henrik ibsen


henrik ibsen
2006 ibsen issue
news of norway
(1828 – 1906)
100 years after the
Norwegian playwright
died, his plays about
freedom of expression,
gender equality, and
environmental protection
are as relevant as ever.
Volume 64
ambassador’s note
ear friends of modern theater. 2006 is a very special year for Norwegian theater. It
marks the 100th anniversary of the death of the great Norwegian playwright Henrik
Ibsen. This special issue of News of Norway is dedicated to Ibsen’s life and work.
Ibsen died in Oslo, or Kristiania as the Norwegian capital was
called at that time, on May 23rd, 1906. Norway is very proud of his
literary achievements, and commemorate Ibsen’s life and work with
numerous events throughout the year.
Today, his plays are read in more than 100 languages and Ibsen
is played on roughly 100 stages all over the world every month of
the year. Alongside William Shakespeare, Ibsen is the most performed playwright ever.
Ibsen’s plays concern fundamental values and rights of human
beings. As a social reformer, he challenges social conventions that –
regardless of where in the world we may find ourselves – are a
threat to personal development and liberty. His themes are universal: freedom of speech, repression of women, the institution of
marriage, business ethics, the hypocrisy and power of the press,
double moral standards, religion, education, and legislation.
This made Ibsen a provocative author in his own time, and placed him among the most censored and prohibited playwrights in the world. Today he is celebrated as the father of modern
drama. More than 60 feature films in addition to numerous TV-series and documentaries are
based on his plays.
Throughout the year, Ibsen will be played all over the U.S., and information about this will
be found in issues of News of Norway and at www.norway.org/ibsen. The Consulates General
in New York, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Houston all host events in their areas.
Ibsen never visited the United States, but nevertheless, his plays made a lasting impact here.
Ghosts was even staged in Chicago after it had been prohibited in Europe. So I feel confident
that the old Master would have appreciated very much this hommage here in the U.S.
Have an interesting and inspiring Ibsen anniversary. Theater and literature bring important
issues to life.
Royal Norwegian Embassy
2720 34th. St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 333-6000
Knut Vollebæk
Erling Rimestad
Arild Strømmen
Thor Englund
News of Norway (ISSN: 0028-9272)
is a quarterly publication of the Royal
Norwegian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
The magazine was founded in 1941 and
reaches 35,000 subscribers in the U.S.
and Canada. For a free subscription,
write or call with your name and
address, or send an email to
[email protected]
Write a letter mailed to the address above
or send an email to [email protected].
Fans, Experts, Authors and Oscar Nominee Gather for Ibsen Symposium
2 | news of norway | summer 2006
only better and more relevant with the passing of time.”
bsen isn’t showing any signs of slowing down,”
Among the other speakers at the symposium were
said Library of Congress Director Dr. Mark
Michael Kahn from the Shakespeare Theatre; Professor
Dimunation on May 23rd, 100 years to the day
Vigdis Ystad from the University of Oslo; Professor
after the death of Norway’s premier playwright.
Rune Engebretsen from Concordia College and author
And the setting could hardly have been more
Robert Ferguson, who could tell how a young Charlton
appropriate: The Library of Congress in Washington,
Heston got his acting debut as Peer Gynt in 1941.
D.C. has a complete set of Henrik Ibsen’s first editions,
In addition, Oscar nominee Jane Alexander spoke
in addition to some 1,400 other books in 30 languages
about Ibsen from the point of view of the actress, and
about the world-famous Norwegian author. This illusabout playing all the women in his plays: “While Hedda
trates the international scope of Ibsen’s work, which
Gabler presents the actress with a tour de force role I do
was also one of the central topics of the symposium.
not know an actress who has adored the experience of
It was sponsored by the Royal Norwegian Embassy
playing her. Hedda is a role we have to do to test our
and opened by the Ambassador, Knut Vollebaek, who
metal. Hedda is in a serious and unremitting state of
talked about Ibsen as an internationalist, and the sigdepression from the time we meet her until her death by
nificance that the United States had on his writing:
suicide. An actress can play her in a manic high as Kate
“Ibsen never visited the U.S. but was still well known
Burton did not long ago; she can play her in a constant
here,” Vollebaek said. “While Ghosts was prohibited
rage as I am told Cate Blanchett did recently; or she can
in Europe it played in Chicago. The U.S. played a role
play her as a caged panther as I did.”
in presenting one of the more controversial plays.”
She also commented on how Ibsen is able to create
The main theme of the symposium was Ibsen’s
actress Jane Alexander
the sense of timelessness in his plays: “Ibsen is consumed
modernism and relevance even today, one hundred
years after his death. “A Doll’s House, Ghosts, Hedda Gabler, even with mortality,” she said. “With how we live before we die, and how
Peer Gynt—these are classic treatments of problems that became par- with our actions we push ourselves and others to the brink of despair,
ticularly intense in the modern age but which invariably have deeper and ultimately death. There is no bigger theme in the life of a human
and timeless dimensions,” said James Billington, the Librarian of being; it is universal, it transcends cultures, time and distance. It is why
Congress, in a statement to the symposium participants. “I personally Ibsen is a writer for the ages. Ibsen brought an ethical gravity, a psythink Ibsen is the world’s greatest playwright since Shakespeare and chological depth and a social significance…giving European drama a
that there is a need for far more performance of his work, which grows vitality and artistic quality comparable to the ancient Greek tragedies.”
Cate Blanchett as
Hedda Gabler
Cate Blanchett was only one of
many world-renowned stars
who formed the cast of an
award-winning performance of Hedda Gabler at
the Brooklyn Academy
of Music (BAM) this
spring. “Hedda
sees life as a
savage farce,”
n the spring of 2006, theater audiences in New York had the rare
opportunity to see an Oscar-winning
actress lead a cast of some of the
biggest stars of the theater world in
an Ibsen play. Blanchett played
the title role of Hedda Gabler
in a Sydney Theatre
Company production of one
of Ibsen’s most famous
works, which previously
played for full houses for
nine weeks in Sydney. Her
Blanchett a Helpmann Best
Female Actor Award, a prestigious
Australian theater award, before the
cast traveled halfway across the globe
to New York City.
Blanchett is perhaps best known for
her Oscar-winning performance as
Katharine Hepburn opposite Leonardo
DiCaprio as Howard Hughes in The
Aviator in 2004 and for her role in the
Lord of The Rings trilogy, where she
played the Elf Queen Galadriel. In an
interview with Fox News, she blushingly admitted accepting the role because
she wanted to appear in a movie wearing pointed ears, and bronzed her earprosthetics after completing the work.
t BAM in New York the 28
Hedda Gabler performances
were completely sold out. In the
play, Hedda Gabler struggles with the
marriage to a man she finds unbearably
dull – played by Australian actor Hugo
Weaving, known from The Matrix and
The Lord of the Rings films – and with
a possible pregnancy that threatens to
seize her body. Out of boredom as
much as anything else, she
begins indulging in dangerous and hateful
games, manipulating
the fates of everyone
who dares to enter her
“She’s incredibly
dangerous,” Blanchett
said about Hedda Gabler
to Time Out-New York magazine. “She is someone who sees
life as a savage farce. And she’s full of
wild ambiguities; she’s as much at war
with herself as she is with her surroundings. You have to play each
moment fully and truly, and allow
those often contradictory emotions to
sit within one character. That’s quite
or her interpretation of Hedda
Gabler, Blanchett was awarded
the Ibsen Centennial Award. It
was presented by Norway’s Minister of
Children and Equality, Karita
Bekkemellem, who was in New York to
attend the seminar series “Nora’s
Sisters.” The seminars were organized
by the Royal Norwegian Consulate
General in New York. The focus was
discussing gender equality by putting
Ibsen’s female characters in a contemporary perspective.
hedda gabler synopsis
Hedda Gabler has just married Tesman, a
scholar she has never loved, when former
admirer Løvborg shows up, a bohemian
who is competing for a University chair with
Hedda’s husband. While drinking, Løvborg
loses his thesis, and confesses it to Hedda.
