Wilhelm Peterson-Berger (1867−1942)

Sveagaldrar. Ett sångdramatiskt festspel (till Oscar II:s 25-åriga regeringsjubileum) i 4 bilder [Swedish galdr. A song dramatic festival play (to Oscar II's 25-year jubilee of government) in 4 images]

  • Year of composition: 1897
  • Work category: Opera, one act
  • Text author: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger
  • First performed: 21 september 1897. According to Henrik Karlsson's list of Peterson-Berger's works (2004), this opera premiered at the Kungliga Teatern [The Royal Theatre/Opera] and was conducted by Conrad Nordqvist (?), whereas the 'Kungliga Teatern. Repertoar 1773-1973' (1974) states that it took place at the Svenska Teatern [The Swedish Theatre, Stockholm] as the new opera house did not open until 1898, and under the baton of R[ichard] Henneberg.
    Performers at the premiere were Axel Sellergren (Drotten), Carolina Östberg (Saga), Mathilda Linden (née Jungstedt) (Svea), Arvid Ödmann (En yngling), Anna Thulin (m. Hellström and Oscàr) (En mö), Carl Lejdström (En härold).
  • Duration: Approx. 50-60 min


3*.2*.2.2 / 4.3.3*.1 / timp (2 par i bild 4), perc, 2 hp / str
(picc, cor angl, bass tbn)

Solo voices/choir

Drotten [The Chief] (bass)
Drottningen [The Queen] [mute role]
Saga (soprano)
Svea (mezzo-soprano)
En yngling [A young man] (tenor)
En mö [A maiden] (soprano)
En härold [A herald] (baritone)
Drottningens hird (krigare/huskarlar), tärnor och svenner, gäster, sköldmör [The Queen’s hird (warriors/hirdsmen), maids, esquires, guests, shield-maidens]
Skogstroll, Ägirs döttrar, osynliga körer [Forest trolls, Ægir’s daughters, invisible choirs]

Solo voices: 2 sopranos (Saga, En mö [A maiden]), 1 mezzo-soprano (Svea), 1 tenor (En yngling [A young man]), 1 baritone (En härold [A herald]), 1 bass (Drotten [The Chief]), 1 stum kvinnlig roll (Drottningen) [1 mute role (The Queen)]
Choirs: Female choir, Male choir, Mixed choir

Examples of printed editions

Libretto, printed 1897 (at Musik- och teaterbiblioteket)

Location for score and part material

Score and parts to the Prelude in facsimile at Musik- och teaterbiblioteket.

  • Location autograph: Musik- och teaterbiblioteket
  • Possible call no. and autograph comment: Z/Sv (score - partly sketch, choral score, piano reduction); according to an annotation in the score (autograph), the harp is only heard in the final scene of the cantata (which, by the way, is musically identical to the prelude).
    The Prelude [Tribute March] in autograph, which is set for piano, is inscribed "Correctur!" [Proof!]


Karlsson, Henrik: Wilhelm Peterson-Berger. Verkförteckning [List of works] (2004) [available at the Musik- och teaterbiblioteket]

Description of work

Prelude: Allegro vivo à la marcia A major 4/4 (C)

First image
A grotto, from which opening there is a view of a vast mountain landscape.
Scene 1. Saga
Scene 2. Svea, Saga

Second image
A forest. Under a big spruce there is a young man sleeping, surrounded by farming equipment and weapons.
Scene 1. [Forest trolls dancing around the young man.] Osynlig kör af skogsandar (manskör) [Invisible choir of forest spirits (male choir)]
Scene 2. Svea, Osynlig kör (manskör), Skogsandarne (manskör), Ynglingen [Svea, Invisible choir (male choir), The forest spirits (male choir), The young man]

Third image
A skerry in the sea. A maiden lies sleeping on the rock. Ægir’s daughters swim playingly around it.
Scene 1. Ägirs döttrar (damkör) [Ægir’s daughters (female choir)]
Scene 2. A longship moors at the skerry. Svea is standing on its deck. Abruptly, the mermaids dive down. Svea, Hafsjungfrurna (osynliga, damkör; i körpartituret står - troligen felaktigt - Ägirs döttrar) [The mermaids (invisible; female choir; here, probably erroneously, the choral score indicates ’Ægir’s daughters’], Mön [The maiden]

Fourth image
An old Swedish royal hall (longhouse)
Scene 1. The Chief and Queen are sitting in their seats of honour. The hird is assbled, together with maids and courtiers. It is evening, torches are alight along the walls. A herald is standing, leaning against the doorjamb. The Chief and The herald sing an antiphon. Drotten, Härolden, Hirden och folket (blandad kör) [The Chief, The herald, The hird, People (mixed choir)]
Scene 2. Svea enters, leading the two young by the hand. More guests enter. Svea, Drotten, Kör (blandad kör), Ynglingen, Mön, Slutkör (blandad kör) [Svea, The Chief, Choir (mixed choir), The young man, The maiden, Final choir (mixed choir)]

Work comment

The word 'galdrar' [galdr] refers to old Norse magic songs; 'Svea' = Swedes.

See also "Sveagaldrar. Förspel (Hyllningsmarsch)".