Queen Sonja at the Mela Festival
On commission from the festival organisers, Wergelands poems were set to music and performed by Pakistani singer and composer Rafaqat Ali Khan together with Norwegian musicians. The works were sung in the original Norwegian and in Punjabi and Urdu. The recreations into Punjabi and Urdu were the work of renowned Pakistani lyricist Massod Munawer.
The opening of the festival also included another commissioned work, EYE3D, a collaborative project between choreographer Ella Christina Fiskum and dancer Sudesh Adhana. The piece combined elements of modern dance, acrobatics and ballet in a dialogue with film music and song. The theme reflects Wergelands epic poem, Creation, Humanity and the Messiah which placed love in the context of the cosmos.
The dance troupe Palestinian Roots from the Rashedieh refugee camp in southern Lebanon also performed featuring young dancers between the ages of 13-19. The troupe is very popular in Lebanon, and performs regularly both nationally and internationally.
Songwriter and entertainer Odd Børretzen was among the first Norwegians to write songs reflecting over how Norwegian society has met its growing immigrant population. Børretzen performed his own texts during the Mela opening, in collaboration with Lars Martin Myhre.
The King and Queen opened the new MUNCH
"I think that I speak for all of us when I say that we have been looking forward to this day! It is finally possible for us to gather together, and soon the great doors will open up a new attraction – not just for our capital city, but for Norway, and for the world," said His Majesty The King.
Congratulations from His Majesty King Harald to His Excellency Mr Alar Karis, President of the Republic of Estonia.