"But," he continues, "we’re taking things one step at a time. What might come out of the concerts is a piece for orchestras and choirs to be performed on different stages, for example in the USA and England. It may happen that a sort of spin-off interest from the piece occurs."
The September concerts are based on the Kristina workshop that took place in New York a few years ago.
"We did the theatre performance with minimal scenery in a rehearsal hall to see what we had. By then, we thought it would be interesting as a music presentation."
After the auditions the creative team realised that Helen Sjöholm had to be involved, if there were an English production. The other Swedish artistes though, are replaced by American and British singers.
"We found no-one who was even close to being as good as Helen, so we had to be sure she was willing to to appear in the concerts before we decided to go ahead with them. The fact that the other Swedish artists are not involved is because we want to be as close to the English idiom as possible."
About the CD recording, Benny says, "Actually it is one of the reasons that we’ll do the concerts, to get Kristina on record, so that it exist as a recording in English."
Helen Sjöholm says her constant companion is a folder with the English lyrics that she has to learn. "The Swedish lyrics are in my bones", she says, "and so I need to expel them first to find room to put the English lyrics!".
It is clear that there is great interest in the story among Swedish Americans. And this story about immigrants who came to the U.S. in the mid-1800s, is of course very many people’s history.
Björn and Benny are quite the attraction in New York right now, given the success of the Mamma Mia! musical and movie.
Lars Rudolfsson notes with a laugh that Carnegie Hall is well suited for the concert performances, despite the contrasts between the magnificent building and the story of the hard struggle for a better life across the Atlantic.
"The room indeed looks like a cream cake, so it is quite far from the poor conditions that Kristina and Karl-Oskar lived their lives under. However, that is the challenge. We must try to find something that has simplicity…so that the music, lyrics and the singers’ performances are at the very heart of the performances."