Instead of telling him that she has the thesis, she tells him to commit suicide, giving
him a pistol. She burns the thesis, telling
her husband she did it to secure their
future. After Løvborg dies, Hedda is blackmailed by Judge Brack – who knows where
the pistol came from. Feeling that she has
nothing left to live for, Hedda shoots herself.
www.norway.org/ibsen | 3
the word on
henrik ibsen
Minister of Foreign Affairs
People all over the world are moved by Henrik Ibsen’s writings. He
was a Norwegian citizen, but he was a universal writer. If we are to use
the Ibsen Year 2006 effectively, we must renew our contact with both
the writer and his work. We
must remember that Ibsen could
be sharply critical of Norway
and Norwegians. The scenes he
creates are set in Norway and
are typical of their time. But he
put freedom of expression, environmental protection, gender
equality, human dignity, corruption, and use of power on the
agenda in such a way that his
plays have continued to be relevant. These are issues that
belong at the top of our agenda
today. But Ibsen does not
resolve them for us. As he said
himself, his calling was to ask
questions, not to give answers.
Great-granddaughter of Henrik Ibsen
Producer, IBSEN 2006, Norway
I am the great-granddaughter of Henrik Ibsen, but I’m sorry to say
that his writing gene was not passed down to me. However, he was also
a very practical theater-man, so at least I’ve inherited that.
As producer for the opening ceremony of IBSEN 2006, it was fascinating to see how
Henrik Ibsen is still an
inspiration to artists
from around the
world. Among other
things, we presented
Hedda Gabler as a
Chinese opera; Ghosts
as a ballet, and a rapversion of Peer Gynt.
There is no doubt that
the old man is still
My next task for
IBSEN 2006 is premiering in Egypt in
October: Peer Gynt
with Edvard Grieg’s
original music. The
venue will be amazing: The play will be performed in front of the feet
of the Sphinx, with the pyramids as the background – a-once-in-a-lifetime experience.
4 | news of norway | summer 2006
Actor and Ibsen Festival Coordinator
Commonweal Theatre Company, Lanesboro, Minn.
As an actor it’s a joy to perform Ibsen – he offers unparalleled roles
(especially for women),
dynamic conflict, and issues
that are still relevant today.
Through my work as
Ibsen Festival Coordinator,
Ibsen has offered me much
more. He has connected me
with the most remarkable
people: the academics
whose passion for Ibsen is
inspiring, the individual fans
who use their vacation time
traveling the globe to see his
plays, the NorwegianAmerican residents of our
area who respect the national treasure that is Ibsen, and
many more. For me, Ibsen’s
legacy is palpable on the
stage – and beyond.
Former Minister of Cultural Affairs
Chairman, the National Ibsen Committee, Norway
Ibsen’s work belongs to world literature. He competes with
Shakespeare for the title of the most-often-performed playwrights
through the ages. In 2006 – the Ibsen Year – approximately 200 Ibsen
plays will be performed on stages all over the
world, and we have already counted 8,000
events in 80 countries.
Ibsen was unmistakably Norwegian,
heavily inspired by our culture and history,
and using Norway as the backdrop for most
of his plays. He was a critic of his fellow
countrymen, however, and a teacher forming
Norwegian identity. When he spellbinds people from other countries and cultures, it is
because his works open up to universal
issues – the conditions under which we exist
as humans, and our struggle to liberate ourselves and lead authentic lives, and for the
aristocracy of the mind and the will.
He was a master of the craft of the drama, the interplay between
dialogues in which every single word is subject to thought; the scenography, in which color, lighting, and the symbolism that provides extra
depth to what's being acted out onstage. Endless perspectives can come
into play even in dramas that seem simple on the surface. Ibsen uncovers the great questions in life, but leaves it up to us to answer them.
Ibsen has inspired me since childhood, and will always do so. Each
time I see or read another Ibsen play, I discover new dimensions.
We asked eight Ibsen enthusiasts how
they feel about the Norwegian playwright
CEO and Executive Director
Norwegian American Foundation, Seattle, Wash.
While I was living in Norway, Henrik Ibsen was to me one of many
great “historic” Norwegians –
like Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson,
Grieg, Asbjørnsen, Moe, and
Henrik Wergeland. After
moving to the United States, I
became aware of the fact that
Ibsen is very well known, and
to my surprise, in many ways
is better known elsewhere
than in Norway itself. The
biggest surprise was that most
who know of Ibsen, do not
know that he is Norwegian.
This year however, I am very
satisfied that Norway is making an attempt to make Ibsen “Norwegian” around the world.
I continue to be amazed that the themes of Ibsen’s plays, written
over 100 years ago – focusing on human fundamental values and rights,
environment, maltreatment of children, the institution of marriage,
freedom of expression, women’s rights, and business ethics, are still
very pertinent and important topics of society and political life today.
Teacher of Norwegian at the Awty International
School in Houston, Texas
My love affair with Ibsen’s plays began at 16 when I read A Doll’s
House for the first time. I was struck by his piercing questions about
truth and personal freedom, as
have been so many people
through the years. It is hard to
stand up for what you believe
in when society pressures you
to conform. And a lot of the
questions Ibsen poses in his
plays are related to just that:
Who are you? Are you true
to yourself, or do you let others decide who you ought to
be like Mrs. Alving? Nora, for
instance, took this question
very seriously; she left her
family and ventured into the
world to find out who she was
and what was right for her.
Do you have a firm moral
center in your heart, or are you
like Peer Gynt, egotistical and with no center at all?
Do you dare to speak the truth about society’s poison like Dr.
Stockmann – even though you may be the only one? Each generation
will strive to find truth and freedom in their lives, and that’s why the
questions that Ibsen poses still will echo through the ages.
President of Norwegian Researchers and Teachers
Association of North America (NORTANA), Minnesota
In September, 1969, I had just returned from an unbelievably wonderful summer on
the island of
Senja in North
Norway. Because
I wanted to continue
enrolled in an
Norwegian course
at the University
of Chicago. I had
read some short
stories with my
instructor, Kjetil
Flatin, and he saw that I was ready for a bigger challenge. Before I
knew it, I was captivated by Nora, Torvald, and Dr. Rank in Et dukkehjem. Since then, I’ve devoted my life to learning and teaching
Norwegian, as Coordinator of the Less Commonly Taught Languages
Project at the University of Minnesota and developer of a new multimedia Norwegian dictionary for English speakers.
Professor of Scandinavian Studies at Concordia
College, Moorhead, Minnesota and Researcher at
The Centre for Ibsen Studies, University of Oslo
“The highest to which a human being can attain is this: to realize
one’s self in the conduct of life. That is a task we all have; but the vast
majority bungle it,” Ibsen
wrote to his friend and colleague
Bjørnson. This statement
could stand as a motto for
Ibsen’s authorship and its
appeal to me.
Through his masterful
plays, Ibsen shows that each
human being – regardless of
limiting external and internal factors – is a of infinite
worth. Each one of us has a
call to become an authentic
human being. The task is to
embody the basic values of
the beautiful, the true, and
the good in my personal life and to enact them communally in caring
relation to and with others. That involves a choice. I choose, therefore
I am. A human being is granted a choice. How so? A choice of what or
whom, and under what circumstances?
Those are questions of human freedom and self-actualization that
Ibsen pursues with deep insight and vigorous, dramatic thrust in
Brand, Peer Gynt, A Doll’s House, indeed, in most of his plays.
www.norway.org/ibsen | 5
1828 Henrik Johan Ibsen born on March
20th in Stockmannsgården in Skien.
Parents: Marichen (née Altenburg) and
Knud Ibsen, merchant.
1835 Father has to give up his business. The
properties are auctioned off. The family
moves to Venstøp, a farm in Gjerpen.
1843 Confirmed in Gjerpen Church.
Family moves to Snipetorp in Skien.
Ibsen leaves home on December 27th.
1844 Arrives in Grimstad on January 3rd to
be an apprentice to chemist Jens Aarup
1846 Has an illegitimate child with Else
Sophie Jensdatter, Reimann’s servant.
