Konsertversionen av Kristina från Duvemåla - September 7, 2013 (Kinnarps Arena, Jönköping)

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Kristina - Sanna Nielsen
Karl Oskar - Christer Nerfont
Robert - Bruno Mitsogiannis
Ulrika -Åsa Fång
Narrator & Fina-Kajsa - Marianne Mörck

I've wanted to see the Swedish musical Kristina från Duvemåla (=Kristina from Duvemåla. In English concert version they only use the name "Kristina" as the title) ever since it premiered in 1995, but sadly that never happened. Now they did a concert version in Jönköping with a huge choir (650-700 people), so I was very happy that I was able to go see it.

I think it is important to remember that this was a concert version, not the "real" musical, and while they did somewhat interact, you do get a different feeling when the people singing are not in coustumes but formal wear, there is a big orchestra on the stage, and behind the stage there is a really big choir. In spite of that, I think it was really easy go get into the musical and it really felt like we got to see the real characters. The musical is based on the four books by Vilhelm Moberg, which I luckily was able to read before I saw this concert. I've also listened to the CDs from the musical version many times (especially when I was younger), so I was pretty familiar with the songs. Of course there were some changes in the lyrics, and some songs missing (I was especially missing the song "Kamfer och lavendel", as it's always been my favourite).

Christer Nerfont, who played the male lead Karl Oskar, I saw earlier this year in A Little Night Music, and it was interesting to see him in a totally different part. He was really great ! Quite an actor, with an awesome voice! I think I liked him even better here then in A Little Night Music. Sanna Nielsen played Kristina, which obviously is the most important part in this musical. I wasn't really sure what to expect, since I think Sanna has mostly done pop songs before, and as far as I know hasn't done any musicals previously. But I was really impressed! She was amazing! More of an actress than I expected and a perfect voice for the part. The real star of the evening, which was made obvious by the extreme applauds she received after Kristinas most famous song (Du måste finnas). It was also really lovely to see how much that affected her. I would really like to see her do more musicals.

Bruno Mitsogiannis I saw a couple of years ago in West Side Story (as Tony). He was also a big favourite with the audience. Åsa Fång I think I've only seen on TV before. Marianne Mörck apparantly played the part of Fina-Kajsa in the original musical as well which is pretty cool! Here she was also the narrator, which was a great way to keep the story together, especially in a concert version. She also seemed to be in charge of the five children, who were on stage all through the concert even though they only had a few lines to sing. The kids did great, but it must have been somewhat boring for them to sit still on stage for such a long time!

I found it rather confusing that some people played several characters. This was mostly obvious with the children - where one of the girls played both of the biggest child roles - Anna & Märta. As both Anna and Märta (two of the daughters of Kristina and Karl Oskar) are called by name in these scenes, it seemed a little strange. The little girl who played the parts was really great though! Also with the adult males in the "ensemble" it was rather confusing when the man who played the part of Ulrika's future husband also plays another suitor. But I suppose that's the way it can be in a concert version.

What was both sad and annoying was that we were unable to get programs for the concert. We looked both before it started and during intermission, but were unable to find anyone who sold them (but we saw others in the audience who had them). The area was really crowded so we don't know if we were just unlucky and missed them or if the programs were sold out before we even arrived there.
(Edit: I was able to contact the company behind the concert and got to buy a program a few days after the concert!)

I really enjoyed this concert a lot!I would love to see it again someday - either as a concert or as the "real" musical. My favourite songs were "Du måste finnas" (You have to be there), "Hemma" (Home), "Präriens drottnig" (Queen of the Prairie) and "Vildgräs" (Wild Grass). I think it really helped that I had read the books, but thanks to the narrator I think you could still probably follow the storyline pretty well. This really is a wonderful story, and a beautiful musical.


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