Tuesday 22 February 2022

Aria Borealis Bodø: new singing competition and Early Music festival based in the only city within the Arctic Circle

Bodø (Photo Carl Erik Nyvold)
Bodø (Photo Carl Erik Nyvold)

Bodø is a compact city just North of the Arctic Circle in Norway; the Northern-most city in the world and the only one within the Arctic Circle. It is a place to enjoy awe-inspiring natural landscape beneath an Arctic midsummer’s never-setting sun. But this year the launch of a new festival, the punningly named Aria Borealis Bodø, will be drawing Early Music lovers too. From 24 June to 2 July 2022 the city will be hosting the Aria Borealis Bodø International Competition for Early Music Singers and a companion festival of Early Music.

The idea behind the combined competition and festival is to take eight winners of the competition and place them with an ensemble of  historically informed performance specialists and treat them as equal partners in chamber-scale performances. Audiences will be able to follow the creative process as it unfolds from rehearsals to concerts, and discover more about the collaborative art of interpretation as the nine-day event unfolds.

The competition is open to singers born in 1985 or after, and eight singers have been chosen via a digital round that attracted over 100 entrants from 39 countries and the winners were selected by the jury which included soprano Dame Emma Kirkby, harpsichordist and Artistic Director of Concerto Copenhagen Lars Ulrik Mortensen, Theater an der Wien director Stefan Herheim, Finnish soprano Tuuli Lindeberg and Swedish tenor Anders J. Dahlin. 

At the festival the competition will have two live rounds, the first consisting of rehearsals and a concert with a chamber ensemble. For the second, contestants will compete in teams and act together in short scenes from a Baroque opera, oratorio or cantata with full orchestra and stage direction, which will lead to their second-round competition performance in Stormen Concert Hall Saturday, 2 July. Both rounds will be streamed live.

There is also a programme of lectures, concerts, talks, masterclasses and more, including performances from members of the jury, as well as the Aria Borealis Bodø Sessions, a course involving music students and amateur and professional musicians. Concerts and other sessions will be streamed to broaden the audience reach far beyond Bodø.

The inaugural Aria Borealis Bodø represents a pioneering collaboration between Nordic Baroque Scene (NBS), a network formed by the four leading Nordic Baroque orchestras, and Bodø’s Stormen Culture Centre, a concert hall, library and multi-purpose performance space opened in 2014. The competition winners will work with a pool of players drawn from Nordic Baroque Scene’s four constituent ensembles: Concerto Copenhagen, the Finnish Baroque Orchestra, Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble and Barokkanerne (Norwegian Baroque Ensemble).

Full details from the festival website.

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