1849 Ibsen writes Catiline.
1850 Goes to Christiania to study for the
university entrance examination.
Catiline is published under the pseudonym
Brynjolf Bjarme. Is editor of the Students’
Union paper Samfundsbladet and the satirical weekly Andhrimner.
First Ibsen staging in history: the one-act
The Burial Mound is performed at
Christiania Theater on September 26.
1852 Moves to Bergen to begin directing
productions at Det norske Theater.
Study tour to Copenhagen and Dresden.
1853 First performance of St. John’s Night.
1855 First performance of Lady Inger.
1857 First performance of Olaf Liljekrans. Is
appointed artistic director at Kristiania
Norske Theater.
1858 Marries Suzannah Thoresen
First performance of The Vikings at
1859 His son Sigurd is born.
1861 Writes the poem Terje Vigen.
1862 Kristiania Norske Theater goes bankrupt. Ibsen goes to the valley of
Gudbrandsdalen to study folklore.
Love’s Comedy is published (first performance at Christiania Theater on November
24th 1873).
1864 The Pretenders is performed at
Christiania Theater. Leaves for Italy and
lives in Rome for four years.
1866 Brand is published and is a success.
Ibsen is awarded a state stipend for artists.
6 | news of norway | 2 | 2006
On the Contemporary Significance of Ibsen’s Ethics
n the late 19th century, Henrik Ibsen’s
plays passionately raised insightful questions about the individual’s place within
society that incited an honest and critical selfreflection in audiences. For this and many
other good reasons, Ibsen long ago joined the
likes of Shakespeare and Arthur Miller on the
list of Great-Western-Dramatists. Thankfully,
though some facets of his work do show their
fair share of age, Ibsen has survived the
entombment that often goes hand-in-hand with
canonization and now, one hundred years later,
we have only begun to realize just how complicated and poignant Ibsen’s questions really are.
We have inherited a tradition of radical
freedom and individuality, one with which
Ibsen was very familiar and to which he was
somewhat sympathetic. Take the slamming of
the door at the close of A Doll’s House; this has
become a paradigmatic symbol for self-determining freedom and choice. Nora has realized
that she has never actually chosen anything in
her life but has only been a passive commodity, passed from one man to another. She tells
Torvald, “I have to stand completely alone, if
I'm ever going to discover myself and the
world out there.” Before Nora can ever be a
parent or a wife, she must first be herself. In
Ibsen’s oeuvre, this ideal of authenticity, free
self-discovery, often appears as the foundation
for all other ethical commitments.
Though we in the liberal democratic West
can’t help but feel inspired by this message,
our culture has already traveled the length of
this road and has discovered where it leads.
Totally untempered, ideas like radical freedom,
individualism, and authenticity eventually
arrive at solipsism and nothingness. Jean-Paul
Sartre’s concept of the self as “a hole in the
heart of Being,” or Erving Goffman’s more
postmodern comparison of the self to ”a peg”
on which the costume of a social role is hung,
are both foremost examples of this. These selfcentered concepts have also spearheaded the
erosion of ethics into today’s problematic relativism, where debates are irreconcilable and
power is the only viable currency.
In The Ethics of Authenticity, published in
1991, Charles Taylor wrote, “…I can define
my identity only against the background of
things that matter. But to bracket out history,
nature, society, the demands of solidarity,
everything but what I find in myself, would be
to eliminate all candidates for what matters.”
Our culture is finally beginning to pull back the
reigns on radical individualism and recall the
importance of tradition, commitment, and
community. But the warnings of ethicists like
Charles Taylor or Alasdair MacIntyre are the
same warnings that Ibsen counseled over one
hundred years ago. Almost prophetically, Ibsen
foresaw the unsavory consequences of the liberal ideals that he called “crumbs from the revolutionary table of the last century.” No other
play states Ibsen’s ethical warnings as clearly
as Peer Gynt.
Peer’s egoism, his confidence in his “essential self,” keeps him from earnest interaction
with the external world-friends, family, ideologies, nations, etc. Thus Peer becomes a fractured personality, an aesthete without responsibility, without passion, without commitment,
and therefore without meaning; not even worthy of hell, he is to be thrown on the scrap
heap. Though this may seem like an internal
psychological issue rather than an external ethical dilemma, remember that the thing which
saves Peer from the Button Moulder’s ladle is
Solveigh, the commitment that he abandoned,
but which never abandoned him. When Peer
poses his existential query, “Where was I?
Myself-complete and whole? / Where? With
God’s seal upon my brow?” it is Solveigh’s
answer, “In my faith, in my hope, and in my
love,” that saves him from the ladle.
For Nora, authenticity is found in the selfasserting act of leaving her family; for Peer,
authenticity is discovered in the “self-slaying”
act of returning to family. While Ibsen at times
admonishes the individualistic progressive values of his time, he just as often condemns them
and all other aureate idealisms. Seen this way,
Ibsen himself may appear to have a rather frag-
because he will not grant her freedom, for fear
of losing her completely. At this point, it seems
as if Wangel wants, in Sartrean terms, “to be
loved by a freedom but demands that this freedom as freedom should no longer be free.”
Thankfully, towards the very end of act
five, when The Stranger has arrived and the
choice can no longer be avoided, Wangel realizes the contradiction of his desire. Though he
may be able to physically detain his wife, he
knows that he can never imprison her thoughts
or dreams, and in order to keep driving these
even farther away, he must allow Ellida to
choose for herself. In this miraculous moment
of emancipation, the relationship between
Ellida and Wangel is instantaneously transformed into a true and loving marriage. Ellida
is allowed the freedom that makes authentic
ethical decision possible. She no longer has to
leave her husband in order to become herself,
because she, unlike Nora, can be herself within the now-true marriage.
The issue of responsibility is equally
present in this moment. Wangel tells
Ellida, “Now you can choose-free-on
St. Olaf College student Nathan Hopkins won the
your own responsibility.” She then says
Henrik Ibsen essay contest sponsored by the
to herself, “Responsibility as well? But
Norwegian Researchers and Teachers Association
that changes it all.” Ellida realizes that to
of North America (NORTANA). The prize includes
choose The Stranger, “the unknown,”
a round-trip ticket to Norway and two nights accomwould be to choose freedom for freemodation from the organization Norwegian
dom’s sake, which, recalling the earlier
Literature Abroad (NORLA)
Charles Taylor quote, eliminates all posHopkins, a philosophy major, became interested
sible candidates for meaning. Ellida is
in learning more about Ibsen after listening to Toril
now in a true marriage, a loving relationMoi, a recent guest lecturer at St. Olaf. Hopkins
ship with Wangel–this is her candidate
enjoyed her philosophical take on Ibsen and read
for meaning and she can now authenticalIbsen voraciously over the next month, composing
ly bind herself to it.
this essay in a fit of inspiration. “I think that Ibsen –
Here is Ibsen’s understanding of ideal
like Dostoevsky or Camus – is as much a philosolove: the lover does not seek to imprison
pher as an author, which appeals to me,” he said.
the beloved in body or in soul, but
instead, with full knowledge of the risk,
one can be truly just-in which one can authen- the lover allows the beloved the freedom
tically be oneself and allow the other to do required for her to authentically love him in
likewise, without becoming trapped in resign- return. Thus the relationship is a reciprocal
ment, solipsism, or nothingness. Of course, affirmation of the other’s freedom rather than a
Ibsen’s authorship abounds with examples of contradictory and one-sided negation of it.
where this all goes wrong, but it is probably Love is the only situation in which every party
best to look at the optimistic exception, The is totally free and still within a horizon of
Lady from the Sea, to see what it looks like meaning, thus it is the only relationship in
which each party can maintain meaningful
when it all goes right.
The Lady From the Sea bears a striking responsibilities and, therefore, it is the only
resemblance to A Doll’s House in all but its viable foundation for a truly compulsory ethic.
