramatic poem of Peer Gynt, which at that time was not at all intended for the theatrical scene.
Peer Gynt is a farm lad who wastes his time in lazy dreaming, boasting and brawling – a symbol of the man who ever colors truth and fact in wishful compromises, evasion and selfishness. The tales about Per have been told through generations, and these, together with the nature and culture in the valley, is what inspired Henrik Ibsen to write the dramatic poem.
2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Norway’s national epos Peer Gynt and the anniversary is celebrated with a grand outdoor performance at the venerable Akerhus Fortress, as well as at the annual Peer Gynt festival In the Gudbrandsdalen valley, one hour north of Lillehammer.
The performance in Oslo stays true to both Henrik Ibsen’s text and Edvard Grieg’s wonderful music, and features six professional actors, 30 singers and dancers, and 40 musicians from the Staff Band of the Norwegian Armed Forces. Director is Sturla Hungnes, who has worked with Peer Gynt throughout his whole career. Peer Gynt will be performed at Akershus Festning 8 – 10 June.
In Gudbrandsdalen, the Norwegian drama, music and nature comes together in the middle of Peer Gynt’s kingdom.
The festival in Gudbrandsdalen will give its guests a good insight into the Norwegian spirit; through nature, culture and traditions.
The festival takes place from 4-13 August.
Ibsen’s play was first performed in 1867 set to music by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. Peer Gynt has in fact immortalized them both and this work lives now literally a worldwide existence as a “three-headed troll”: as the orchestral suites (op. 46 and 55), as the stage version with the music of Edvard Grieg and as the stage version without Grieg´s music.
Both performances are in Norwegian, but there is plenty of wonderful music and nature to be enjoyed.
Feature image (on top): Svein Sturla Hungnes as Peer Gynt
150th Anniversary of Norway’s Peer Gynt, written by Tor Kjolberg