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19 May - 03 June 2020

History of the Bergen International Festival

The first Bergen International Festival was held in 1953. Modelled on the Salzburg Festival, the initiative came partly from the Norwegian opera singer, Fanny Elsta.

Fanny Elsta with husband Herman Helgesen Lepsøe. 

In addition to music, the very first audience could, among other things, enjoy a folklore parade and the crowning of Miss Festival in Nygårdsparken.

Those particular traditions have since been lost to history, but many others have been upheld throughout the years – such as the performance of Grieg's Piano Concerto in A-minor. And as we shall learn, the seed to the idea that would eventually grow into the Bergen International Festival was sown by none other than Edvard Grieg himself.

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