Ibsen’s understanding of ethics is not sysending. Like Nora, Ellida feels trapped in a
bourgeois marriage that she doesn’t consider to tematic and abstract, but deeply personal. He
be ”true.” She is estranged from her stepchil- acknowledges the subjectivity and freedom of
dren and removed from the environment in the ethical agent but knows that his or her deciwhich she feels comfortable. Worst of all, sions are only meaningful if they involve
Ellida says that she didn’t come to this home of earnest interaction with another person, specifher own free will, and “in that phrase,” she tells ically the beloved. Most importantly, Ibsen’s
her husband, “lies everything.” As she sees it, ethic maintains a solid ought–a sense of
her only way to freedom is to “cancel the bar- responsibility that, though personal, is still
gain” with Wangel and confront the demons forcefully binding. These insights are, I think,
original and important contributions to current
from her past.
Although Wangel comes to understand that moral debate. Ibsen’s ethic fuses the underhe “never really knew” his own wife, he still standing of tradition one finds in contemporary
feels it is his duty to “protect” Ellida from her Virtue Ethics with the authenticity of
own freedom. At the close of act four, Wangel Existentialism; the latter keeps the whole from
bears foreboding resemblance to Torvald: he falling into solipsistic relativism and the forcannot truly love Ellida because he cannot take mer guards against reduction to postmodern
the miraculous and transformative leap, role-playing.
mented understanding of identity and interpersonal-relations. However, an additional element is present which accounts for and reconciles these discrepancies; it is the foundational
element of Ibsen’s ethics which Nora called
“the greatest miracle of all” – that is, of course,
The absence of Ibsen’s “transformative”
love is what drives Nora to leave, but its presence is what forces Peer’s return. Love reconciles the internal and the external, individuality
and commitment, narcissism and self-loathing:
all these seemingly opposing poles in both
Ibsen’s plays and our contemporary moral situation.
Love implies an earnest, passionate, andmost importantly-reciprocal commitment to
another person while concurrently requiring
mutual respect for the other’s unique individuality and individual freedom. Therefore, in
Ibsen’s plays and, I propose, in actual existence, love is the only relationship in which
1867 Writes and publishes Peer Gynt (first
performance at Christiania Theater on
February 24th 1876).
1868 Moves to Germany for seven years.
1869 The League of Youth is published.
Ibsen goes to Egypt and is present at the
opening of the Suez Canal.
1871 Publishes a collection of poems (Digte)
for the first and last time.
1873 Completes Emperor and Galilean.
1877 Pillars of Society written and first
staged at Det Kongelige (Royal) Teater in
Copenhagen. Awarded an honorary doctorate
at the University of Uppsala.
1878 Moves to Rome again and stays there
for seven years except for several breaks.
1879 Writes A Doll’s House
1881 Writes Ghosts (staged at the Aurora
Turner Hall in Chicago on May 20th 1882).
1882 Writes An Enemy of the People.
1884 Writes The Wild Duck.
1886 Writes Rosmersholm.
1888 Writes and publishes The Lady from
the Sea (first performed at Hoftheater in
Weimar and at Christiania Theater on the
same day, February 12th 1889).
1889 Last summer in Gossensass, Germany.
Gets to know Emilie Bardach.
1890 Writes and publishes Hedda Gabler
(first performed at the Residenztheater in
Munich on January 31st 1891).
1891 Returns to Norway and settles in
Christiania. Meets Hildur Andersen.
1892 Writes The Master Builder. Sigurd
Ibsen marries Bergliot Bjørnson.
1894 Writes and publishes Little Eyolf (first
staged at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin)
1895 Moves into apartment on the corner of
Arbiensgate and Drammensveien in
Kristiania where he lives for the rest of his
1896 Writes John Gabriel Borkman.
1898 70th birthday – large-scale celebrations
in Kristiania, Copenhagen and Stockholm.
1899 Writes When We Dead Awaken.
1900 Suffers his first stroke.
1906 Dies on May 23rd.
www.norway.org/ibsen | 7
Home of Peer Gynt
traditional long-table in a farm-house at Vinstra in Norway has
been set with the farm’s own cutlery, fresh meat of moose,
smoked salmon, and home-made sour cream. The aroma of
freshly brewed coffee seeps out from the kitchen, where 24-year-old
chef Tor Kramperud is in the finishing stages of tonight’s dinner. Mikkel
Dobloug, owner of the farm named Per Gynt Gaarden, retreats to his
desk in the library. 4,870 books line the walls. An old polar bear
skin adorns the floor. (see photo on opposite page)
On the wall hangs a portrait of Mikkel Dobloug’s
great-great-grandfather. The house is filled with antiquities, paintings, and remnants of a bygone era. But not a
single television. Cell phones are not allowed. The most
modern object in sight is a pair of antique binoculars
that rest on the windowsill. Looking through it out the
window you can see the mountains and the sun about to
go down behind the dense Norwegian forest. It doesn’t
take much to understand that this is a special place: In fact,
this is where the person who was the inspiration for Henrik
Ibsen’s infamous character Peer Gynt lived a few hundred years ago.
bsen traveled to Gudbrandsdalen in 1862 before going to Rome,
where he lived for four years and wrote Peer Gynt. When Ibsen submitted his famous play on August 8, 1867, he wrote to his publisher:
“It may interest you to know that Peer Gynt is a real person who lived
in Gudbrandsdalen, probably at the end of last century, or at the beginning of this century. His name is still well known in the local community.”
8 | news of norway | summer 2006
During the reformation in 1537 many Arch Bishops’ estates were
seized by the king and his minions. The farm at Vinstra was turned over
to noblemen. But the Norwegian nobility at the time was not on good
terms with its ruler – Danish King Fredrik. After several feuds the king
evicted the Norwegians from the farm and reinstated noblemen sworn
to his allegiance, in this case the German family Von Günther. This family ruled the farmland from 1557 to the 1800s. Passed from generation to generation, some owners were more successful in
running the farm than others. The 17th century owner Peder
Lauritzon Günth was more concerned with hunting, fishing, and chasing women, than with managing the estate.
The crazy stories he told, or became the subject of, made
him– as many people believe – the inspiration for Ibsen’s
Peer Gynt, written in 1887.
undred and fifty years later, in 1936, Mikkel
Dobloug’s great-grandmother and her husband, a
renowned opera-singer, bought the Hågå farm,
which is was then called. They had seen an intriguing ad in the paper,
announcing: “Peer Gynt’s farm for sale,” and brought a suitcase with
them containing 24,000 kroner in cash to buy the farm (Equivalent to
$3,000 based on today’s exchange rate). The farm quickly became a
popular place to gather for artists, celebrities, and royalty.
When World War II broke out Mikkel Dobloug’s mother lived in
Oslo with her parents. Suffocated by the German occupation and
rationed food, she looked forward to each time she could spend time at
the family farm – where she felt safe and free, and nutritious food was
abundant. Her strong bond to Hågå was passed on to her son. “I have
spent every weekend and vacation here since I was a child,” Mikkel
Doublog said. “There’s no lack of roots and great memories."
n 2001, when Mikkel was 22 years old,
tragedy struck. Both his parents died, his
mother of cancer and his father in an accident. Initially he was devastated, then found
a purpose. With a treasure-trove of memories
of weekends and summers at Hågå, he
made it his mission to restore the then dilapidated farm (maintenance had been neglected
during the post-war years) and turning it into
an exclusive guesthouse. “Initially it did not
seem like a blessing to leave the capital and
all of a sudden run a farm,” he said. “But I
understood that this was the way my life
would be and that, maybe, there was a purpose to it.”
quillity of the nature. Or take part in many activities like horseback riding, fishing, hunting, rafting, hiking in the mountains, or in the winter:
skiing or dog-sledding.”
here are currently nine bedrooms, another
20 to be added. Each room has its own
unique atmosphere – with traditional furniture, modern art, and family photos side by
Walking through the rooms is like traveling in
time. In a majestic bed Greta Garbo slept when
she visited after World War II. The late King
Olav V regularly stayed in the “King’s Room.”
