Official visit to Orkney: festival opening reception
Chairman of St Magnus International Festival,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is so nice to be here at this brand new venue. Fantastic to be part of this festival, and we feel so welcome. There is no wonder why we feel at home here on The Orkney Islands. You have so much of what we treasure most about our own country: The sea, the sky, the open landscape, the mythology, the old history. The remoteness and the ruggedness that make us stubborn, strong and with a necessary portion of creativity and stamina.
In short: The Crown Princess and I are very happy to be here.
Earlier today, we visited the cathedral. We studied St Magnus’ portrait as the Norwegian painter Håkon Gullvåg pictures him.
In this painting, I see a man who is difficult to grasp the essence of. He is looking at us, but also beyond us. It is if like he sees something no one else can see. As if he knows that his real power is beyond this world. And if we believe the saga, it was – as miracles started to happen on his grave.
We look very much forward to the performance "I, Pilgrim" in the cathedral later tonight. I am sure festival director Alasdair Nicholson, who has created the music, and the Norwegian author Jon Fosse – who has written the text, have united their forces in the best possible way.
Reflecting on homelessness and migration, I am confident that tonight’s performance will shed new light on this subject of deep concern for our world today.
Since its earliest days, the festival has involved community participation, with several hundred local performers, educational activities and courses for young people. This adds an important extra dimension to the festival.
I believe the festival week will be quite special – with great cultural experiences within a variety of arts. We are proud that so many respected Norwegian artists and musicians are represented this year. I hope that the already strong cultural ties between us will be further strengthened through the festival.
I want to thank each and every one here tonight for making St Magnus International festival possible! I hope the commemoration of St Magnus will remind us of our shared history, and of the values we strive to build on and live by.
Thank you very much.