querini opera at røst

In 1431, the Venetian merchant and nobleman Pietro Querini embarked from Crete with course for Flanders in Belgium. The ship was fully loaded with wine, spices and cypress wood.His journey would last from April 1431 until late autumn 1432, when 11 survivors from an original crew of 68 men returned to Venice after what must have been the journey of their lives. The passage was affected by terrible misfortunes and accidents. When they finally approached the English Channel, they were lead out into the Atlantic Ocean west of Ireland by heavy storms. They lost the ship’s rudder, and the sails were shattered by the strong winds. Right before Christmas the crew had to abandon the ship and embark the lifeboats. The two lifeboats soon lost sight of each other, but the largest one, with 47 men on board remained afloat. Because of the bad weather, they had to throw much of their provisions over board, and most of the ship crew died of hunger, thirst, exhaustion and cold.The surviving men were eventually desperate with thirst, and they drank both sea water and their own urine.The 5th January 1432, after twenty days in the lifeboat, they finally landed on a desolate island on Røst. 16 men had survived so far, and their joy was immense. They could see smoke from an island in the distance, but their lifeboat had developed a leak, so they could not reach them.They were stranded on the island for 29 days, until they were saved by local fishermen.The Italians stayed on Røst from 3rd of February until 14th of May 1432. In this period they lived together with the inhabitants of Røst, and the two written stories from this stay, Querini’s own and the crew’s, give an unique insight into daily life in a fishing community in Northern Norway in the 15th Century.
See also Querini website


querini opera

Premiere 4th of August 2012.

Music: Henning Sommerro / Libretto: Ragnar Olsen / Director: Anne Marit Sæther / Stagedesign: Gilles Berger / Video: Tone Myskja / Carpenter: Halvor Sandbak / Soloist costumes: Tone Myskja / Soloistcostume collaborator: Randi Liliequist / Choir costumes: Tone Myskja/The Røst costumegroup under direction of Synnøve Ellingsen

On stage:
Pietro Querini: Magne Fremmerlid / Mrs Querini, his wife: Anna Einarsson / Skarven: Sissel Vera Pettersen / Bernardo da Caglieri: Kjell Magnus Sandve / Maria, his wife: Hildegunn Pettersen / Nicolo : Eivind Kandal / Christoforo Fioravante: Bernt Ola Volungholen / Inga, young girl from Røst: Emilie Tverbak / Direction: Torodd Wigum / Orchestra: NOSO v/Bodø Sinfonietta / Repetition/working with the choir kor: Mikael Rønnberg / Røst Operakor / Røst barnekor, Statister

Producer: Hildegunn Pettersen/Monica Rokne Stendahl / PR og market responsible: Arnfinn Ellingsen / Project leadership: Tor Arne Andreassen / Producer responsible: Røst Kommune
All photos / Annar Bjørgli