Among the celebrities who have signed the
guest book after the restoration are Danish Queen
Margrethe and actress Liv Ullmann, who wrote:
“After many travels and a long life I finally found
Henrik Ibsen in a letter to his
a home offering hundreds of years of history
publisher upon submitting
from my country and at the same time tops any
modern 5-star hotel. I’m moved and impressed
Peer Gynt on August 8, 1867
that a young man has combined the very best that
ith his inheritance he put the 19
we, as guests, dream of! And leaves a guest of
buildings on the estate in proper
condition, employing local carpenters for several years. “I had Per Gynt Gaarden with a wish to be back soon – to dream on about how
to realize my mother’s dream of restoring the place – to restore life great life really can be.”
within the timber walls of these houses. I chose to turn it into a hotel, or
a guest house, if you will. Here you can come to enjoy the place, the history, and the beauty – traditional food, culture, and experience the tranFor more information please visit: www.pergynt.no
It may interest you to
know that Peer Gynt is a
real person who lived in
Gudbrandsdalen, probably
at the end of the last century, or at the beginning of
this century. His name is
still well known to the local
www.norway.org/travel | 9
high north
The 1800 people in Longyearbyen on Svalbard celebrate the
community’s 100 year anniversary this year. The American John
Munroe Longyear created the
first all-year community on the
island in 1906, after buying the
local coal mining business, which
is still in activity today. In April
the Svalbard Science Centre
opened. “Svalbard represents an
important part of Norway, there is
a magnificent natural habitat
there and we are able to get close
to important political questions
linked to sustainable management of resources,” Foreign
Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said.
If the possibility of humans living
in space is ever to be realized, we
need plants for oxygen and food
production. A greenhouse will
soon be aboard the International
Space Station (ISS), and it is the
Norwegian University of Science
and Technology (NTNU) that
will garden the plants. Biologists
at NTNU created the specially
designed greenhouse that will
catch a flight on space shuttle
Discovery this summer. In space,
the plants will receive water,
nutrition, light, and temperature
all regulated by the control center
in Trondheim, Norway, reports
the Norwegian Space Centre.
Queen Sonja presented the 2006
Abel Prize to Swedish mathematician Lennart Carleson in
May. Carleson (78) received the
Abel Prize worth $1 million for
his in-depth and innovative contributions to harmonic analysis
and the theory on dynamical systems. “German mathematician
Carl Friedrich Gauss once
described mathematics as the
queen of science, and for a servant of this queen like me to
stand here in these beautiful surroundings and receive the grand
Abel Prize from a real queen is
really an overwhelming event in
my life,” Carleson said.
Exhibiting a powerful set of
lungs, Norwegian Prince Sverre
Magnus was baptised at the
Palace Chapel in Oslo in March,
2006. He was held by his grandmother HM Queen Sonja during
the ceremony. Prince Sverre
Magnus was born December 3,
2005 at Rikshospitalet University
Hospital in Oslo, and is the son of
HRH Crown Prince Haakon
Magnus and HRH Crown
Princess Mette-Marit. The Prince
is third in line of succession to the
Norwegian throne, after his father
and sister, HRH Princess Ingrid
The five mile long Atlantic Road,
which tosses and turns along the
west coast of Norway, has been
voted the world’s best road trip
by British newspaper The
Guardian: “The Atlantic Road
zigzags across 12 low bridges
that jut out over the sea, linking
the islands between Molde and
Kristiansund in the western
fjords. The Hustadvika is an infamous stretch of ocean and when
in storm it’s fantastically dramatic.” Previously, Norway’s fjords
have been named the ‘world’s
best unspoiled travel destination’
and the Coastal Voyage the
‘world’s most beautiful boat trip’
10 | www.norway.org/news
abel prize
In the footsteps of Norwegian
explorer Thor Heyerdahl and his
Kon-Tiki expedition, the Tangaroa raft will retrace the route from
Peru across the Pacific. The six
man crew, which includes
Heyerdahl’s grandson, set sail
exactly 59 years after Kon-Tiki.
They are expected to reach Tahiti
in less than 100 days. “Tangaroa
got a magnificent farewell, with
Peruvian Navy canon salutes,”
the crew wrote in a log. On their
journey across the Pacific, the
crew will conduct research focusing on pollution and its effects on
the reproductive ability of animals and plants in the ocean.
royal family
Norwegian director Bobbie
Peers’ debut film “Sniffer” won
the Palm d’Or in the best short
film category at the Cannes Film
Festival. Competing with 2000
other short films, the 31 year old
Peers is the first Norwegian to
bring home the coveted Golden
Palm from Cannes. With the
award, Peers hopes to be able to
also make feature length films.
“I’ve written three features
already, which haven’t been
made. So I hope this is the chance
to get them made,” he said. The
winning film is about a society
where everyone can fly but
nobody does.
Todd Nichol, King Olav V
Professor of ScandinavianAmerican studies at St. Olaf
College, was awarded the rank of
Officer of the Royal Norwegian
Order of Merit in Minneapolis. It
was signed by King Harald and
Ambassador Knut Vollebaek.
“There is nothing more fun for an
Ambassador than to say thank
you to people who have served
our country well,” he said.
Professor Nichol’s grandparents
immigrated from Scandinavia.
“Norway House” at the Luther
Seminary was established largely
as a result of Nichol’s efforts.
The Sweetest Gift
When Canadian Sara Renner broke her ski pole during the
Turin Olympics, a Norwegian skiing coach came to the rescue
and helped her team win a silver medal. The Canadian people
repaid the good deed with 7,400 cans of maple syrup – each
with an individual thank-you note attached.
ut yourself in Canadian skier Sara Why is this such a big deal?”
However, in addition to all the e-mails and
Renner’s shoes for a minute: It’s the
Torino Olympics. You’re skiing in the letters, a group of sports fans devised a
cross country team relay. You’re in first place, uniquely Canadian way of saying thank you,
everything is going great, the crowd is cheer- with Canada’s national sweet treat, maple
ing you on, the sun is shining, you’re exhaust- syrup. People from all over Canada bought
ed but ecstatic: This is your moment, the cans of maple syrup, attached a personal
moment you have been training for since you thank you-note, and sent them to
were a child, and in just a few more yards, you Håkensmoen in Norway.
The result? 7,400 cans of maple syrup
will have an Olympic medal...
...And SNAP! One of your ski poles were given to Håkensmoen by Jillian Stirk,
Canadian Ambassador to Norway, in a cerebreaks in half.
Well, if you ever find yourself in Renner's mony at the Canadian Embassy in Oslo this
situation, you better hope that Norwegian ski- spring. The cans were eventually donated to
ing coach Bjørnar Håkensmoen is around. the Norwegian Cancer Society, and were disAs Renner – helpless and desperate – found tributed to people around Norway during a
herself being passed by one, two, then three tour along the coast on Hurtigruten, Norway’s
other skiers, Håkensmoen came to her rescue, handing her a new ski pole from the
sideline. With a brand new pole and a serious morale boost, Renner raced towards the
finish, eventually finishing the race to a silver medal, and the Norwegian skiers finishing in fourth place.
Håkensmoen didn’t think more of it,
and commented that anyone would have
done the same, since it is a general understanding among coaches that you help out
if an athlete’s equipment fails, and that it's
all based on a commitment to fair play.
Little did he know what his act would result
in, however.
During the course of the following days,
the Norwegian Embassy in Canada
received more than 700 letters, e-mails, and
telephone calls from Canadians from all
walks of life across all provinces and territories – among other from the new
Minister of Sport, the Honorable Michael TOP: Sara Renner and
D. Chong, as well as from the New Beckie Scott receive
Democratic Party’s MPs – who offered their silver medal.
their thanks. Håkensmoen was hailed a ABOVE: Illustration by
hero, and some even suggested he get a Janice Liddle, Ottawa.
gold medal for his display of olympic spir- ABOVE RIGHT:
it in a time when many are disillusioned Norwegian Ambassador
with the commercialization of sport.
to Canada, Tor B.
