The Witch Trials

Victimisation and persecution

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The highly sought-after soprano Berit Norbakken Solset travels the world to sing. However, tonight she will perform two works by the Swedish composer Karin Rehnquist at “home” in Northern Norway.

Rehnquist based her work When the Raven Black Turns White on the
Witch Trials in Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries when people, usually women, were groundlessly sentenced to burning at the stake for sorcery, witchcraft and having dealings with Satan.

“Not until I had finished composing the piece did I find out that the nightmare text in the final movement was written by a contemporary Roma author, Rosa Taikon. This coincidental fact made the connection between incitement and persecution (witch trials) of individuals and peoples in our time painfully distinct and direct,” wrote the composer of her work. In the other work, Sun Song, the composer uses a traditional Swedish technique (no vibrato) originally used to call the cattle home. Combined with a more traditional use of the voice, the piece has strong contrasts and nuances in expression.

This concert is part of the subscription series Full Storm, Stor Storm and Liten Storm in Bodø and Total, Mezzo and Piccolo in Tromsø.