Björn and Benny with a lyrical invite to Kristina

Dear Friends,

If you wanna be free of emperors and kings!

Leave the kings and emperors behind you

Don’t let’em tie you down and clip your wings

Don’t let’em shackle and bind you

That’s how Karl Oskar and his younger brother Robert saw America. Kristina, Karl Oskar’s wife, was more hesitant and inclined to look back:

Voices whisper behind me

They remind me

Every night

Of another existence

Far in the distance

It comes in sight

Now I see them clear

My folks at the crossroads waving

Losing their child forever

I see them cry

It’s as if they’re here

My people of time gone by

They come to me when night is falling

Twilight images calling

They crossed an ocean and so will we, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, with the musical about these immigrants from Sweden, who are so famous in the country they left. Made immortal by Vilhelm Moberg, on whose novels the musical, "Kristina", is based.

Writing it back in the beginning of the nineties, we always saw it as an American story just as much as a Swedish one. And it was always our dream to be able to introduce "Kristina" to an American audience.

Now, at last, the time has come. In musical and lyrical form, in two concerts at Carnegie Hall, we will proudly present our musical on the 23rd and the 24th of September.

We are very fortunate to have the original Kristina, Helen Sjöholm, with us and the English tenor Russell Watson will sing Karl Oskar. They will be backed by the American Theatre Orchestra and choir, conducted by Paul Gemignani.

Swedish ancestry or not, we look forward to seeing you there!

Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus

6 Comments on "Björn and Benny with a lyrical invite to Kristina"

  • well, the last lines are from "ljusa kvallar om varen". Not sure about the first though.

  • Seems as though these are indeed the translated lyrics for "Ljusa kvallar om varen"! Wow! I sung them to that melody, and it all seems to fit.

    It seems logical to me, though I might be wrong, that the English-language counterpart to the song "Ljusa kvallar om varen" is "Twighlight Images Calling". The number of notes and syllables are an exact match.

    A lovely little sneak preview we have here!

    Can’t wait for the show in September!


  • I would imaging that the first set of lyrics are from Overheten.

  • Just checked the Kristina website and noticed there’s now a "Listen to Kristina Medley" link. 3 tracks: (1) opening instrumental, (2) You Have To Be There (sung by Helen) and (3) Gold Can Turn to Sand (in English! … sung by Peter). Have never heard the English lyrics to this before!

    Go here to listen:


  • It occurred to me as I was watching the slide show
    we were also being given quite a few new lyrics.

    They seemed to work beautifully. Bjorn and Herbert
    seemingly have succeeded in avoiding the temptation
    to use sweeping words to convey
    epic themes.

    I noticed one such change in "The Gold Turned to Sand".
    Arvid is no longer a faithful dog (which I always thought
    didn’t capture his relationship with Robert as well as it might
    have. Bjorn and Herbert more tragically describe the ill-fated
    boy as "a lamb led to slaughter".

    It’s a much more accurate description of what happened to so
    many who thought riches were to be found in California or on the
    Kalaspina divide in Alaska.

    You’ll notice too Robert has an epiphany in the rewrite which
    he didn’t have in the original. His last refrain to Kristina is, "Oh,
    Kristina, Gold CAN turn to sand."

    It seems as if he has experienced the death of not only Arvid but a
    tragic illusion: Gold is not the salvation he sought. It is not immutable
    or mythical: it can turn into something worthless.

    So far, the lyrics seem very promising.

  • @Tom: Last night I stumbled on that medley too. Sounds amazing! Great to hear Peter singing. Is this a hint about future casting, I wonder? 😉

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