Opera to the People

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If you’re in Oslo during the seasons February through April and September through November, you may enjoy quality opera performances every Saturday for just about 13 USD.

Opera to the People is now in its 13th year, having rented the stage on the second floor of the old Oslo City Hall which dates back to 1641.

Performances are mostly by students from the Oslo Opera College and freelance singers, administered by the opera singer Gjøril Songvoll, who sometimes participates on the scene as one of the opera’s characters.
090315-Gjoril- Songvoll

“My motivation for doing this is twofold,” says Songvoll to Daily Scandinavian. “Firstly, we want the students to get experience, standing in front of a public. Secondly, we want people in general to know how beautiful the opera genre actually is. I noticed a statistic some years ago, claiming that just 10 percent of the population liked opera, while 90 percent liked football. Today the statistics show that 15 percent like opera. This is probably not due to Opera to the People but more likely to our new opera house at Bjorvika.

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Performances begin at 3.30 p.m. lasting for one and a half hours including two to  three short intermissions. The bar is open, serving mineral water, beer, wine and some snacks.

Audiences are a mix of members (some attend every performance!), opera lovers and just people like you and me passing by.

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We attended the opera a Saturday in February, thoroughly enjoying excerpts from Verdi’s La Traviata. The brilliant singers were Hanne Korsbrekke Askeland, soprano (make a note of her name), Knut Kristian Mohn, tenor and Sigmund Aasjord, baritone. Ieva Berzini brilliantly played the piano.

Hanne Korsbrekke-Askeland, soprano
Hanne Korsbrekke-Askeland, soprano

 

Knut Mohn, tenor
Knut Mohn, tenor

 

Sigmund Asajord, barytone
Sigmund Asajord, barytone

The venue houses less than 100 guests, so it’s recommended to arrive in good time.

Ieva Berzina, piano
Ieva Berzina, piano

 

 

 

 

 

 

All portrait photographs, courtesy by Opera to the People.
Text and other images: Tor Kjolberg