Leiv Ove Andsnes: Moments of Zen

Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes ranks among the leading classical performers of our time. He is not only brilliant; there is something more, something different about him: he is free. He has transcended the artistic ideal of the immense effort that culminates in the breathtaking performance. Instead he breathes.

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The whole, the veil and the holes

Scene one could have been taken from the play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead: Henrik Hellstenius is relieved; he has found himself a new Hamlet. The Norwegian composer is currently working on a new production of his opera Ophelias: Death by Water Singing. Suddenly, with only a little more than two weeks to go before the premiere, the prince fell ill! As good Hamlets are hard to come by, Hellstenius’ relief at the quick replacement is understandable.

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Paul Curran: making magic

Rusalka has just premiered at the Norwegian Opera. Dvorák’s romantic opera is Paul Curran’s first major production as opera director in the magnificent new building in Oslo. Five weeks of hard work –with a cast of Norwegian and international stars– have culminated in a grand and magical spectacle, a fairytale with psychoanalytical dimensions. Paul Curran is a believer in magic. In his interpretation magic, music and opera are about hope and humanity; something larger and more important than mere pleasurable escape.

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Solveig Slettahjell: visitations

Solveig Slettahjell is a gem among singers. Her first albums with the Slow Motion Orchestra/Duo earned her international praise as one of the great jazz-standard interpreters of our time, and from the album Pixiedust (2005) she has stood forth as one of the foremost conveyors of original material in the same genre. However, now is the first time she has written almost an entire album on her own. Instigated by a commission from the Vossajazz festival, the newly released album Tarpan Seasons has reaped unanimous acclaim in Norway.

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Karin Park: no darkness for the detached

Talk of metamorphosis is circulating in the music media: Karin Park’s new album is great, and it’s different! the Bergen-based Swedish pop princess has become an electro minimalist with rather darker things on her mind. Park’s trademark sense of arresting melodies is still there though, and now she knows more about the nature of these melodies too.

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Vilde Frang: The singing of a free violin

Some people have a special presence even on the phone. Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Vilde Frang is such a person, because the twenty two-year-old Norwegian violin virtuoso has spellbound audiences around the world with her charismatic stage-presence and musical exuberance. Vilde Frang is not only utterly brilliant in every technical aspect of being a violinist, at a young age she is also a distinct musical voice; an artist set on unwavering personal exploration of the universe of classical music and one refusing to be limited in any way.

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Kristin Asbjørnsen: Trickles of light in every darkness

Kristin Asbjørnsen is currently living in two parallel musical worlds. Her second solo album The night shines like the day was recently released in Norway to massive critical acclaim, while her first, Wayfaring Stranger, is simultaneously making headlines in France. Late March saw Kristin being bestowed with the Babel Med – Mondomix award in Marseilles.

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