Premiere 19 December 2009.
Consert. A musical journey in the land of Father Christmas for the whole family.
A stop in the home of Father Christmas is a constant ingredient of GöteborgsOperan’s Christmas celebrations. The settings have shifted from year to year, but certain ingredients are constant, such as Christmas trees, a snowman, kind and friendly animals, Christmas presents and, of course, the whole of Father Christmas’s family with Hans Josefsson as the father. On the stage are also the orchestra, the choir, soloists and a large children’s choir. The programme contains everything from beautiful shimmering song and elegant orchestral performances to more playful features. One or two surprise figures also usually turn up, maybe an acrobat or magician or a person who speaks backwards. And naturally the audience are invited to sing at the opera in a merry singsong. In the foajé we serve ‘glögg’ (mulled wine), clementines, and ‘pepparkakor’ (ginger biscuits) made by kind Christmas elves, and the great pleasure that comes from a meeting of all generations is in the air – such is the atmosphere at Jultrad-i-ton (Christmas tradition) at GöteborgsOperan.
Hans Josefsson graduated from the Gothenburg University College of Opera in 1971 and was immediately employed by Stora Teatern, where he performed in a great number of leading parts in operas, musicals and operettas.
When he moved to The Göteborg Opera, Hans Josefsson continued his career path in one major performance after another, both as an opera singer and as a director. He has sung in roles such as Chefone in Aniara, Frank in Die Fledermus, Daland in The Flying Dutchman, the Mayor in Jenufa, Scarpia in Tosca, Crespel in The Tale of Hoffman, Balstrode in Peter Grimes, Hermann the Landgrave in Tannhäuser, Dr. Bartolo in Figaro’s Wedding, the Innkeeper Thénardier in Les Misérables and Old Deuteronomy in Cats. He has also authored the idea and script, and both directed and played the part of Father Christmas in The Göteborg Opera's Christmas performance, Jultrad-i-ton, since the beginning of 1995.
He became famous in all the Nordic countries for his interpretation of the character Ernst Rolf in the well-known TV-series. Hans Josefsson has also worked at the Oscars Theatre in Stockholm, Malmö Opera, Det Kongelige Teater in Copenhagen, the Helsinki Opera as well as on several opera stages in Italy. He is also creative director at Himlaspelet in Leksand.
He has made a number of gramophone and disc recordings and is well known as a concert singer and entertainer in many different contexts.
Joa Helgesson was trained at the Stockholm University College of Opera. He had previously studied acting at the Shanghai Theatre Academy in China and classical song in the programme for chamber music at Mälardalen's University College in Västerås. He has been accepted as a trainee at the National Opera Studio in London for the 2009/2010 season.
His début was in 2007 as Arsamene in Xerxes at the Drottningholm Castle Theatre, and then went on to sing Belcore in L’Elisir d’amore at the Kammeroper Schloss Rheinsberg in Germany. He performed the Boy in Malin Hülpher’s children’s opera Älvans hemlighet (The Fairy’s Secret) at Uppsala nya Konserthus and participated in the Finnish YLE in the TV series The Mastersingers. In 2008 he performed as the Samurai in Four Nights of Dream at Vadstena-akademien and Don Giovanni in the Swedish TV-series Hotel Opera. His commitments in 2009 include Dulcamara in L’Elisir d’amore with Opera Viva, the leading role in the opera Joe at Alandica in Mariehamn, Arsamene at The Royal Opera in Stockholm and Palt in the experimental production Barnförbjudet (For Adults Only). Other roles he has performed at the National Opera Studio include Don Giovanni, Pelléas, Figaro in The Barber of Seville and Silvio in Pajazzo. Coming up in 2010 is Belcore in L’Elisir d’amore at the Södertälje Opera.
