Nordic Cool brings Scandinavia to the Kennedy Center

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Entertainment,Music,Emily Cary

Beginning this week, the Kennedy Center hosts Nordic Cool 2013, a monthlong festival celebrating the culture of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Greenland, the Faroe Islands and the Aland Islands. Every aspect of their finest theater, dance, music, visual arts, literature, design, film and cuisine can be experienced. Throughout the stay, the northern lights will illuminate the Kennedy Center facade.

The concerts, plays, stories, poems, films, living artists, forums and free exhibitions will bedazzle. Exhibitions of Nordic architecture, design and environment cover the building grounds and ground floor. Among the eleven films screened in the Eisenhower and Terrace theaters are "The Phantom Carriage" from Sweden, "Naked Harbor" from Finland, "The Almost Man" from Norway, "Marie Kroyer" from Denmark and "The Deep" from Iceland.

Music lovers will revel in a concert by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sakari Oramo of Finland, with Danish guest soprano soloist Inger Dam-Hensen and featuring music by composers representing five nations.

The Iceland Symphony Orchestra led by conductor Ilan Volkov performs works by Grieg and Sibelius and the U.S. premieres of "bd" by Ylnuyar Vilmarsson and "Aeriality" by Anna Thorvaldsdottir, both contemporary Icelandic composers.

Onstage
The Nordic Cool 2013 Festival
Where: The Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW
When: Tuesday through March 17
Info: Various prices

As part of the Fortas Chamber Music Concerts, Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie Von Otter and her countryman Bengt Forsberg present a recital of works by Swedish and Norwegian composers.

Other distinctive musicians are the Swedish Midaircondo, Finnish guitarist Olli Hirvonen's quartet, Norwegian percussionist Terje Isungset performing on instruments he creates from natural materials and glacier ice, and Yggdrasil, a jazz, ethnic, folk, rock and classical music band based in the Faroe Islands.

Those who gravitate to dance will want to attend the mixed repertory program by the Iceland Dance Company, Copenhagen's Danish Dance Theatre performing the U.S. premiere of "Love Songs," and Finland's Tero Saarinen Company dedicated to promoting a humane worldview and basic human values through dance.

Norway's National Theatre presents a streamlined production of Henrik Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler," while Stockholm's Royal Dramatic Theatre offers the U.S. premiere of "Fanny and Alexander," a stage adaptation of Ingmar Bergman's film, both plays in the Eisenhower Theater.

The Terrace Gallery hosts the Cool Club, a glittering potpourri of avant-garde musical sounds, classics to crime literature, silent film, forums and much, much more. There, youngsters will enjoy LEGO sculptures, Nordic gaming, Danish and Swedish theater classics and an animated film from Iceland.

Among the daily free Millennium Stage offerings are pop bands from Iceland, Gustaf Sjokvist's Chamber Choir nominated for the Swedish Grammy, the prize-winning Norwegian folk singer-songwriter Unni Lovlid and the Gaup Sisters performing a program of joik, the traditional song form of the Sami people from the far north.

Guests to the Kennedy Center will not only feast their eyes, ears and minds on the bountiful performances and presentations, but they may also savor the delectable Nordic cuisine, thanks in part to Norwegian chef Morten Sohlberg.

"It will be a huge undertaking, and I can assure you that everything will be delicious."

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