History

Since we started in 2004, many of the most beloved operas have been played in this unusual opera house by the shore of Lake Ljusnaren. Here, deep in the area of Bergslagen, we have had international opera stars give us outstanding opera performances in absolute top class every year. The opera house, a former saw mill with unique acoustics have for 15 summers given over 100 000 visitors unforgettable experiences.

Background

Sten Niclasson visited Skäret for the first time in 1996 and the idea to start Opera på Skäret was born. During 1998 a study was made to start an EU project, and the first test concert happened the following year. The foundation Kulturcentrum Ljusnarsberg was set up. and a documentary about the idea is made. This documentary was shown on Swedish Television (Sveriges Television) in 2003.

A collaboration with Örebro University starts and the premises at Skäret is bought by the Foundation with help from a few private investors; the Swedish bank Bergslagens sparbanksstiftelse, the borough of Ljusnarsberg, the paper manufacturer Ahlströms and other doners. The very first event is “Skärets Day” in the summer of 2003, with an opera concert and a circus performance for children.

2018 – “This production is a winner in every respect

Don Carlo in 2018 became one of our most critically acclaimed productions so far. We had singers from 11 different countries, who delivered a musical experience out of the ordinary. The two amazing casts of singers, the choir and the orchestra- led by Michael Balke created a magical dramatic experience in our opera house, and our Director William Relston retured to Skäret once more.

In the lead roles we had Alejandro Roy, Charlotta Larsson, Siv-Oda Hagerupsen, Taras Konoshchenko, Matteo Jin och Pavlo Balakin in the first cast, and Timothy Richards, Ingegjerd Bagøien Moe, Matilda Paulsson, Karl Huml, Valdis Janssons and Engin Suna in the second cast. Rebecca Fjellsby, Riccardo Gatto and Evelina Stenvall did the smaller parts in all the performances.

This year’s “Wahrenstpiedium” was given to Ingegjerd Bagøien Moe for her interpretation of Elisabetta, one of Verdi’s most challenging roles.

On the small stage we did a production of “The Love Potion”, directed by Elisabeth Ljungar. The Solists, Susanna Andersson, Riccardo Gatto, Johan Wållberg, Il Hong and Rebecca Fjellsby graced the stage with their beautiful singing and great spirit.

The Musical Director- Bengt-Åke Lundin,- led the musical interpretation with six other musicians. A great success!

2017 – “A musical experience of European top class”

In 2017 we had 8 700 visitors come to see the twelve performances of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, which is close to the record number of attendees we had in the summer of 2011 when we did Carmen. Again, this was an international production for Opera på Skäret. It was a European debut for American Director Leslie Swackhamer, and Conductor Marcello Mottadelli returned to Opera på Skärets and led the orchestra once more.

Elisabeth Teige, who did a highly acclaimed performance in The Flying Deutchman in 2016, returned to Skäret in the title role. A role she shared with the Lithuanian soprano Sandra Janusaite. In the role of Suzuki, we had the Norwegian singer Siv Oda Hagerupsen. In this production we also had a few returning singers: Alex Tsilogiannis and Tadas Girininkas who sang in Otello in 2014 and Anton Eriksson who sang in Lucia de Lammermoor in 2012. Anton Eriksson shared the role of Sharpless with the Spanish singer Javier Franco. The role of Pinkerton was depicted by the Irish tenor Aaron Cawley and the American tenor Cody Austin.

We had nine sold out Opera Trains taking over 1000 people from Stockholm directly to the opera house, and around 30 busses with large groups of people come from various locations in the country– which was more than ever before.

2016 – ”An opera house made for Wagner”

It was time for yet another debut at Opera på Skäret: it was time for Wagner. Our rendition of The Flying Dutchman had many talents from our neighbouring Scandinavian countries. The Norwegian soprano Elisabeth Teige was highly praised by the press, and so was the Danish Brit-Tone Müllertz who also did the role of Senta. They both shared the stage with Thomas Hall from USA, Deniz Yilmaz from Turkey and the two Danes Lars Möller and Magnus Vigilius.

The Swedish Chamber Orchestra returned this year and were led by the young German Conductor Michael Balke. He was also highly praised by the press, and the critics felt that he was one of the main people that added to the authenticity. We did 12 performances with more than 7 000 visitors that came to listen to the not so easily digested Wagner. The media were right, it’s an opera house made for Wagner!

2015 – “Public success by international standard”

Singers from ten different counties did a dramatic and colorful La Traviata, making this the most international opera production we’ve had so far – and one of the greatest successes. In terms of audience it was the second best attended summer opera, after the record holder Carmen in 2011 – over 8 300 visitors enjoyed Verdi’s masterpiece. Over a thousand visitors came with the especially catered Opera Tain from Stockholm, also a record number.

The Polish soprano Ania Jeruc and the American soprano Jessica Rose Cambio had the audiences spellbound during the twelve performances in their role as Violetta. Pavel Yankovsky from Belarus, Valdis Jansons from Latvia and Dominique Chenes from USA were a few of the other international stars who for the first time performed in front of a Swedish audience.