His concert repertoire includes Bach oratorios: the St. Mathew Passion, the St. John Passion, the Christmas Oratorio and a number of cantatas. He has also performed the Requiems of Brahms, Mozart and Fauré, as well as, Händel's Messiah and Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri. He has featured in radio broadcasts from Berwaldhallen in Lars-Erik Larsson’s God in Disguise and other works, and has sung with orchestras such as the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, The Royal Opera-House Orchestra, the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra and the Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble.
Joa Helgesson has been awarded several scholarships, among them awards from the Royal Music Academy, and he is also the 2009 Anders Wall scholar. His knowledge of, and proficiency in, Mandarin have led to appearances as an actor and artist in the Chinese media.
Erika Sax received a significant part of her training at the Conservatory of Music in Trondheim and the Stockholm University College of Opera. She has performed on stages such as The Göteborg Opera, Värmlandsoperan, Folkoperan, NorrlandsOperan, Läckö Castle Opera, Vasateatern and Berwaldhallen. The roles she has performed include the title role in Rossini’s Cinderella, Clarice in Rossini’s La Pietra del Paragone, Hermia in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Mother in Stravinskij’s Mavra, Gertrude in Gounod’s Romeo and Juliette, and Mary in Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman. This autumn she made her debut at the Royal Opera in a couple of performances as Pauline in Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades.
At The Göteborg Opera she has sung the parts of Pauline in The Queen of Spades, Maddalena in Rigoletto, Amman in Boris Godunov, Rudolf Nurejev in Die Fledermaus and the double role of Liselott/Maria-Lucia in Carl Unander-Scharin’s opera, Sömnkliniken. In the spring of 2010 we can look forward to Myrtale in Thaïs. She has also performed as a soloist at The Göteborg Opera’s Summer Concerts in 2003 and the Epiphany Concert in 2004.
As a concert singer Erika Sax has performed with the Helsinborg Symphony Orchestra, the Uppsala Chamber Orchestra, the Dala Chamber Orchestra, the Gävle Symphony Orchestra, the Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble and others.
Anna Werner received her training at the Academy of Ballet in Gothenburg and has a background as a Swedish and Nordic woman champion in gymnastics. Her participation in performances includes the productions Kharmen at Gothenburg's Stadsteater, Fame, The Musical at Oscarsteatern in Stockholm and Slagthuset in Malmö, and she has also toured in Sweden and internationally as a singer with the group Showtime.
At The Göteborg Opera Anna Werner has played Silly Girl in Beauty and the Beast, Rumpleteazer in Cats, Husa in My Fair Lady. She also gave several performances in the leading role as Eliza in Mary Poppins and most recently played Amman in Romeo & Julia.
Zilla & Totte.
The ventriloquist Zillah and her cheeky monkey Totte have become a well-known duo with several hundred performances, a World Championship title, their own TV-programme on TV4 and an album of musicals behind them. Zillah, who is 20 years old, has dreamt of becoming a ventriloquist ever since her early childhood, an art she has now fully masterered.
They have been very busy ever since they won their prize in Talang 2007 on TV4. For example, Zillah & Totte are the proud holders of the title Grand Champion ofthe World since they won in the Varieté category in the world’s greatest talent show in the US in the summer of 2008. But this was just the beginning. In December 2008 the duo produced a musical album of original music, and the first episode of their own talk show “Monkey-TV with Zillah & Totte” was broadcast on TV4. The album kept its position in the charts for a whole 12 weeks and in the autumn of 2009 the third repeat instalment of the TV-series was shown. Now a whole new season with the duo has been recorded and will be broadcast on TV4 starting in January.
Apart from the millions of people watching on the Internet and all those who will see Zillah & Totte on TV, it is when they give performances on stages all around the country that the popular duo will meet their public. With their dazzling technique, their subtle intuition and their humble approach they have scored success after success in their performances for both adults and children.
They combine their own charming music with sketches, magic and other mischief. It is not uncommon for them to draw record attendances to their performances on their tours and there are often long winding lines of fans of all ages waiting for them afterwards, hoping for a hug or an autograph from Totte.