‘Kristina från Duvemåla’ to be staged in Gothenburg and Stockholm

Following months of speculation, it has been announced that Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Lars Rudolfsson’s, Kristina från Duvemåla will premiere at the Götesborgs Operan (Gothenburg Opera House), on 25 October 2014.

The show will then transfer to Stockholm’s Cirkus theatre in September 2015.

'Kristina' will open in Gothenburg in October 2015
‘Kristina’ will open in Gothenburg in October 2015

‘Kristina’, a musical version of Vilhelm Moberg’s classic Swedish epic The Emigrants, follows the stuggles faced by a young couple, Kristina and Karl Oskar, as they emigrate with their family and friends from Småland to North America in the mid-1800s. It originally premièred in Malmo in 1995 and by the time it closed in Stockholm in 1999 had been seen by over 1 million people.

The most recent staging of ‘Kristina‘ opened at the Swedish National Theatre, Helsinki, in February 2012. Directed by Lars Rudolfsson, and starring Maria Ylipää as Kristina, Robert Noack as Karl Oskar, Birthe Wingren as Ulrika and Oskar Nilsson as Robert, the production played to great success until it closed in May 2013.  It is this same team that will come together again to recreate their roles in Gothenburg and Stockholm.

“After five years of performances in Malmö, Gothenburg and Stockholm in the 1990’s and the recent sojourn in Helsinki, it feels great for ‘Kristina‘ to be on the Swedish stage again,” said Benny.

Leif Henriksson of the production company, Blixten & Co., said:  “It is a great honor to work with such a modern classic as ‘Kristina’. We look forward to providing Gothenburg and Stockholm with the biggest-ever Swedish musical experience.”

When ‘Kristina’ originally opened in Gothenburg, it was the first musical to be staged in the then-new Opera House, and it is the most successful production of its kind ever mounted at the theatre.

The musical will open just in time for the building’s 20th anniversary, and the artistic director of opera and drama, Stephen Langridge is delighted. “With Götesborgs Operan celebrating its 20th anniversary, it feels great to be able to present ‘Kristina’ again with a new generation of artists,” he said.

Tickets for the Gothenburg production are expected to go on sale in March 2014.

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  • I am at the same time happy, puzzled and a little bit annoyed by this news. The Helsinki cast recreating their roles for Gothenburg. Why?

    Don’t get me wrong, I saw the Helsinki production twice and it was perfection both times. Still I don’t like the fact that you cannot go forward, getting new talented actors (and there are plenty in Sweden I’m sure) to do the show their way.

    I’ve been wondering all along with Kristina (and Mamma mia) that there is little bit too much possessivenes with the shows. They have to be excactly like the original was with no artistic licences for the local productions. I would love to see some other director and set designer creating their vision of Kristina från Duvemåla. Now it seems that if we’ve done it once in one way (and with one cast) we are going to do the new production the same way (and with the same cast if possible). If you want to export this musical to other countries, it is difficult if not impossible if you are not ready to let go, if only a little bit.

    But I’m sure Kristina in Gothenburg will be a huge success, I see no reason why not.

  • I think Mikko makes a good point here. I also saw the Helsinki production – and loved it (and Helsinki too, incidentally). There is little doubt that I will travel from the UK to Gothenburg (and, probably, Stockholm) mainly for the music but also to see the cities concerned. But, yes, it would have been nice to try something slightly different. As Mikko says, there is a need for changes if Kristina is to receive the international exposure it certainly deserves.

  • After having read several interviews with Benny and Björn about Kristina they are not interested in adjusting Kristina for the market.
    Like Benny said a long time ago “we don´t want to make it into a Donald Duck musical” (referring to the American market).
    Like all great Composers and like all great Music Kristina will have it´s fame in it´s own right in the future just wait and see….
    I can´t see the problem in re using a great cast, there is nothing wrong with that.

  • And Adam makes a good point too! I just wish more people could have access to this gem.

  • They must have learned the lesson from Chess, that it’s best not to mess with the production too much, and also it’s important to work with people you trust.

  • There was a talk about Kristina being staged i Tampere, Finland in finnish (Benny mentioned this in some of his interviews in Helsinki) but since then there hasn’t been a word about it. Maybe the demands of the B&B were too high (have to be directed by Lars Rudolfsson, set must be the same design as in Malmö, Stockholma and Helsinki and so on) and the theatre put the plans on hold.

    I don’t mean that it should be changed for the sake of changing, but if every aspect must be the same every time and no changes are allowed, I’m afraid that not many outside theatre wants to buy it.

  • I’m guessing they’ve probably given up on a West End or Broadway Run. It kind of makes sense. Ticket prices for huge productions here in the U.S. have become obscene–going as high as $195 U.S. at the box office.

    It’s just as well. I had the great fortune of seeing the concert at Carnegie Hall and while it was a night I will never forget, I don’t think as the book stands, it would do well here in New York. It’s runnning time would be a problem and the “body count”
    is pretty high–Karl Oscar and Kristine lose a child, endure a miscarriage, the Pastor’s wife dies on the crossing, Robert and his best friend are cut down, and finally, Kristina dies. That’s pretty heavy stuff. The count was high in “Les Miserables” also but at least you’re sent out of the theater with a rousing approach the footlights anthem.

    I really regret this. I had high hopes for “Kristina” taking its chances on Broadway but B & B seem content on keeping it on the continent.

  • I have seen Kristina many times both in Stockholm and in Helsinki. In my opinion it is perfect just as it is and I am convinced it will “have it´s time”. Why adjust to Broadway?

  • Because that was their intention:

    This was reported on this cite:

    “A court case involving script rights for the Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson musical Kristina från Duvemåla will determine the musical’s Broadway future.

    The dispute is between Andersson and Ulvaeus and Carl-Johan Seth, who wrote the musical’s original libretto. The ABBA legends claim that a new script was written by director Lars Rudolfsson and dramatist Jan Mark before the premiere in Malmö, Sweden under a year from being asked to.

    A decision will be made by a judge on March 23rd. If Andersson and Ulvaeus lose, the show will only be allowed to be performed in concert productions. If they win, they hope to try the show out in Minneapolis this fall with a Spring 2008 Broadway opening.”

    Clearly, something changed their B & B’s minds and it wasn’t the amazing reception the show got from an international audience at Carnegie Hall. Benny and Bjorn are clearly savvy enough to know what works in Europe doesn’t necessarily fly on Broadway and in its current form–three hours plus–the cost of THIS show would be prohibitive.

    If you doubt Bennt and Bjorn were really keen on bringing the show to Broadway this snippet from “Newday” also attests to it:

    “Newsday reports that ABBA songwriters Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus have written a new musical based on Wilhelm Moberg’s novel “The Emigrents” entitled Kristina. The duo hope to bring the musical to the United States soon. “I would love to see it in this country,” Ulvaeus told the New York daily, “because it’s about America, about these people from Sweden going to Minnesota in the 1850’s. It’s an epic.”

    “I would love to see it it in the U.S.”

    It may be perfect in Gothenburg or Stolkholm but the realities of the unions involved, getting permission for foreign talent to perform in the U.S., and other variables would necessitate a significant reworking of the piece.

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