Opening concert with big contrasts

Opening concert Festspillene i Elverum

Terningen arena, Friday August 4th 6:00 PM (Buy ticket)

Conductor: Christian Eggen

Soloist: Aksel Rykkvin, boy soprano

Big contrasts: From The Creation and heaven to cunning seductions and murder

The Norwegian National Youth Orchestra wish you all welcome to an opening concert containing big contrasts. The unique young talent Aksel Rykkvin with impressive vocal skills, brings us in to the Creation as the angel Gabriel singing about the third day when God created plants, fruits and flowers. Mahler´s “Das himmlische Leben” describes heaven from a childrens view, and to listen to this movement performed by a marvellous boy soprano is going to be an extraordinary experience.

Béla Bartóks “The Miraculous Mandarin”, on the other hand, deals with moral banned themes such as prostitution, scam, eroticism and murder. The work is a one act pantomime ballet composed in 1918-1919, but performed for the first time in 1926. The premiere became a scandal and the work was banned on moral ground. Originally composed for a pantomime, the music is descriptive, powerful and underlining the storyline. Based on Melchior Lengyel´s story the plot, in short terms, is based on three rakes who uses a young girl who seduce and attrack passing men, invites them in and then the rakes rob them. Most of the victims doesn´t have any money, but when a rich, wealthy Chinese, a Mandarin, comes in, it creates trouble and it all ends with a murder.

Welcome to an opening concert with big contrast from heavenly light to the darkest, from creation to death, from the innocent to the morally reprehensible.


Johannes Rusten (f. 1984-): Overture to Elverum

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809): “Nun beut die Flur” from Die Schöpfung (The Creation)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791): “Voi che sapete” from The Marriage of Figaro

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: “Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio“ from The Marriage of Figaro

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911): Das himmlische Leben


Béla Bartók (1881-1945): The Miraculous Mandarin, op. 19

Aksel Rykkvin:

Photo: Kaupo Kikkas

Aksel Rykkvin (b. 2003) is a 14 years old classically trained boy soprano with extensive soloist and choir experience from the Children’s Chorus of the Norwegian National Opera and Oslo Cathedral Boys’ Choir. He is the most requested boy soloist in Norway for operas, festivals and concerts, has a large following in social media, and is becoming more and more recognized internationally. Aksel won the prestigious Norwegian Music Competition for Youth in 2016/17, earning the title «Musician of the Year». Aksel’s first solo album, recorded with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in London, was released on Signum Classics. The album was nominated to «Spellemannprisen», the most important award of the Norwegian recording industry, as «Newcomer of the Year».

Aksel started out in Oslo Cathedral Boys’ Choir as a five year old, where he was taught by voice teacher Helene Haarr. Since 2013, he has also sung in the Children’s Chorus of the Norwegian Opera & Ballet, conducted by Edle Stray-Pedersen. Aksel attends the talent program «Music at Majorstuen school», which is run by the Barratt Due Institute of Music together with the City Of Oslo. From 2013, Marianne Lewis has been his main vocal teacher, both at the Opera and at Majorstuen.

Aksel has been invited as a soloist with the most important Norwegian orchestras. In March 2016, Aksel achieved international acclaim for his interpretation of «The boy» in Rolf Wallin’s science fiction opera «Elysium» at the Norwegian Opera & Ballet. The Financial Times wrote that Aksel was «freakishly good, with a musical assurance and richness of tone that are almost superhuman» and Frankfürter Allgemeine called him an «outstanding, fabulously confident boy soprano». For spring 2017, Aksel has been cast in one of the greatest boy roles in the opera literature, as «Yniold» in Debussy’s «Pélleas et Mélisande» at The Norwegian Opera & Ballet.

Christian Eggen:

Photo: Tom Sandberg

Christian Eggen is a conductor, pianist and composer, who studied in Vienna, Salzburg, Oslo, Paris and New York. He made his piano debut at the age of 16 and placed himself fast among our foremost pianists. The CD release with Carl Nielsen’s piano works in 1994 set a new standard, wrote the Danish newspaper Politiken. Today, Christian Eggen is one of Europe’s leading conductors for contemporary music and performs regularly with ensembles such as the German musikFabrik and the French Ensemble InterContemporaine. Eggen has worked closely with a great number of composers, some of the most important of our time: Cage, Lutoslawski, Xenakis, Lachenmann, Kurtág, Lindberg, Saariaho, Bent Sørensen, to name a few. His work with Oslo Sinfonietta and Cikada has brought these to become some of the leading Nordic ensembles today. In 2005 he and the Cikada group received the Nordic Council Music Prize.

As a composer, Christian Eggen has a wide range. His production includes theater and film music, chamber music, orchestral music and electroacoustic installations. He has also been active as a jazz musician, together with Terje Rypdal and the jazz group Søyr.

Christian Eggen has also received the Spellemann Prize, the Lindeman Prize, the Oslo bys kunstnerpris, and twice he has received the Norwegian Music Critics Prize – first in 1999 as a principle featured performer at the Bergen International Festival, and in 2015 for a concert with Lachenmann and Oslo Sinfonietta. In 2007, King Harald appointed him as Commander of St. Olav’s Order.

Share your thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.