“It’s a little bit unusual for us to have Næss, serves waffles in
journalists and camera crews showing up Ottawa at “Norway
to interview us,” Norwegian Ambassador Day”
to Canada Tor Næss said. “News crews BOTTOM: Canadian
from several different channels, radios and Ambassador to Norway,
newspapers, they all wanted a piece of the Jillian Stirk, presents
the gift of 7,400 cans of
“We told the journalists that an act like maple syrup from the
this was completely normal for a Canadian people to
Norwegian, and that all the attention it Norwegian skiing coach
received in Canada really surprised us:
scenic coastal voyage.
Then, when Ambassador Næss was doing
a radio interview, he casually mentioned that
Norwegians aren’t too used to eating maple
syrup. This also created a surge of responses,
with the embassy receiving almost 1,000
recipes for dishes that included maple syrup.
“This event just goes to show how a small,
unexpected gesture can create a great reaction
around the world,” Ambassador Næss said.
“What happened in Turin meant unbelievably
much for how Canadians look at Norway and
“This warm response from Canadians has
been greatly appreciated by us at the
Embassy, and we were pleased to send
Håkensmoen a package containing all the emails, letters, and newspaper clippings.”
summer 2006 | news of norway | 11
what’s cooking
Dining with Henrik Ibsen
Head Chef at Per Gynt Gaarden, Tor Kramperud Arnesen,
has made it his mission to explore the diet of local farmers in the
1800s. At Per Gynt Gaarden, he serves food based exclusively
on ingredients found locally in the valley Gudbrandsdalen, and
on cookbooks from the period when Ibsen was alive.
compose menus based on old cook
books and prepare food that might
have been served in Gudbrandsdalen in the 1800s. These books
reveal a use of herbs, spices and vegetables that is mostly forgotten in
Norwegian cooking today. My mission is to revive these old recipes for
the palatable pleasure of the guests at
Per Gynt Gaarden.
Foreigners who traveled through
the area at that time describe a simple
and fairly basic cuisine, mostly consisting of flatbread; dried and cured
meat; milk-based dishes like soups
and different porridges; and otherwise the common elements of traditional Norwegian cuisine, like potatoes and herring. These travelers
would occasionally drop by unannounced and had to settle with whatever was available, usually food that
could be stored for a long time in
dried condition. Planned meals would
more commonly be based on fresh
meat or fish.
The time of year would determine
the menu. There were no fresh foods
in the fridge or fresh imported foods
like we're used to today. Potatoes and
other root crops were stored in cellars, and were portioned out to last
until the next fall. As soon as spring
arrived, however, fresh produce was
readily available: Both caraway and
nettle was used for soups, and
rhubarb grew quickly in spring, making it a good choice for soups, porridges and cake stuffing. These are
the premises for the menu below.
It is based on a planned meal,
made only with ingredients we know
were available in the Fron area
around the time of Ibsen. Again, the
season would largely determine the
menu: If the meal was in the fall, one
would have fresh meat from larger
game, like moose or reindeer, as well
as of different wild birds like grouse
and of rabbits.
If the meal was set just before
Christmas or in spring, the menu
would consist of fresh meat, like beef,
pork and lamb. A meal in the summertime would have more cured
meats, and more fresh fish. Meat
could be preserved by canning, but in
the 1800s, canning was a complicated
and time-consuming process, with tin
boxes filled with meat before sealed
and warmed up.
Now, Imagine Henrik Ibsen coming to the farm to absorb the atmosphere there, while writing a new play
set in the Fron area. He might have
been served the following menu:
traveled to Gudbrandsdalen in the 1860s. Using ingredients
available at the time, here is how I would have prepared dinner:
Caraway Soup
The caraway is gathered, rinsed and
chopped. Butter and wheat flour is heated,
and veal broth is added. The soup boils for 10
minutes before the caraway is added. Add
some salt and pepper, and serve with half a
boiled egg in each soup bowl.
First Main Course
Canned Grouse with
Mashed Potatoes
Grouses that are canned need to be flawless. They are plucked, divided into smaller
pieces and heat-treated. After that, they are
put along with the broth into cans, until the
cans are sealed and heat-treated again.
They're removed from the cans before preparing the dish, dipped in sour cream. They are
12 | www.norway.org/food
cooked in a skillet until brown, and kept
warm as the sauce is prepared.
The broth from the can is blended with
cream. The sauce is boiled and strained. The
grouse meat is put on a plate, and the sauce
poured on top.
Garnish: Mashed potatoes and boiled celery roots. The mashed potatoes are made by
pushing potatoes through a strainer, and
adding cream until the desired thickness is
reached. Salt and pepper added to taste.
Second Main Course:
Fried Mountain Trout with
Use fresh Mountain Trout of average size.
Gut it thoroughly and dry it in a piece of
cloth. Make small incisions in its skin, and
sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the inside.
Cook the trout until it is golden and the bones
let go. Serve immediately with flatbread and
whipped sour cream with shredded horseradish.
Rhubarb Omelet
5 egg yolks are stirred with 2-3 tablespoons of sugar, 2 fi ounces of melted butter
and 12 ounces of milk or cream. Add 2 fi
ounces of either wheat or potato flour. The 5
egg whites are whipped and added in last. 610 rhubarb stems are rinsed, diced and boiled
with sugar until it becomes porridge, but not
for too long. Add in a little more sugar to
taste. Cook in a pudding tin at maximum heat,
and serve with cane sugar.
See page 8 for more about Per Gynt Gaarden
Why “Emperor and Galilean” Still Matters
Although it is one of the writer’s leastenrik Ibsen believed in the transformation of the individual and that of socie- known plays, Ibsen himself always considered
ty. He was not afraid of destruction if it Emperor and Galilean his “most important
could produce something radically new. In work” [hovedverk]. Subtitled “A world-histor1870, while Ibsen was living in Germany, war ical play,” and set during the period from 351
broke out between France and Prussia, and it to 363 A.D., Emperor and Galilean is about
rapidly became clear that France was losing the Roman emperor Julian the Apostate, who
the war. In December 1870, Ibsen, a French renounced Christianity and tried to return the
sympathizer, excitedly wrote to Danish intel- Roman empire to the ancient Greek gods.
Ibsen intended his “world-historical” play to
lectual Georg Brandes:
“Besides, the world events occupy a great be a parallel of Europe in his own time. But it
remains eerily reledeal
vant today, for this
thoughts. The old
is a play preoccuillusory France has
pied with warfare,
been smashed to
revolt, terrorism,
pieces, when finaldictatorship,
ly the new factual
cataclysmic historiPrussia is smashed
cal and cultural
to pieces too, then
change, as well as
in one leap we
with historical transhall be in an age
sition and the search
of becoming. How
for meaning in a
the ideas then will
world where God is
collapse around
dead and traditional
us! And it will
values have lost
truly be high time.
their grip. In the
end, Julian dies on
have been living
on until today
Mesopotamia – in
amounts to no
the country we now
more than the
call Iraq – killed by
crumbs from last
a Christian fanatic
century’s revoluhell-bent on martyrtionary table, and
that nourishment
There is an enorhas been chewed
mous discrepancy
over for long
between the attenenough. The contion Ibsen wanted us
cepts need a new
Toril Moi is a Professor of Literature and
to pay to Emperor
content and a new
Romance Studies at Duke University.
and Galilean and
Freedom, equality and fraternity are no longer the neglect it has suffered. There have been
the same things they were in the days of the very few productions of this magnificent work.
It is true that Ibsen wrote the play as a closet
blessed guillotine.”
Ibsen sounds positively cheerful about the drama (a play intended to be read), because
destruction of old regimes and ideals. They, 19th-century stage technology could not cope
like the dinosaurs and the dodo bird, are with the production of a 10-act play with great
doomed to extinction: This is cause for joy, not narrative sweep and stunningly spectacular
sorrow, for what truly matters is the birth of the scenes. Today, however, technology is no
obstacle, and plays of a similar nature, and of
new, the creation of a transformed world.
