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Oslo’s 10 Unmissable Art Events and Festivals in Summer 2014
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Oslo’s 10 Unmissable Art Events and Festivals in Summer 2014

Picture of Lucy Freeland
Updated: 9 February 2017
As the economic and governmental centre of Norway, Oslo is no stranger to hosting a multitude of visitors. This summer, the cosmopolitan, vibrant city entices visitors with a range of cultural events and exhibitions – their musical history pervades the programme to provide a sonorous backdrop to any summer visit, complimented by theatre, visual-artistry and bustling stalls full of designer arts and crafts. Here are ten of the very best examples of why Oslo should be on your to-do list during summer 2014.

Culture | Ibsen’s Quotes

Until 30 August

Oslo’s famous Ibsen quotes, engraved into the pavement from the Grand Café all the way to playwright Henrik Ibsen’s former residence in Arbins Gate 1, are brought to life this summer with a selection of accompanying theatrical and musical performances. Artists, musicians, sculptors, actors and dancers – not to mention numerous schools and community initiatives – have come together to raise awareness of the beautiful words beneath your feet. Enjoy Ibsen’s wisdom amidst small scale dramatic productions, jugglers and roaming Ibsen characters.

Ibsen’s quotes starts out at Grand Café, Karl Johans gate 31, Oslo, Norway

Performing Arts | At the Summer Castle: Oscarshall

25 – 28 June

The beautiful palace Oscarshall at Bygdøy has opened its doors every summer since its renovation in 1852, a summer gift at the disposal of the King of Norway. Six exclusive productions play out over the four day period, championing interdisciplinarity with unique performances from the National Ballet, the National Opera and the Opera orchestra, combining to provide the basis for neoclassical, modern and traditional dance against lilting romantic melodies. The consuming experience begins with a captivating boat trip from the Opera House to explore the nooks and crannies in and around the stunning Palace – the very best way to welcome in summer 2014.

At the Summer Castle, Oscarshallveien, Oslo, Norway

Music | Balcony Concerts

2 July – 3 August

The Opera house Balcony Concerts have become a charming staple in the Oslo summer calendar. Across the course of a month, there will be 25 concerts taking place on the first balcony, premiering young performers and compositions as well as experienced and renowned artists – all performing in the intimate chamber orchestra format. This year, hear the beautiful violin ensemble led by Victoria Putterman (6 July) or the dulcet tones of Margrethe Fredheim (24 July).

Balcony Concerts, Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, Kirsten Flagstads Plass 1, Oslo, Norway

Oslo Opera House © Erik Berg
Oslo Opera House © Erik Berg

Music | Oya Festival

5 – 9 August

The brilliant and vibrant atmosphere of Oya Festival is infectious: with no age limit and a bohemian vibe circulating throughout the entire festival, Norway’s biggest and most popular musical event is one not to be missed. Previously featuring hugely successful bands such as The Arctic Monkeys and Babyshambles, Oya is famous for infallible quality – this year Outkast join an impressive line up alongside The National and Queens of the Stone Age.

Oya Festival, Tøyenparken, Sofienberg, Oslo, Norway

Music | Oslo Jazz Festival

12 – 17 August

Oslo Jazz Festival has gone from strength to strength since its conception in 1986, now hosting over 70 concerts upon no less than 18 different stages. Incorporating every type of jazz into their impressive programme, Oslo is now being internationally recognised as one of the most significant and most enjoyable venues for jazz festivals in Europe, offering free concerts at the Karl Johan to entice the crowds and committing to word-class events for children and young people through the BUZZ initiative.

Oslo Jazz Festival, Øvre Vollgate 15, Oslo, Norway, +47 22 42 91 20

Theatre | Peer Gynt by Lake Gålå

10 – 24 August

Somewhat outside of Oslo, but a wonderful addition to the Oslo Grieg Festival – an annual event championing Edvard Grieg’s greatest and lesser known works in conjunction with the National Theatre, Oslo Cathedral and the Oslo University – is Peer Gynt by Lake Gålå. Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt is perhaps Norway’s most famous cultural export; accompanied by the breath-taking score of Edward Grieg, the masterpiece endures throughout the ages with its ever-pertinent themes of self-awareness, individuality in the formidable scope of the world and so forth. This particular rendition of Peer Gynt is spectacular and well-worth the journey: staged in Gålå, way up in the misty Norwegian mountains and beside a lake in the depth of the forest, the atmosphere created by the setting permeates the production with nature and authentic Norwegian culture, blended into theatre and music. As well as Grieg’s iconic score, entirely new music has been incorporated into this year’s production, accompanying many great names in Norwegian theatre who have leapt at the chance to take part in this stunning event. To truly immerse yourself in the life of Peer Gynt, a cosy, warm yurt at Lake Gålå will transform into Anitras Restaurant, offering a flavour of Peer Gynt’s travels. With a delicious three course Moroccan menu served amongst authentic Moroccan furnishings by waiters dressed in Arabic suits, Anitras Restaurant is the perfect start to an evening of cultural decadence.

Peer Gynt, Gålå, Norway

Culture | Culture and Market Days

22 – 24 August

Culture and Market Days in Oslo posit not only a link between theatre, food and culture but between culture and business, offering local institutions the opportunity to experience record sales in this outdoor, bohemian approach to retail. There is everything one might desire from an afternoon’s entertainment: outdoor dining, street performers, music, theatre and an abundance of amusements for children, such as face-painting and jugglers. Sumptuous organic and local produce is available to sample and purchase, alongside hand-crafted sculptures and beautiful works of art.

Culture and Market Days, Grünerløkka, Oslo, Norway

Music | Oslo Kammermusikk

16 – 23 August and 23 September

Kammermusikk celebrates the intimacy and diversity of chamber music, scattered across various venues and taking Akershus Fortress as the main stage. This event is led leading musicians such as the formidably talented Vladimir Ashkenazy and Lawrence Power, promising music from the Middle Ages right up to the present day, displaying the history and progression of chamber music in Norway and worldwide.

Kammermusikk, Akershus Fortress, Oslo, Norway

Culture | Arts and Crafts Fair

20 – 22 August

Every year, against the backdrop of the stunning Oslo cathedral, over 100 craftsmen and designers gather to exhibit and sell their works in bazaar stalls. There is everything from beautiful cheaper items to bespoke, unique works of ceramic, jewellery, metal works, textiles and glass. The artists themselves are present to provide an additional dimension to the experience, allowing visitors to learn about the techniques and craftsmanship involved in the items and take away a truly unique piece of artistry.

Arts and Crafts Fair, Basarhallene, Lille Grensen 3, Oslo, Norway

Art | Laila Baadsto Exhibition

Until 16 August

At Hønse-Lovisas Hus this year, everyday moments come to life in the collaboration with Oslo Kamera Klubb. Peruse the snapshots of Claudia Hak and Terje Angeltveit amongst others in the historic surroundings of the riverside house, itself brought to fame by Oskar Braaten’s Kid, in which the character of Hønse-Lovisa is central. Afterwards, enjoy delicious Norwegian desserts and cakes with fresh coffee in the Culture Café, which is quaint and idyllic in equal measure.

Laila Baadsto, Hønse-Lovisas hus, Sandakerveien 2, 0473 Oslo, Norway

By Lucy Freeland

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Europe’s 10 Best Art and Music Festivals in 2014

Istanbul’s 10 Unmissable Art and Culture Events this Summer

Milan’s 10 Unmissable Art and Culture Events in Summer 2014