Tuesday 30 November 2021

Herr Arnes penningar: Göteborg Opera revives rarely performed opera by 20th century Swedish composer Gösta Nystroem

Gösta Nystroem's opera Herr Arnes penningar at Göteborg Opera

Swedish composer Gösta Nystroem (1890-1966) studied composition in Stockholm, Copenhagen and Paris, and in Paris his teachers included Vincent D'Indy and Leonid Sabanayev. Nystroem is not a well-known name today, though in the 1930s his music was regarded as modernist in Sweden.

In 1959 his opera Herr Arnes penningar (Mr Arne's Money) was created as a radio play and first staged in 1961 in Gothenberg, where Nystroem lived for most of his life after his return from Paris. In 2017, Göteborg Opera gave a concert performance of the opera which received critical acclaim and now the company is planning to stage it in 2022 as part of the city's 400th anniversary celebrations.

Herr Arnes penningar is based on Swedish writer Selma Lagerlöf's novel of the same name, dating from 1904. Lagerlöf was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the novel tells a somewhat macabre story, a riveting tale of murder, stolen treasure and ill-fated love set in the bleak and supernatural wintery landscape of the medieval Gothenburg region.

Nystroem's output includes six symphonies, concertos, chamber music and songs, but Herr Arnes penningar seems to be his only opera.

The production will be directed by Mattias Ermedahl and conducted by Patrik Ringborg with a cast including Julia Sporsen, and it debuts on 19 February 2022. Full details from the Göteborg Opera website.

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