The war killed 187,500 French and German similar scope are often performed. In 2000, the
soldiers, and more than 30,000 Parisians were National Theater in London produced an
slaughtered in the brutal repression of the impressively lean and fast-paced version of
Commune in May, 1871. That two of the most David Edgar’s Speer, which charts the rise and
economically and culturally advanced coun- fall of the Third Reich, and in 2002 it produced
tries of Europe could engage in slaughter on Tom Stoppard’s The Coast of Utopia, a trilogy
such a scale shook Europeans to the core. that took more than nine hours to perform.
Emperor and Galilean is about the corrupHowever appalled Ibsen may have been at the
horrors of 1871, he knew how to mobilize the tion of the purest ideals, about the abuse of
energy produced by horror for creative work. power, and about religious fanaticism and
Less than two months after the fall of the Paris madness: Today the right director could work
Commune, he began serious work on the enor- marvels with Henrik Ibsen’s “most important
mous historical play, Emperor and Galilean.
Henrik Ibsen and the
Birth of Modernism
By Toril Moi
Published in August, 2006 by
Oxford University Press
Henrik Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism
situates Ibsen in his cultural context,
emphasizes his position as a Norwegian in
European culture, and shows how important
painting and other visual arts were for his
aesthetic education. The book rewrites literary history, reminding modern readers that
idealism was the dominant aesthetic paradigm of the nineteenth century. Modernism
was born in the ruins of idealism, Moi
argues, thus challenging traditional theories
of the opposition between realism and modernism.
By reading Ibsen’s modernist plays as
investigations of the fate of love in an age of
skepticism, Moi shows why Ibsen still matters to us. In this book, Ibsen’s plays are
showed to be profoundly concerned by theater and theatricality, both on stage and in
everyday life. Ibsen’s unsettling explorations of women, men and marriage here
emerge as chronicles of the tension between
skepticism and the everyday, and between
critique and utopia in modernity.
This radical new account places Ibsen in
his rightful place alongside Baudelaire,
Flaubert and Manet as a founder of
European modernism.
Toril Moi is James B. Duke Professor of
Literature and Romance Studies at Duke
University. Her most recent book, Henrik
Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism, will be
published by Oxford University Press in the
fall of 2006.
Agnete Øye’s Norwegian translation of the
book, entitled Ibsens modernisme, was published by Pax Forlag in Oslo in May.
ibsen 2006 | news of norway | 13
An Enemy of the People
August 29 - October 22.
Shakespeare Theatre Company,
Washington DC.
Info: 202-547-1122
(See page 16 for more)
Peer Gynt in Central Park
NEW YORK, October 6-7
Little Eyolf
August 17 - September 10
Info: 619-246-4854
festivals & plays
Info: 701-852-2368.
The Wild Duck at BAM
NEW YORK, October 25 - 29
Directed by Eirik Stubø. The
standout cast of Norway's
Nationaltheateret brings a rich
humanity to Ibsen's highly
metaphorical drama in a distinctly
nuanced performance. BAM
Harvey Theater, Brooklyn, NY.
Info: 718-636-4100
Tour Norway in Ibsen's Footprints
NORWAY, July 26 - August 9
Info: 507-467-2905 ext 208 or
[email protected]
or visit http://vesterheim.org/travel/Tours_Norway.php
2006 marks the 100th anniversary
of the death of the Norwegian
playwright Henrik Ibsen. His life
and work will be commemorated
throughout the year, which in
Norway has been named the
“Ibsen Year.” For updated information about plays and festivals, see
Hedda Gabler
OLNEY, MD., Through July 23
Info: 301-924-3400
Through August 6
Info: 630-357-6509
Ibsen/Fosse 2006: Two Master
Norwegian Playwrights –
100 Years Apart
NEW YORK, Aug. 5 - Sept. 9
A musical performance of Henrik
Ibsen's Peer Gynt with Norwegian
actors from the Vinstra production,
directed by Svein Sturla Hungnes.
Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite
performed by The American
Symhony Orchestra.
Delacorte Theater, Central Park,
Info: 212- 534-1241
(See page 16 for more)
Peer Gynt
NEW YORK, October 6 - 9
BLUE LAKE, CALI., Sept. 8-17
SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 21-24
MINNEAPOLIS, MN. Sept. 29-Oct. 2
The American theatre company
Dell'Arte collaborates with the
Danish Jomfru Ane Teatret in a
new production of Peer Gynt.
Info: 707-668-5663
The Master Builder
October 10 - December 11
Info: 818-240-0910
Oslo Elsewhere presents this double-header, uniting Norway's two
most lauded theatrical innovators
– past and present – in two new
idiomatic American translations:
Ibsen's Rosmersholm and Fosse's
Info: 212-279-4200
Hedda Gabler at BAM
November 28 - December 2
Info: 718-636-4100
Rolf Stang as Ibsen
MINOT, N.D., October 11 - 14
Actor Rolf Stang performs daily as
Ibsen for visitors at Norsk
14 | news of norway | summer 2006
Info: 212-3400874
Evenings with Ibsen at the
Norwegian Seamen's Church
NEW YORK, Last Tuesday of
every month
Selected works by Ibsen will be
read, followed by discussion.
Info: 212-319-0370
Toril Moi: Henrik Ibsen's
Remarkable Modernity
NEW YORK, October 18
Ibsen scholar Moi will lecture at
the New York Public Library.
Info: 212-340-0874
(See page 13 for more about Moi)
Toril Moi: Hedda Gabler: Modernity,
Marriage and the Everyday
NEW YORK, Oct. 19
Moi will lecture at Deutches Haus,
Columbia University.
Info: 212-854-4015
(See page 13 for more about Moi)
BAMtalk: Ibsen in the 21st Century
NEW YORK, Oct 28
With a panel consisting of director
Eirik Stubø, professor Joan
Templeton and others at the BAM
Hillman Attic Studio, Brooklyn, NY
Info: 718-636-4100
or [email protected]
Professor Joan Templeton: Two
Great Norwegian Modernists:
Edvard Munch's Illustrations of
Henrik Ibsen's Plays.
NEW YORK, Nov. 8
Templeton lectures at the New
York Public Library.
At the Shaw Theatre Festival
ONTARIO, July 15 - October 7
The production is part of the 2006
festival season and the International Ibsen Centennial.
Info: 905-468-2172
Ibsen Focus Weekend at the
Shaw festival
ONTARIO, August 12-13
Reading directed by Lorne Pardy
of Ibsen's poems will be given.
Lecture by Kjetil Bang-Hansen on
the 13th. Concerts by mezzosoprano Ingebjørg Kosmo accompanied by Paul Sportelli both
Info: 905-468-2172
Ghosts at the Stratford Theatre
August 12 - September 24
Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts, directed by
Stephen Ouimette will be playing
at the Tom Patterson Theatre this
season featuring Martha Henry as
Mrs Alving. The Festival also
includes an Ibsen Poster Exhibit.
Info: 519-271-4040
Peer Gynt, Blackbird Theatre
VANCOUVER, B.C., Sept. 8 - 27
John Wright directs this production of Peer Gynt translated into
English by Errol Durbach,
renowned Ibsen scholar and
Professor at UBC in Vancouver.
The production also has an educational purpose in that High
School drama students are understudies for the production and will
present their own staging of the
play during the run of it.
Info: 604-734-5273
Ibsen Centenary Lecture at
University of Calgary
CALGARY, October 16
Visiting Professor Katherine E.
Kelly (Texas A&M University)
gives lecture entitled "Pandemic
and Performance: The Ibsen
Info: [email protected]
Little Eyolf, University of
SASKATOON, November.
Seminar on Ibsen at the
Department of Drama.
Info: [email protected]
For a complete and
updated calendar of
events please visit
east coast
Vibeke Jensen in "I can't quite
place it…"
NEW YORK, Through July 16
Jim Stärk in Concert
NEW YORK, Sept. 6
Norwegian trio Jim Stärk will play
at club Sin-é.
Info: 212-388-0077
Gro Jarto and Morten Krogvold
Info: 212-319-0370
Jan Groth at MoMA
NEW YORK, Through October 2
Info: (212) 708-9400
or www.moma.org
Lage Lund at European Dream
NEW YORK, Oct. 30
Guitarist Lage Lund will play jazz
at the Lincoln Center.
