Bergen International Festival in progress

During the Bergen International Festival, one can enjoy cultural events in everything from an old trolley-bus to the extravagant home of deceased violinist Ole Bull. In 13 days there will be 165 cultural events at the annual festival, and both international and Norwegian artists will perform throughout the city.

24 May- 5 June, a period the western Norwegians often consider the most beautiful time on Norway's coast, Bergen will be filled to the rim with cultural activities and events suitable to all preferences. Performers of music, ballet, opera, theatre and other performing arts, will take over the city in what is one of Norway's biggest cultural events.

The international focus will also be tied to historical Norwegian artists. The living-room where Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) once played his now legendary pieces, will be opened for contemporary musicians to test Grieg's own Steinway grand piano. And in the concert hall Troldsalen there is a giant window behind the stage that enables the audience to view Grieg's cabin while enjoying the music. Violinist Ole Bull's (1810-1880) flamboyant home on Lysøen will also house several musical performances in the weeks ahead.

According to the organisers of the festival, the program is meant to first and foremost be an addition to the existing cultural scene, and not merely represent already known concerts and performances.

The use of an old trolley-bus "Trollofon" as a concert hall definitely contributes to an environment of creation and innovation. Musicians can experience the unusual atmosphere of maximum 33 passengers/ audience members in a cart slowly making its way up the steep hills of Bergen.

In addition to a focus on the creative use of concert venues, the International Festival also has ambitions of becoming a festival of international standing, particularly in a European setting. The Festival, first organised in 1953, sets comprehensive goals for the years ahead.

"The International Festival will become the most important meeting place for creative and performing artists in the Nordic countries and the Baltic," said the festival director Per Boye Hansen.

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Henrik Ibsen's play "Peer Gynt" is one of the theatre productions at the Bergen International Festival.Photo: Bergen International Festival.

Norwegian violinist Arve Tellefsen will perform at Lysøen where Ole Bull once lived.Photo: Bergen International Festival.

Both handicapped and ablebodied dancers perform in the piece "State of being".Photo: Bergen International Festival.