Published 21 August 2012

Chess på svenska (Chess in Swedish)

The Göteborg Opera’s production of Chess på svenska is a full-on social satire of today’s media-dominated society, where the action is centred on a lavish TV show.

The musical Chess by Benny Andersson, Tim Rice and Björn Ulvaeus was a great success at the time of its original premier in London. 2002 saw the arrival of Chess på svenska in an adaptation by Lars Rudolfsson, and now at last we are able to see it at The Göteborg Opera.

Director Mira Bartov brings us a production replete with strong characters and choreography. The set design and costumes are imbued with a graphic style and bizarre characterisation drawn from the world of comics, and the cold war setting of the original has been replaced by the media-dominated society of today.

The action unfolds during a TV reality chess championship involving the two chess players Freddie and Anatoly. On the one hand is Freddie, a provocative superstar who willingly chooses to revel in the spotlight of publicity. On the other is Anatoly, a pawn in the power game in a world where surveillance is a menacing tool in the fight for control. His Svetlana is the woman who takes care of everything but who loses her husband when Anatoly falls in love with Freddie’s girlfriend Florence. Some turbulent days ensue in which lives are turned upside down, and when the championship is over none of the people are the same as they were when the opening move was played.

Anatoly is played by Philip Jalmelid. The part of Freddie is taken by Christopher Wollter. His girlfriend Florence is played by Evelyn Jons, and the role of Anatoly’s wife Svetlana is taken by Nina Pressing. Molokov is played by Johan Schinkler, and the adjudicator, who in this production is a dual character, is played by twin brothers Henrik and Magnus Rongedal

Director Mira Bartov, whose career so far has included the post of artistic director at Folkoperan, made her first musical after directing a number of operas in both Sweden and abroad. Stage design and lighting are by Kristin Bredal and costume design by Anna Ardelius. Anders Eljas, who has been involved right from the start in Chess and Chess på svenska, is responsible for arranging the music and shares the conducting with Björn Dobbelaere.

Chess på svenska will run until 22 March 2013 inclusive.

Press showing on Tuesday 4 September at 2.30 pm (assemble at the stage door at 2.20 pm), registration and requests for interviewers no later than 3 September to Jenny Jernberg, press officer for The Göteborg Opera. Contact Jenny Jernberg no later than Tuesday, 4 September for review tickets at

Chess på svenska is performed in Swedish.**

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