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Queen Sonja of Norway surprises opera singer

Queen Sonja surprised a number of opera singers this week when she paid an unannounced visit to Oscarshall palace just outside central Oslo. The palace, which is otherwise one of the Norwegian Royal Family’s celebration and summer palaces, will be used this week in a special performance.

On 29 August, the Metropolitan Opera in New York will broadcast live from Oscarshall. The concert at Oscarshall is the fourth in a series of twelve live performances with soloists associated with the famous opera house. Saturday night is Lise Davidsen’s tour in “Met Stars Live in Concert”. The repertoire primarily includes works by Grieg, Wagner, Strauss and Sibelius, and she will be accompanied by pianist James Baillieu.

Her Mayesty Queen Sonja and Lise Davidsen at Oscarshall. Photo: Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen, The Royal Cour

There will not be an audience at Oscarshall; therefore, the Queen wanted to visit the singer at the palace in advance to see how the building is being used. Lise Davidsen’s big breakthrough came in 2015 when she won several competitions, including the Queen Sonja International Music Competition. Her Majesty the Queen had the pleasure of presenting the award following the grand finale at the Opera in Bjørvika in 2015.

The Queen was also present in New York to see Lise Davidsen in her debut role at the Metropolitan Opera as Lisa in Tchaikovsky’s Spardame in December 2019.

Oscarshall. Photo: The Royal Court.

Oscarshall is located on Bygdøy outside the Oslo city centre. It was completed in 1852 and is managed by His Majesty the King. A number of Norwegian contemporary artists were commissioned during the construction of Oscarshall, and today, the palace appears as a monument to Norwegian art from the mid-19th century and is considered one of Norway’s most important national romantic structures.

In recent years, Oscarshall has increasingly been used as a concert venue. Among other things, the Oslo Chamber Music Festival has events there every year, and the Norwegian Opera & Ballet has had several summer performances.

About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written six books on historical subjects and more than 1.500 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.