2011 – Kullervo with Philharmonia Orchestra
Sunday 25 September 2011 OD performed in Royal Festival Hall in London together with The Philharmonia Orchestra led by their principal conductor and artistic advisor Esa-Pekka Salonen. The Kullervo symphony by Jean Sibelius was the centrepiece of the night and Monica Groop, mezzo soprano and Jukka Rasilainen, bass sung the solo parts.
The same piece was done a few weeks earlier in Berlin and the London concert became the finale of the mini tour that OD made tother with The Philharmonia Orchestra.
Here follows some reviews of the two concerts:
”The tenors and basses (100-strong) of Orphei Drängar (from Sweden) were simply stupendous in their unanimous delivery of the music and in their linguistic dexterity as well as their collective tonal depth.”
”Kullervo. 75 mins of blood, sweat, incest, suicide, and a hero in blue stockings.I loved it.”
Neil Fisher, The Times via Twitter
"congratulations to the @OrpheiDrangar choir for an amazing recital AND outstanding Sibelius Kullervo. Hope you are back in Britain soon!”
Ian James Munro, via Twitter
”The male voices of Orphei Drängar had both a fine tone and colour and no shortage of weight. They also, crucially, seemed at home with the text. Together they built a wonderful rhythm out of the repeating motifs, such as Kullervo's lineage and his blue stockings.”
”...and this was an absolutely terrific performance; the Philharmonia was faultless and the Orphei Drängar male chorus, flown in from Sweden, simply stunning.”
Seen and Heard International
” Erzählt wird diese Geschichte von einem Männerchor. Die rund hundert kraftvoll und präzise singenden Herren des Chors "Orphei Drängar" sind eine Sensation”
2010 - Royal Wedding
In connection with the wedding between Crown Princess Victoria and Mr Daniel Westling the Swedish Parliament invited the couple to a gala concert in the Stockholm concert hall. Many leading artists took part and among them were OD.
OD was honored to perform the famous ”Anvil Chorus” from Guiseppe Verdis opera ”Il Trovatore” with a funny text, written by the concert’s producer Peter Ström, accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic orchestra lead by Mats Rondin. In addition to this, OD sang with Lars Cleveman in the Nessum Dorma aria from ”Turandot” by Puccini, as well as Peter Jöback and Helene Sjöholm in ”Come What May” from the musical ”Moulin Rouge” by Baerwald/Gilbert and in the grand finale ”Can’t help falling in love” which turned in to a wonderful summer song written by Anders Neglin and performed by all the artists together with a children’s choir from Adolf Fredriks music classes. OD was pleased to see several of its honorary members on stage including opera singers Malena Ernman and Peter Mattei, clarinet-player Martin Fröst and the host of the show and director of Stockholms konserthus, Stefan Forsberg.
2009 - The Baltic Sea Festival travels to Brussels
In August OD performs at the opening concert of The Baltic Sea Festival singing Oedipus Rex by Stravinsky, together with Sveriges Radios Symfoniorkester and international soloist, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. After a successful concertin the Berwald Hall the whole ensemble travels to Brussels for the same program at Bozar as part of the cultural program in the Swedish presidency of the European Union.
2008. Choral singing in a stone quarry.
Every summer, the little village of Gåxsjö in central Swedish Jämtland arranges concerts in an old stone quarry. On August 30 OD is on the stage together with Margareta Bengtson and Svenska Lyxorkestern (the Swedish Luxury Orchestra). Their singing “made the granite rumble and whimper,” as the review claimed in the local Länstidningen Östersund the following day.
2007. Serenade for the Japanese Imperial couple.
When Carl Linnaeus’s 300th anniversary is celebrated on May 23, two of the most celebrated guests are from Japan: Emperor Akihito, also a marine biologist, and Empress Michiko. The birthday itself is rounded off with a banquet at Uppsala Castle, where OD sings in both Japanese and Swedish. The emperor and empress are so charmed by one of the serenades that a recording is sent to the imperial couple.
2007. Singing and light in Dalhalla.
In the former stone quarry Dalhalla in Dalecarlia, nearly 8,000 people hear OD sing; from the stage, around the audience, and from rowboats out on the water. Atmospheric singing in candlelight shifts into a rock ‘n’ roll finale accompanied by a magnificent fireworks show over the entire stone quarry.
2006. Magical evening in the Golden Hall
During an international conference in Stockholm City Hall, OD stands behind a gigantic curtain upon which a film and light effects are being projected as the choir performs multi-voice sound cluster “Muooaaeyiywooum,” often likened to a musical aurora borealis.
2005. Atmosphere in Japan
In a darkened Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall the choir, spread out all around the hall in the dark, performs the atmospheric American folk song “Shenandoah.”
