(La espera)

A wonderful staged operatic concert, a true symphonic ode to the music of Edvard Grieg

01 june 2019

Solveig, the female character from Henrik Ibsen’s classic Peer Gynt, is at the heart of this new production entitled Waiting (La espera), created by Calixto Bieito in conjunction with the Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgård. It is a wonderful staged operatic concert, a true symphonic ode to the music of Edvard Grieg (Bergen, Norway, 15 June 1843 – 4 September 1907), Norwegian composer and pianist, considered to be one of the main exponents of musical romanticism.

 The musical director of this production is the great Eivind Gullberg Jensen, and the role of Solveig is performed by the magnificent Norwegian soprano Mari Eriksmoen. For the performance taking place at the Arriaga Theatre, she will be accompanied by the Bilbao Orkestra Sinfonikoa (BOS) and 16 members of the Kea Ahots Taldea choir, conducted by Enrique Azurza.

And Peer? He might appear, but in an uncredited role.

 On stage, there will also be evocative videos projected, created by Sarah Derendinger, a Swiss artist who has already stamped her hallmark on several pieces by Calixto Bieito, including Arriaga productions, such as Los esclavos felices and Obabakoak.

 The subject of Waiting (la espera) is the inescapable solitude of humanity, and the small details and stories that make up our existence. That is why the leading role in this piece is taken by Solveig, a female character from Ibsen’s Peer Gynt who has captivated Calixto Bieito for many years now, intrigued by her deception, her desperation, her love and tenacity, and her profound determination.

 This is the first time Karl Ove Knausgård has written something for the stage. He has delved into what it means to be waiting. «The basis was the character of Solveig in Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, the one who does not journey out, but who remains. Solveig is self-extinguishing, she lives for others, something we usually think of as passive, while the man she is waiting for, the one who journeys out, is active. But she is the one who is giving – while he takes. What does it mean to give? What does it mean to wait? What does this do to our way of being in the world? Based on these questions I wrote a story about three generations of women in our time», says the Norwegian novelist. He has created a modern Solveig in a poetic novella, and this forms the backdrop for the performance. Now we will see the transformation of this text on stage, through Bieito’s direction, assisted by an impressive creative team and great artists on the stage.


‘Above me some crows came flying inland. More followed, and soon the air was black with birds. It was like a carpet of flesh, I thought, with beautiful shifting patterns in blue and black, which dissolved the next instant…’



International coproduction

This project is an international coproduction promoted by European artistic institutions that are financing and staging the performances of this production. It is coproduced by the Bergen International Festival (Norway), the Arriaga Theatre, the Tivoli Summer Classical (Denmark), the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra (Sweden), the Iceland Symphony Orchestra (Iceland) and the Vilnius Festivals (Lithuania).

The team

Music: Edvard Grieg


Idea, director: Calixto Bieito

Designer: Sarah Derendinger

Libretto: Karl Ove Knausgård

Executive producer: Bergen International Festival / Anders Beyer


Executive producer: Bergen International Festival (Norway)

Co-producers: Tivoli Summer Classical (Denmark), Teatro Arriaga, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra (Sweden), Iceland Symphony Orchestra (Iceland) y Vilnius Festivals (Lithuania).


Conductor: Eivind Gullberg Jensen

Soprano: Mari Eriksmoen

Orchestra: Bilbao Orkestra Sinfonikoa (Bos)

Choir: KEA Ahots Taldea

Choir director: Enrique Azurza

Baritone soloist: Jagoba Fadrique




from €15 to €52 /discounts

Friends of the Arriaga: From 25 to 35%
Groups, young people, over 65s, the unemployed, large families and people with disabilities in excess of 33%: 25%
Last minute discount (for the previous groups, except Friends of the Arriaga): 50%
Last minute discount for Young Friend of the Arriaga: 70%
Disabled persons in a wheelchair: 50% (in the proscenium, balcony and a companion)