A new opera, based on the famous play "Peer Gynt" by the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen, premiered at the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo on Saturday. The opera libretto was written by Berlin-based Estonian composer Jüri Reinvere.
The promoters at the opera said in the introduction that few works have so embodied what it means to be Norwegian as Ibsen's "Peer Gynt". Not only is it a key work in the Norwegian literary canon, it is also one of Ibsen's most frequently performed plays on the international theatrical scene. Grieg's setting of Ibsen's text is still Norway's best known dramatic music.
"Estonian composer Jüri Reinvere explores this question in a completely new 'Peer Gynt', said the Norwegian National Opera in a press release. "This is not an operatic version of Ibsen's dramatic verse play, but a new interpretation, with Reinvere providing both the music and libretto. In his 'Peer Gynt', Ibsen's characters have different encounters and travel to new places. The famous verse play meets elements from other Ibsen pieces – as well as lines from the "Edda" and Shakespeare's "Hamlet".
The Norwegian National Opera asked Reinvere to write the piece to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian constitution.
"The story is about all of us and about the self-development of us as human beings. I want to share with this opera something that would personally affect the public,” Reinvere said.
Reinvere is an Estonian composer, poet and essayist who has been living in Berlin since 2005. His compositions often set to music his own poetical writings, whose symbolic and complex idioms are based on a cosmopolitan life experience.