Info: 212-258-9800
"Maya" Design in New York
NEW YORK, Through October 29
The Norwegian cutlery design
"Maya" is featured at the exhibit
"Feeding Desire: Design and the
Tools of the Table, 1500-2005."
Info: 212-849-8400
west coast
Vibeke Jensen presents her
installation "If You See, Something
Say" at Dumbo in Brooklyn
Info: 718-834-8761
Tore Hogstvedt at Agora Gallery
Norway Run / Norwegian
Festival in Central Park
NEW YORK, October 1
The annual celebration of Norwegian culture and physical fitness, The Norwegian Festival Day
in Central Park is organized by the
Royal Norwegian Consulate
General in New York in co-operation with the New York Road
Runners Club and New York City
Recreation. Central Park, East
Drive at 70th Street, NYC.
Info: Royal Norwegian Consulate
General New York: 212-421-7333
Surface Stances at Nordic
Heritage Museum
SEATTLE, WASH. Through Aug. 6
Norsk Høstfest
MINOT, ND. October 10-14
America's friendliest festival dishes up a dazzling smorgasbord of
music and comedy with a delightful line-up of musical legends at
the Great Hall.
Info: 701-852-2368
Appearing at Norsk Høstfest:
Rolf Stang as Ibsen
MINOT, N.D., October 11 - 14
Actor Rolf Stang performs daily as
Ibsen for festival visitors
Info: 701-852-2368.
Appearing at Norsk Høstfest:
Jeanne Bøe – Ibsen monologue
MINOT, N.D., October 11 - 14
Bøe premiers her monologue
based on Ibsen’s Peer Gynt,
called “Peer Gynt – With troll in
Info: 206-789-5707
Maia Urstad's Sound Barrier at
Prefix Institute
Norwegian Band Alog at the San
Fran. Electronic Music Festival
SAN FRANCISCO, August 10-13
Info: http://www.sfemf.org/
Sissel Kyrkjebø Tours the U.S.
dinner & dance
NEW YORK, Through July 19
His work has often been compared to the French impressionists Monèt, Sisley and Pisarro.
Info: 212-226-4151
Thomas Pihl at Galerie Lelong
NEW YORK CITY, Through Aug 4
Info: 212-315-0470
A Visual Journey Through Inner
NEW YORK, through Sept. 3
Håkon Bleken, Tone Dietrichson,
Norwegian Folk Dance
SEATTLE, WASH., Aug. 16 - 20
Join the Norwegian Folkdancing
group Folkedanslaget Solja for a
wild salmon dinner, followed by a
performance by Folkedanslaget
Solja and later dancing for everyone. Proceeds benefit the educational
Folkedans Stemne.
Info: 206-772-4545.
NEW YORK, Oct. 4
ALBANY, N.Y. Oct 6
ST. LOUIS, MO. Oct. 10
Norwegian super-soprano Sissel
is touring the U.S. with her trademark blend of the classical and
the modern.
Info: www.sissel.net
Fred Jonny Berg's flute concerto
WASHINGTON, D.C. October 5-7
Rossini, Mozart, Strauss and ...
Fred Jonny Berg. Norwegian composer Berg joins the ranks of the
masters when his Flute Concerto
is performed at the prestigous
Kennedy Center in Washington,
D.C., in October.
Info: 202-467-4600
TORONTO, Through July 29
Info: 416-591-0357
Toronto Beaches International
Jazz Festival
Norway Day
Norwegian National League sponsors its 74th annual Norway Day.
Arts & crafts, ethnic food, children's
American entertainment, Nordkap
Male Chorus and Norwegian Glee
Club. Drawings for prizes.
Info: 952-832-0164
Nordic Fest
DECORAH, IA, July 27, 28, & 29
In 2006, Nordic Fest celebrates its
40th anniversary. Since 1967,
more than 1 1/2 million visitors
from throughout the country have
attended the festival.
Info: 563-382-3990
[email protected]
TORONTO, July 21 - 30
Norwegian acts include Zanussi
Five, Wibutee, and Ralph Myerz &
Jack Herren Band.
Info: 416-698-2152
Lanaudiere Festival
QUEBEC, July 8 - August 6
Norwegian Mezzo soprano Randi
Stene in concert July 28.
Info: www.lanaudiere.org
Shaw Festival
ONTARIO, August 11-12
Norwegian Mezzosoprano
Ingebjørg Kosmo in concert.
Info: www.shawfest.com/2006/
www.norway.org | 15
news of norway
Washington, D.C.
Permit No. 251
Royal Norwegian Embassy
2720 34th. St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 333-6000
cover photo
The Norwegian
playwright strolling
down Karl Johans
gate (street) at the
turn of the century.
“Peer Gynt” in Central Park, NY
his October, you can enjoy
the best of Norwegian theater, music, nature, and
food, when Ibsen’s Peer Gynt is
performed in Central Park. Peer,
one of Ibsen’s most well-known
and well-traveled characters,
made it as far as Morocco and
Egypt in his journeys. This
October he makes it all the way to
Central Park in New York City
for the first time, in a concert version of Peer Gynt at the Delacorte
Theater’s outdoor stage.
The two-hour show will feature the American Symphony
Orchestra performing Edvard
Grieg’s famous Peer Gynt music
with eight actors and a large
choir, along with images from
Gålå – Peer Gynt’s home in
Norway. The performance, on
October 6 and 7, is led by
Norwegian director Svein Sturla
Hungnes, and is based on a traditional annual performance of the
same play in Gålå, Norway.
Hungnes will also play the leading role as Peer, who leaves his
parish to travel the world, only to
return from all the adventures to
Norway, where Solveig, his love,
has been waiting for him. In addi-
tion to seeing and hearing the
play, the performance will also
cater to the audience’s taste buds:
The performance features a menu
of traditional Norwegian gourmet
food, prepared by renowned chef
Arne Brimi, based on his philosophy on the original
Norwegian taste.
Peer Gynt was
Ibsen lived in
Italy, and was
first published in
Copenhagen in
1867. Originally,
it was not intended
to be a play at all, but
was written as a novel. A
few years later, however, Ibsen
changed his mind, asking composer Edvard Grieg to write
music for the novel, adapting it
into a musical drama. The first
performance of Peer Gynt was at
Christiania Theater (Oslo was
formerly known as Christiania) in
February 1876, and was an enormous success.
Peer Gynt
October 6-7
Delacorte Theater,
Central Park, New York
Tickets: (212) 534-1241
“An Enemy of the People” in DC
hat do you get when
you cross the premier
classic theater of the
U.S. with the premier classic
playwright of Norway? Come
find out yourself when the
Shakespeare Theatre Company
performs Ibsen’s An Enemy
of the People in
Washington D.C. this
Theatre debut when
Shakespeare cast in a new
adaptation of Ibsen’s play by
Nicholas Rudall. And Ibsen himself could hardly have asked for a
more fitting director: BangHansen is a former artistic director of “Den Nationale Scene,”
one of Norway’s three national
theaters, and the theater where
Ibsen himself spent the early
years of his career as writer-inresidence from 1851-57.
”I am still somewhat uncertain as to whether to call it a comedy or a drama,” Ibsen said of An
ibsen plays
Enemy of the People in 1882. “It
has many of the features of a
comedy, but a serious idea behind
it.” With its theme of the majority versus the dissenting individual, the play’s subject matter is as
relevant today as it was when it
was first published in 1882. In it,
Dr. Stockmann discovers that the
water in his town’s spa is contaminated, and is convinced that they
must be closed until the water is
safe. However, the press and the
local inhabitants turn against him
when they realize that correcting
the problem will cost a great deal,
and possibly jeopardize the spa’s
The play questions whether
the majority is always right, and
challenges the audience to be
independent thinkers, and thus,
An Enemy of the People, as
directed by an Ibsen expert, is a
must-see performance.
An Enemy of the People
August 29 – October 22
Lansburgh Theatre, 450 7th
St. NW, Washington, D.C.
Tickets: (202) 547-1122