The 64th Bergen International Festival
Her Majesty The Queen attended the opening of the Bergen International Festival in Torgallmenningen City Square today. The festival will last for 15 days.
“Borders” is the theme of this year’s festival, and will be the common denominator for the 300 events on the programme. The festival includes music and theatre, opera, dance and exhibitions, with events for children and adults alike.
Opening ceremony at Torgallmenningen
The formal opening ceremony was held in Torgallmenningen City Square in Bergen city centre, with speeches by Prime Minister Erna Solberg and the Mayor of Bergen, Ms Marte Mjøs Persen, who undertook the official opening. The ceremony also gave the festival audience a taste of the cultural events to come during the next two weeks.
In keeping with tradition, the programme also included a performance of Norway’s national anthem, “Ja, vi elsker dette landet”, and the city of Bergen’s own anthem, “Sang til Bergen” (commonly known as “Nystemten”).
Luncheon in Håkon’s Hall
Following the opening ceremony, Queen Sonja continued on to Håkon’s Hall to attend the traditional luncheon hosted by Bergen Municipality in honour of the Bergen International Festival.
Håkon’s Hall is the larger of the two stone halls erected by King Håkon Håkonsson. Construction of the banqueting hall was completed in time for the marriage of his son, Magnus Lagabøte, in 1261. His Majesty King Harald was in attendance at the celebration of the 750th anniversary of the hall in 2011.
Today Queen Sonja was met by salutes and an honour guard from the Haakonsvern naval base on her arrival at Bergenhus Fortress.
Opening concert in Grieg Hall
This evening, the Queen will attend the festival’s opening concert in Grieg Hall, where she will see a performance of the film Powaqqatsi – Life in Transformation, with a full orchestra and the composer himself, Mr Philip Glass, on stage. Powaqqatsi (1988) is the second part of the film trilogy Qatsi directed by Godfrey Reggio. The first part of the trilogy, Koyaanisqatsi, opened the Bergen International Festival in 2010.
The performance is a musical collaboration between the Philip Glass Ensemble and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, with the participation of the Bergen Boys’ Choir and the Bergen Girls’ Choir.
Congratulations are presented today from His Majesty King Harald to His Excellency Mr Egils Levits, President of the Republic of Latvia.
World Heritage at Vega
In 2004, UNESCO inscribed the Vega Archipelago on the World Heritage List. Today His Royal Highness The Crown Prince was in attendance to open the new Vega Archipelago World Heritage Centre – Norway’s first authorised centre of its kind.