During the past week, I had the opportunity to visit with Suzan Erens and see/hear her sing at the Kulturverkstedet on Sjogata Street in the historic section of Mosjoen, Norway. This was advertised as a "Luncheon with Opera" or perhaps an "opera with your coffee".
Anyway, I decided that it was time to see Suzan and learn about her new home ... So where exactly is Mosjoen, Norway and how do you get there??? For me, the easiest solution is to plug some numbers/data into my Garmin GPS planning page and look at a "proceed direct" solution. From Dallas, USA to Mosjoen, Norway, the shortest route would be a route over Canada, Greenland, thru the Arctic Circle, north of Iceland, across the Norwegian Sea and arrive at Mosjoen. Distance covered would be 4082 nautical miles or 7560 kilometers. And yes, Suzan is closer to us (USA) now compared to when she lived in the Sittard.
The next discovery regarding Mosjoen is the small regional airport that is just 5 kilometers south of the city and is near the Vefsna River. The Mosjoen (MJF) Airport is served by SAS-Wilderoe with the Dehavilland DHC-8 twin turboprop airplane which carries about 40 passengers. The airport has high terrain on all sides, so the steep approach required is similar to the approach flown into Aspen or Vail, Colorado.
Driving from the Mosjoen Airport, I stopped on the road near the departure end of Runway 34 and took a photo of the Vefsna River with the town visible in the background.The picturesque setting reminded me of some small Colorado mountain towns and beyond Mosjoen, part of the "Sju Sostre" (Seven Sisters) snowy peaks were visible.
Once in Mosjoen, it was very easy to find my way around the city of 10,000 inhabitants in the midst of the Vefsnfjord. I found the Helgeland Bank building and the bell-shaped weather camera on the third story of the bank building. From the weather camera perch, it is possible to monitor the adjacent pedestrian mall via the web-cam. Looking past the bank in the photo you may note the historic wooden structures (Sjogata Street) and the imposing snow-capped Oyfjellet Mountain beyond. From here, the Kulturverkstedet was just around the corner where Suzan was singing!
About this same time, I also became aware of the Norwegian trains that pass thru Mosjoen enroute to points south. As an alternative in very poor weather, it is possible to ride the train from Mosjoen directly to the Trondheim (TRD) Airport or to the Oslo (OSL) Airport. From either of these two airports, you may catch jet flights to other parts of Europe or North America.
Walking down Sjogata Street, I found my way into the Kulturverkstedet or Cultural Workshop. Once inside, I located a program "Operalugsj med Suzan Erens" and began reviewing the highlights.
As I was early, I could hear Suzan still rehearsing and running checks, etc. in the next room. I decided to go into the auditorium part and take a seat quietly while she was still busy with the Vefsn Ensemble group. But she saw me, waved and came over to give me a hug. Then, she bounced back to the stage to finish last minute items. I was glad that I came early because the place began to fill up. It wasn't long before the Overture and Suzan began to sing the first selections from "Didos and Aeneas" by English Composer Henry Purcell.
Working with the Vefsn Ensemble and Franziska Wika on piano, Suzan sang selections from "Dido and Aeneas", including "Ah, Belinda" and "Dido's Lament". Next, Suzan sang "Voi Che Sapete" from "The Marriage of Figaro" by Mozart. And after an instrumental number, Suzan came back on stage and sang "Memory" from Andrew Lloyd Webber. To complete the Lunch Menu, she sang one of her favorites "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". At the conclusion, the Vefsn Ensemble posed with Suzan for a group photo.
Following the Opera-Luncheon, Suzan and I had coffee while talking about this small community on the Norwegian Coast. She likes her new home in an area that reminds one of small towns in the Colorado Rocky Mountains but with the added advantage of the ocean nearby. Who knows where this will lead but for now, she is happy and healthy in her Norwegian retreat with an outlet for her singing. Life doesn't get any better.
It was really great to see and hear her again ... LIVE. Can't wait for the next time, wherever and whenever that may be ...
One of the nice things that Suzan enjoys in Mosjoen is taking her dog, Bobbie, with her everywhere. Bobbie patiently waits for Suzan and is a very friendly dog with everyone ... But when he hears that distinctive Voice speaking Dutch, Bobbie runs straight to Suzan.
... Ed Martin
All Photos Are The ©Property of Ed Martin