Category Stage Notes

Anna von Hausswolff thought she had done it all. That was before choreographer Alexander Ekman and composer Mikael Karlsson sought her out for a performance unlike any other. That performance was Midsummer Night's Dream, and it put the young indie rock sensation squarely at the center of Ekman and Karlsson’s wild fantasy in which the traditions of the Scandinavian Midsummer holiday get turned on their head. 

Von Hausswolff shared her thoughts on working with Ekman, her role in Midsummer, and the beloved Swedish customs that Ekman flipped upside down.

How did you react when Alex and Mikael approached you about collaborating for Midsummer?

I felt happy and honored, but also very nervous. I had never worked with such a big set-up and usually I work alone. 

Have you worked with dancers before?

I have never worked with dancers before.  Usually, when I do music, I have my own band and I'm the center of attention. This time I had to take a step back and let the dancers lead. It was inspiring to see them translate the music into movement. I was just a tiny particle in this big, amazing, colorful universe.

How would you describe your role in the performance?

I'm the storyteller and the contemplator. I'm an insider and an outsider. I'm a foreigner and a friend. I'm a mythological creature telling the story of tradition, celebration, and love.

How would you describe the music?

It is a combination of different things: classical, contemporary, experimental music, pop, and traditional Swedish folk music.

By your own account, Midsummer is your first large stage production. Any surprises that you weren't expecting?

I didn’t realize what a big team it takes to make such an ambitious show come to life. There are dancers but also musicians, technicians, producers, production assistants. It was amazing to see these creative people synchronize with each other and make magic happen. If one person failed, somehow the problem was fixed. It takes patience and precision. I was amazed by everyone around me.

What did you enjoy most about this production?

To see the dancers and to interact with them. They give me so much energy and adrenaline.

Do you have a favorite Midsummer memory from childhood?

We had this beautiful summer house in the Swedish countryside. My favorite thing was to run on the field in front of the house and pick up seven different flowers to put them under my pillow. Tradition says that if you go to bed, you will dream of your future lover.

What makes Midsummer unique to other Swedish holidays?

It feels more connected to Norse mythology and Aesir faith with its weird traditions and beliefs connected to nature and nature-beings. It's full of folklore and superstition. It's one of the most interesting, weird, and magical celebrations in Sweden.

Anna von Hausswolff's performance is generously sponsored by Marc DeMoss.

See Alexander Ekman's Midsummer Night's Dream April 25-May 5 at the Lyric Opera House. Purchase tickets here.