The Swedish Chamber Orchestra were once again responsible for the beautiful delivery of the music, led by the Italian Conductor Marcello Mottadelli.

2014 – Verdi-drama with world stars

The master Verdi is back at Opera på Skäret, this time with Othello- the drama based on Shakespeare’s play with he same name- about jealousy, love and betrayal. More than 100 singers attended the auditions for the lead roles, and this resulted in a ver strong ensemble with an exciting mix of established world soloists and young up-and-coming stars.

In the role of the Commander Othello, one opera literature’s most challenging tenor roles, we had the two alternating tenors Michal Lehotsky from Slovakia and Richard Bauer from Brazil. Ole Jørgen Kristiansen, Omar Kamata, Kamila Benhamza and Charlotta Larsson had the other lead roles.

It was an international production team as well. For the first time we had a non Swedish Director at Opera på Skäret, we hired the British William Relton, and with him he brought the British Costume Designer Cordelia Chisholm. Together they succeeded very well with their ambition to highlight the dramatic atmosphere in Othello.

The critics praised our rendition of Othello, both the singers, the orchestra, the direction and scenography received a lot of praise. ”Astonishingly good” ,”On Plácido Domingo’s level” and ”Opera på Skäret have succeeded again” were some of the comments from the press.

2013 – the first comical opera on the main stage

Opera på Skäret celebrated their ten year jubilee with a production of Barber of Seville, the first comical opera done on the main stage, done in eleven celebrated performances. This was also a Skäret-debut for Gioacchino Rossini, after Verdi, Puccini, Leoncavallo, Bizet and Donizetti.

Opera på Skäret celebrate their ten year jubilee with the strongest ensemble of singers to date. Big stars from previous year’s shows return and new exciting names do their Opera på Skäret-debut: Omar Kamata and Aurora Tirotta, Italy, Pavel Yankovsky, Belarus, Dominique Moralez, USA, Ljudas Mikalauskas, Lithuania, and the Swedish singers Martin Nyvall and Urban Malmberg, who regularly perform on big opera stages in Germany.

The Swedish Chamber Orchestra is back at Skäret, this time led by the young conductor Andreas Lönnqvist. The orchestra is made up of carefully selected musicians from all over the world, but are involved with Opera på Skäret thanks to a close collaboration with Länsmusiken in Örebro with the purpose to develop the opera art in the region.

2012 – A great success for Lucia di Lammermoor

Donizetti´s dramatic opera Lucia di Lammermoor becomes a new celebrated meeting between singers and soloists from Sweden, Spain, China, Hungary and Lithuania. The performances are praised by both audiences and critics. Especially celebrated was the Chinese soprano Yitian Luan who made her Swedish debut in the role as Lucia, a role that was also portrayed by the Swedish soprano Hanna Husáhr. Kristian Benedikt, Lithuania, Javier Palacios, Spain and Levente Páll, Hungary, all contributed to the strong international touch and with the Swedish singers Anton Eriksson, Daniel Hällström, Ann Roach, Anders Håkansson and Kalle Leander it became the perfect combination of singers, the most successful one in Opera på Skäret’s history.

A concert series on the “Small stage”, pub nights i the Opera café plus a traditional Dan Andersson concert made the festival complete. There was also a final performance for the newly instated Opera academy, en opera course run by Opera på Skäret and Musikhögskolan in Örebro.

2011 – Carmen beat all records, biggest audience to date

One of the Opera literature’s most played pieces is performed at Opera på Skäret. There were thirteen performances of Bizet´s Carmen, and it attracted a bigger audience than any other previous production at Opera på Skäret.

With singers from five different countries plus the Swedish mezzo soprano Matilda Paulsson and the American world tenor Stuart Neill in the lead, this becomes the most international festival so far. In the title roles, these two alternate with Sandra Lopez from USA and Kristian Benedikt from Lithuania. The Russian soprano Yana Kleyn returns and other international soloists this year are the Norwegian soprano Rita Therese Ziem and the british Alexander Grove. In other roles we see for example Eva-Lotta Ohlsson, Johan Rydh, Andreas Lundmark and Liine Carlsson.

For the first time Opera på Skäret introduce an international Conductor, Marcello Mottadelli from Italy, who has experience from various large opera houses around the world. He conducts Opera på Skäret’s own orchestra. The festival this year beat all previous records, with 10 500 tickets sold.

2010 – La Bohème – with a sensational debut

This year, we are doing Puccini for the third time at Opera på Skäret, and we are doing the masterpiece La Bohème. Ten performances with international singers in the lead roles. The Swedish barytone Peter Kajlinger does his second big role at Opera på Skäret and the Columbian tenor César Augusto Gutiérrez does his first. Joined by the young Russian soprano Yana Kleyn, who make a grand, critically acclaimed Scandinavian debut.

In the other roles you can see the Swedish singers Catarina Lundgren, Bo Rosenkull, Sami Yousri and Mikael Axelsson, and Opera på Skäret’s handpicked orchestra are led by the young awarded Conductor Andreas Lönnqvist.
The audience flow grow during the festival and the concerts on the small stage are completely sold out. La Bohème become the most popular and well attended show on the main stage so far. The travel package deal with the vintage trains from Stockholm sold out in record time and we had to add extra carriages to all the opera trains.

