On the 1 April 1537 archbishop Olav Engelbrektsson of Norway fled from Steinvikholm castle in the Trondheim fjord, leaving the holy shrine of St. Olav. Several years of disputes over the throne of Denmark and Norway combined with the general European religious conflicts, had pulled the archbishop in a power struggle he had lost. The fleeing archbishop marked the end of the Catholic Church in Norway. At the same time Norway became a part of Denmark.
For the 19th time the opera “Olav Engelbrektsson” about this historic events are played, by the ruin of the fortress where these events actually took place. The are many outdoor plays in Norway in the summer. This is one of my favorites.
I hadn’t been there for eight years when I was at the dress rehearsal a couple of days ago. It was magical again: the music (written by the composer Henning Sommerro), the soloists and the choir, costymes, the lighting and the natural light from a dramatic august night, and the fact that this is were it happened. And it is one of the largest outdoor performances in Northern Europe.
The noble woman, Fru Inger til Austrått (Maija Skille), was a mighty enemy of the last archbishop in Norway.