Sunday, December 09, 2007

Its Christmastime

Five Christmas shows have come to an end and finally I might start thinking of buying Christmas presents and Christmas cards. Its Christmas time is a show staging a blend of Christmas entertainment, Christmas Carols, folk music, stand up comedians, highlights from the opera world, musical highlights, rock enroll, funk and soul. I am honored to be part of such a show and what an experience! I finally got to sing one of my favorite opera numbers Habanera from Bizet’s Carmen with a big band! This year I represented the Opera Diva, but I hope that if I get the chance to take part again next year, I might get the opportunity to also sing some musical numbers. You never know though, there are a lot of talented people out there just waiting for the chance to jump in and take your place. Personally I think that is a very good thing, it keeps you on your toes and makes you focus on ways you can improve as a performer. However there has been a lot of positive feedback and we’ve had great audiences. Thank you for all your support!

Saturday, September 22, 2007


This year it’s 100 years since the Norwegian composer Edvard Griegs’ death. Professional artists from Selbu, Selbu Teaterforum(a local theatre group) and a local choir wanted to celebrate this by putting on a play at Kalvåa. Kalvåa is an outdoor theatre/ museum in Selbu, Norway.
Inspired by Griegs music, the power of the waterfall in Kalvåa and our own longing, the fairytale “Fossekall” was born. A play about the life of the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg written by Elisabeth Matthesson Solberg (actor/writer/director)
Together with Edvard Griegs music and the poets Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, Henrik Ibsen and Arne Garborg, the waterfall was released in its full power, and set free in to the autumn night. The characters Ole Bull, Edvards wife Nina Grieg and characters such as Per Gynt, Solveig, the mountain maids, *Huldra and *Dovregubben were brought to life. It turned into a magical night for both performers and audience.
To work with Elisabeth Solberg Matthesson was an amazing experience for me. She is a wonderful and warm human being, a great actress and a fantastic director! I have had to face a lot of challenges both on and off the stage this year. To play the part of Nina Grieg has meant a lot to me. We had a short and intense rehearsal period, but we grew into a strong team and I have grown as a performer.
We are now hoping that “Fossekall” can be part of “Festspillene in Bergen” March 2008. This is a festival held each year in Bergen, Norway.
*Huldra= A beautiful woman with a tail, who lures men into the woods and is part of the underworld.
*Dovregubben = a character from Ibsens Peer Gynt. A big Troll king and is the leader of the underworld creatures who live in “Doregubbens hall”.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Drama in Wales

After a 10 hour journey I finally arrived in Cardiff at 11o’clock Tuesday night. I had a warm welcome from some dear friends of mine from the Norwegian Welsh society and after a bowl of hot soup I curled up in a nice warm bed. Heaven! Wednesday, the people at Llandaff Cathedral allowed me to use their music room to do some practice both that day plus Thursday and Friday! Wednesday and Thursday evenings John and I rehearsed. It was a great joy to play through his arrangements of the Grieg songs. The Swan, The water Lilly, and I love you. The songs worked really well for voice and guitar and it was so good to see my dear friend again! Friday morning the drama began in Wales! Snow has invaded Wales! The whole society stopped up. Schools and shops closed, people were advised to stay at home and grownups and children made snowmen and played in the snow with their kids! I am stunned! I couldn’t believe it! At 1 o’clock I got a phone call from John, ”The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama have evacuated all their staff and students because of fire alarms and bad weather. I’m sitting in my car, could we rehearse at your friends house?” I couldn’t believe it! We were supposed to record a demo that day too! What was the fuss all about? I was now starting to fear the worst. Would our concert in Ystrad Mynach be canceled? I made a phone call to the Rhymney Society who had invited us and they said they hoped that the concert it would go ahead as planned, but would let us know in the morning. “It must be 40 years since we had so much snow here in Wales!”
The day of the concert I got up and prepare to go, the trains were running and all the main roads in Cardiff were almost bare.
My phone rang: “Hello its John here. I am so sorry Mai but they’ve canceled the concert because people can’t get out of their houses. Since Ystrad Mynach lies higher than Cardiff there is far much more snow here and all the side roads are very slippery. You could catch the train though and we can rehearse where I am staying in Ystraad Mynach.” I couldn’t believe it we were both in the area, but there was not going to be a concert! Should I laugh or cry? That evening I wanted to be anything but a singer, I was very disappointed. However, there came some good out of this. Rhumney Music Society really wanted us to come back in June to have a concert there and they were willing to arrange two or three concerts in other places in Wales. Alls well that ends well.
The Concert in Christ Church Bristol on the Sunday was a success. We had a really good audience and what a tremendous acoustic! The feedback was very positive too and I left the UK on a buzzing high. What did I learn? Never have a concert in Wales in February! Ha ha. A Drama is never too big to handle especially in the company of true friends. I feel blessed and so lucky to have so many good friends and contacts in different parts of the world and hope that throughout my life I can continue to build these bridges.

Friday, January 19, 2007


Despite the dry acoustics Knut Erik the pianist and I really enjoyed the concert on Sunday. The venue was perfect and intimate and we had a quality audience.
The Friday before we jumped on a cheap plane down to Oslo and worked on the piece with one of Knut Eriks teachers. Wow what an inspiration! The piece “Haugtussa” continues to develop vocally, dramatically and musically and this is such and exiting time for us both. The song cycle is a huge challenge because it covers a wide specter of emotions from being really low to being playful and happy an emotional roller costar in other words. We are both looking forward to continue our development and future collaborations.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Yet another adventure has come to an end. I had a fantastic time in Denmark worked a lot on vocal and mental techniques and release of body tensions. I had a lot of challenges,but these challenges has made me grow as a human being and through them I made a lot of good friends. Financially it became very tough having to pay for two lessons and a coaching lesson every week, as well as a three week yoga course, but I made it and I am so proud of my self! I am very tempted to return in 2007 to continue the working process that I started.
I am now temping as a singing teacher in three music schools until the 22nd of January as well as working as a freelance singer in UK, Norway and Holland. It is hard work to teach 60kids each week, but it is a perfect way to get the chance to inspire youngsters to get involved in the performing arts and hopefully they will fall in love with the erforming arts and music in the same way as I have done. The kids also have reminded me of why I do what I do and of the most important things in music: to have fun and to play. My next project abroad is two concerts with the English guitarist John Mills in Wales and England in the beginning of February.All exiting can't wait!