The Bergen International Festival’s new director, Per Boye Hansen, has proudly presented the institution’s monumental challenge that will likely cause a major impact on the Norwegian cultural scene for the next four years.
From 2006 to 2009 the Bergen International Festival will be facing one of the institution’s most challenging projects to date: the staging of Richard Wagners grand opera cycle ‘Der Ring des Nibelungen’. The massive project is to be staged in partnership with the Latvian National Opera.
2006 will see the Bergen premiere of ‘Das Rheinhold’, directed by Norwegian Stefan Herheim and conducted by the young and vital Riga Opera conductor Andris Nelsons (26).
Writes the Bergen International Festival in a press statement:
“In musical circles Richard Wagner's "Ring of the Nibelungs" is often referred to merely as "The Ring". Our thoughts go not only to the magical ring that bestows power upon its bearer while distorting his mind, but also to the structure of this colossal work of art: a cycle of four operas constituting a single entity; a closed circle which is doomed to ruin from the outset - a ruin which itself sets the wheels of ruin in motion. Wagner's melody circles in perpetuity, describing the very nature of a mythical circle. Mythos narrates what is to come with a flashback into the future.
The opening scene takes place at the bottom of being - a deep level on which no consciousness exist. Richard Wagner's tetralogy "Der Ring des Nibelungen" begins with the musical claim of being in the single note "E flat" just as a fairy tale opens the door to imagination with the magic formula "once upon a time…" How else can one glimpse acoustically at the genesis of being but with this assertion? Could one even talk about a myth of creation whose origin does not rely on the sensation of its mediator seizing himself as the ultimate yardstick?
The characters in this play about the Ring take every means to obtain power and the right to construct a reality which seems meaningful to them. Even the supreme God, builder of it's realness and guardian of its order, finds himself entrapped in the artificiality of his own reality. Throughout the play moments of strength and beauty, truth and genuineness are exposed as sorry efforts of his conceitedness. The gods have never been so committed to humanity and the humans have never been more at the mercy of the gods, ever since the day they fabricated the theatrical arena in which they continually display and invent themselves.
As in all great art this work is both an invitation and a challenge to our time. Each era witnesses the grandiose musical epic and hews its interpretation into the circle, indicating its self-perception. Each era takes its own risky leap into the treacherous, foaming brine to rescue the treasure. This will be only the second time that the entire Ring cycle is performed in Norway. While Oslo awaits its new opera house, the Bergen International Festival makes its own contribution to the art form.”
‘Das Rheinhold’ is scheduled to be staged at Bergen’s Grieg Hall on 31 May and 1 June 2006.
Tickets go on sale 15th of June 2005
The Bergen International Festival 2006 will run from 24 May to 5 June.