2009 – The Cloak / Pagliacci – and the Bailiffs return

Opera på Skäret is growing- with three operas, 20 opera performances and a number of concerts plus other events. The festivals runs for two summer months, from the 28th June to 23rd August, and as in previous years, world class opera singers work alongside new exciting rising stars.

For the first time Opera på Skäret do two opera’s (both one act long) in one dramatic evening performance: Puccini’s The Cloak (Il tabarro) and Leoncavallo’s classic opera Pagliacci (Clowns). There were ten performances with international soloists such as John Horton Murray, Robert Hyman och Charlotta Larsson and young up-and-coming stars like Liine Carlsson, Daniel Hellström and Peter Haeggström.

We had two conductors, Tobias Ringborg and Erik Jakobsson leading Stockholm’s New Chamber Orchestra, SNYKO.
By request, the critically acclaimed opera farce ”Kronofogdarne och slåtterölet”, from 2007 returned with ten performances on the small stage. We also had the American vocal coach Dan Marek teach his master class for the sixth year running.

2008 – World premier for the 3D-technique on the opera stage

Opera på skäret celebrate their five year jubilee with Puccini’s Tosca, and by doing so, also draw attention to the fact that it is the 150-year jubilee of Puccini’s birth. Ten performances in total, with soloists like Gitta-Maria Sjöberg, Sandra Lopez, Stuart Neill, Petrus Schroderus, Peter Kajlinger and Thomas Lander.

This year, the focus is more on in-depth quality rather than expansion: it is a world premier on the opera stage for the Danish Director and concept developer Mikael Focks, with a pioneering 3D-projection technique. The Swedish Chamber Orchetstra is this year’s opera orchestra led by the young and very promising conductor Tobias Ringborg, and Mathias Claeson is our Costume Designer. The American vocal coach Dan Marek also returns to Opera på Skäret for the fifth time.

2007 – Aida and Swedish opera farce

Opera på Skäret complete Verdi-satsningen with ten performances of Aida. Among this years soloists we have Stuart Neill, Charlotta Larsson, Gitta-Maria Sjöberg, Ingrid Tobiasson and Ole Jörgen Kristiansen.

On the small stage, we give ten performances of the Swedish opera farce “Kronofogdarne och Slåtterölet”, a re-discovered classic that was often played in the 1700s in Stockholm. The festival also feature a concert with the Swedish Chamaber Orchestra and a performance by the Swedish Army Band. The American vocal coach Dan Marek comes back to opera på Skäret once again and deliver his master class for the fourth time. We also have a concert series being held in the opera cafe’ during the “opera pubs”, a totally new event for this year.

The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation and Kopparberg Invest become our Head Sponsors, and Spendrups Bryggeri also become our sponsors.
Travel packages with trains and busses are arranged from places like Stockholm, Norrköping, Västerås, Örebro, Karlstad and Oslo.

2006 – Rigoletto- the first complete opera

Verdi’s Rigoletto is the first complete opera set done at Opera på Skäret with a total of 6 performances. Tito Beltrán and Charlotta Larsson returns, this time in the company of Christina Lindquist and the Norwegian tenor Ole Jörgen Kristiansen amongst others. The Orchestra “Classic Chamber” conducted by Georg Lidström contribute to Rigoletto being a big success.

apart from Rigoletto, we also have two concerts and one gala concert with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra. We also have a choir, “Bergslagens Musikdramatiska kör” that participate both in Rigoletto and the ”Opera pearls” concerts.

On the small stage there are seven performances of ”Dan Andersson meets Mozart”, Wiener concerts, ”Opera in percussion”, ”Virtuosos” (piano), ”The Wish List” plus opera and chamber music. Dan Marek’s masterclass have now become a tradition.

This year we have three fully booked vintage trains from Stockholm and one extra train from Karlstad. A large number of chartered busses from Skåne in the south, and from Dalarna in the north of Sweden.

2005 – We begin with Verdi

La Traviata by Guiseppe Verdi is played as three concert performances on the main stage with internationally established soloists like Tito Beltrán, Charlotta Larsson and Guido Paevatalu. We also have one of the finest orchestras – the Swedish Chamber Orchestra- playing with us, and Bergslagen’s Music Dramatic Choir who have been taught by Sten Niclasson during the winter, deliver their first performance at Opera på Skäret.

We also arrange a few concerts on the small stage, and Dan Marek delivers his master class for the second year running. We are also start an EU-project with Örebro University.

2004 – The Opera Festival is born

This summer, we organise two “Opera Gala’s” with international soloists and an orchestra at Skäret. These two events draw 1 500 visitors and mark the beginning of the summer festival Opera på Skäret. We also organize a master class for young singers in collaboration with the Music Academy in Örebro- which is led by the world famous opera vocal coach Dan Marek from New York.

An Association of friends- “Vänföreningen Skärets vänner” is born- by model from The Royal Opera in Stockholm- with the purpose of supporting Opera på Skäret financially and PR-wise. Several sponsors support the event and Cadillac become the festival’s first Head Sponsor.