2005. Norwegian-Swedish Anniversary
One hundred years after the dissolution of the union of Sweden and Norway in 1905, a jubilee concert is held at the Norwegian Opera. Besides the Norwegian royal family and representatives of the Norwegian government and parliament, OD participates as honorary guests together with baritone Håkan Hagegård and soprano Miah Persson.
2003. Ice breaking
After a concert in Vasa, Finland, OD takes the ferry home across the Baltic – and gets stuck in the ice. Waiting for the icebreaker Oden, the choir passes the time by rehearsing. One of the pieces they practice is “The Ice Breaks Op. 9” – a work for orchestra and male-voice choir by OD’s conductor Jacob Axel Joesphson (1854–1880), which they then perform at multiple concerts during the spring.
2003. 150th Anniversary
OD celebrates 150 years of singing with an anniversary concert, anniversary lectures, and not least with no fewer than sixteen world premiers of newly composed works.
2000. Hurray for the Danish queen
Danish Queen Margrethe II turns 60, which is celebrated with grand gala concert at the Tivoli Concert Hall in Copenhagen. OD pays its respect together with Roberto Alagna and the Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
1998. OD honors Eric Ericson
Eric Ericson turns 80, which is celebrated with a gala evening at the Royal Opera. OD is joined in its praise by other choirs that Eric Ericson has worked with: Accentus Chamber Choir, Nederlands Kamerkoor, Eric Ericson Chamber Choir, the choir of the Royal Opera, and the Swedish Radio Choir.
1997. OD accompanies the Polar Music Prize
When prizewinners Eric Ericson and Bruce Springsteen have received their prestigious prizes from the hand of King Carl XVI Gustaf, there is a televised banquet in the winter garden at the Grand Hotel. OD sings for the schnaps toasts and from the stage, and Eric himself conducts August Söderman’s “I bröllopsgården” (In the Wedding Garden).
1997. Pizzetti on paper bales
Hylte Bruk is one of the world’s largest paper mills. One evening OD gathers in the enormous warehouse and sings works by Bartók, Pizzetti, Nörgård, Tormis, Schafer, and Schubert on a stage consisting of gigantic bales of paper – which are delivered to British newspaper printers the next day.
1997. Concert x 2 in Albert Hall
Few non-British choirs have had the privilege of singing in the concert series BBC Proms in Royal Albert Hall in London. On September 7 and 8, OD performs two concerts with the support of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Anne Sofie von Otter, with Neeme Järvi on the podium. Both concerts attract some 4,500 people, and OD garners some of the finest reviews ever. “The Orphei Drängar (Sons of Orpheus) is a choir that hits you right between the eyes with the force of its precision, clarity and vibrant characterisation” writes The Daily Telegraph, among others.
1996. OD on MTV
In 1991 Jan Sandström composes his “The Singing Apes of Khao Yai” for OD. Five years later the work becomes a music video that is shown on MTV for 6 weeks.
1996. Royal celebrations
When King Carl XVI Gustaf turns 50 on April 27, a celebratory gala is arranged in the Globe Arena in Stockholm. The king has requested performances by Stevie Wonder and OD, and the choir honors him together with both pop artist Magnus Uggla and Crown Princess Victoria.
1995. Cathedral music
During the year OD goes on tour with a program intended for large cathedrals: music for soprano solo, brass quintet, percussion, large organ, and male-voice choir commissioned by Robert Sund. Concerts are performed in large churches in Sweden and Denmark, and the venture attracts such large audiences that the choir repeats the production with great success in England in 2001 and in Germany in 2007.
1993-1994. Unexpected concert venues
In 1993 the Grand Auditorium at Uppsala University is closed for renovation – and the lack of concert halls in Uppsala becomes acute. OD performs the year’s Caprice in the sports complex Fyrishov with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra as secret guests and 12,000 people in the audiences. For the 1994 Spring Concert OD rents the Stockholm Concert Hall, sells concert tickets that include train fares, and charters a train with OD quartets providing entertainment during the trip to Stockholm.
1993. Innovative Nobel festivities
When OD is asked to provide the entertainment during coffee, they also take the opportunity to serve the dessert wine, surprising the guests when these ‘waiters’ suddenly burst into song. OD’s appearance is pioneering and is much emulated in the form of spectacular performances of various kinds.
1976. Royal wedding
On June 18 OD sings at the Royal Opera “on the occasion of H.M.K. Carl XVI Gustaf’s marriage to Miss Silvia Sommerlath.” Also on stage are the artistic elite of the day, including Birgit Nilsson, Nicolai Gedda, Kerstin Meyer, Birgit Nordin, Ragnar Ulfung, Ingvar Wixell, Alice Babs, Håkan Hagegård, and ABBA.