«With me you could have been another person» says one of the characters in the play “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen.
This goes very well for Norwegian culture, which has left the Northern shores to travel the world, fascinating and changing people in the process. It started many years ago, with the genius of Edvard Grieg’s music, Henrik Ibsen’s theatre plays and Edvard Munch’s paintings, to name but some peaks of Norwegian culture that are now an integral part of the universal cultural heritage.
It has not stopped since. Norway continues to have a vibrant arts and culture sector. Norwegian architecture, music, literature, films and visual arts have won international recognition, and a number of Norwegian artists, writers and musicians rank among the most famed in the world.
Norwegian literature is recognized at the Frankfurt Book Fair this year, as a guest of honor. Contemporary writers like Jo Nesbø, Jostein Gaarder, Lars Saabye Christensen and Hanne Ørstavik, are widely read by the Romanian public. It is only natural that Romania hosts a large Norwegian lectorate where more than 200 students graduate annually from the Norwegian language and civilization studies at the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj. This lectorate has been so popular, that it now being replicated at a smaller scale in Iasi.
Norwegian music gathers large audiences whether it is jazz or electronic, heavy metal or classical music. The Romanian audience will be able to enjoy it during this year’s edition of the Enescu Festival, where the renowned Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Vasily Petrenko, will hold two concerts 13 – 14 September. The first will have the world famous Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes as soloist, while the second will benefit from the virtuoso of cellist Johannes Moser.
More exotic, but no less fascinating, is the Norwegian cinematography. Strongly rooted in local culture, and often with nature as a character of its own, Norwegian films were met with great interest in film festivals like TIFF and the first edition of the Nordic Film Festival in Romania. The Nordic countries have decided to have editions of the Nordic Film Festival also in Sibiu and in Chisinau during the fall of 2019.
Romanians, too, seem to find inspiration in Norwegian artistic expressions. Romanian theatres perform Norwegian dramas in modern ways, offering new shapes and forms to famous texts. Such is the interpretation of “Hedda Gabler” by Ibsen at the Radu Stanca National Theatre from Sibiu, a modern performance highlighted by a techno-poetical installation.
To see for yourself how Romanians draw inspiration from Norwegian visual arts and realities, come and see the “Norwegian windows” exhibition of photography on display from 19 June at the Union of the Architects from Romania!
Part of the Norwegian culture is the Norwegian traditional costume (bunad). Here is Ambassador Lise Nicoline Kleven Grevstad wearing a modernized version of the Oslo bunad.