Song Of Norway

Song of Norway is an operetta written in 1944 by Robert Wright and George Forrest, adapted from the music of Edvard Grieg and the book by Milton Lazarus. A very loose film adaptation with major changes to both the book and music was released in 1970.

Song of Norway was originally developed and presented in Los Angeles by Edwin Lester’s Los Angeles Civic Light Opera in 1944, with essentially the same cast as seen later on Broadway. After successful runs in Los Angeles and San Francisco, the show opened at the Imperial Theatre in New York on August 21, 1944, and ran for 860 performances. It was also popular in London running for 526 performances at the Palace Theatre, the first Broadway show to cross the Atlantic after the end of the Second World War.

The show is set in Norway in Troldhaugen and Bergen; as well as Copenhagen and Rome in and after 1860. It follows the fictionalized lives of three childhood friends: Edvard Grieg (played in New York by Lawrence Brooks), Nina Hagerup (Helena Bliss) and Rikard Nordraak (Robert Shafer). Using Grieg’s best-loved tunes, the play tells the story of his rise to fame as a world-famous composer. His love for his childhood sweetheart, Nina, and his country is selfishly manipulated by the scheming opera diva Louisa Giovanni (originally played on Broadway by Irra Petina), who is besotted by Grieg and determined to keep him from Nina by using him as her pianist in world tours. Only through the love of his friends does he finally realize that Norway is where he will find true happiness.

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