29 02 2012

Kristina från Duvemåla has it premiere in Finlad, and both Benny and Björn were there for the show.

you can watch a video of the night on Aftonbladets site

More picture and video are available at our web site

Kristina Cast for Helsinki

19 02 2011

One million Swedes saw Kristina from Duvemala in Sweden.  The turn has now finally come to the rest of the world. And the journey begins with a premiere at the Swedish Theatre in Helsinki 29.2.2012.

Swedish Theatre audition team since November last year worked intensively to find the right people to Kristina from Duvemala.

The four main characters consists of two performers from Finland and two from Sweden.

KRISTINA :Maria Ylipää from Helsinki

KARLl OSCAR : Robert Noack from Malmö

ULRIKA : Birthe Wingren from Porvoo

ROBERT : Oskar Nilsson from Stockholm.

KRISTINA och Karl Oscar.

Benny and Bjorn on Kristina

10 03 2010

Following a two-night run in Carnegie Hall last summer the Abba members’ musical Kristina gets its UK premiere at the Albert Hall next month.  Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, the two Bs from Abba, are talking football, unimpressed by Sweden’s performance in a friendly last week against Wales in Swansea, even though their national team won 1-0.

“We weren’t very good,” says Benny, with typically Swedish deadpannery. “But they were worse.”  Thanks to the all-conquering musical Mamma Mia!, Benny and Bjorn – now well into their sixties – are probably as well known today as they were in Abba’s Seventies heyday. But they are here in the Albert Hall cafe to talk about a very different musical of theirs – Kristina, which premiered in Sweden in 1995 and has now, rather belatedly, been translated for English-speaking audiences.

Famous lyricist Herbert Kretzmer, who co-wrote Les Miserables, the musical epic with which Kristina shares obvious parallels, was drafted in to give it Broadway polish. Following a two-night run in Carnegie Hall last summer — recorded for a forthcoming two-CD set — the opus gets its UK premiere at a one-off concert performance at the Albert Hall next month. In any language, it’s as far removed from the boys’ previous work as is imaginable.

To give its original, full title, Kristina från Duvemåla (Kristina from Duvemala), it is an ambitious adaption of The Emigrants, a quadrilogy of historical novels by Vilhelm Moberg, Sweden’s most revered writer, and follows the misadventures of a poor Swedish family as it attempts to make a new life in Minnesota.

Unlike the Seventies film version of the Moberg novels, which starred Max von Sydow as the head of the family, Benny and Björn’s musical puts Kristina, a level-headed and deeply religious matriarch, centre stage. The privations and tribulations she experiences in seeking a better life for her family — from lice infestations on the transatlantic sea voyage to multiple miscarriages — lead ultimately to her questioning God’s existence. Very Swedish.

With its range of themes (which include prostitution, gold rush fever and — in a lighter song — a bilingual fart gag), as well as its almost Wagnerian length (some four hours in its original format), Benny considers it more than your average West End musical. “I think of it as opera,” he says, unsniffily.

Certainly, it is scored almost entirely for orchestra with an enormous chorus, although it also contains the occasional electric guitar, the odd Nordic folk number, and some very “Benny” piano riffs that give it more than a hint of “popera”. The English version is, thankfully, substantially trimmed. “But now down to three and a half hours, it’s almost too short, if you ask me,” says Benny.

Rather than working together at the piano, as they did when knocking out Abba hits, Benny and Björn worked alone when writing their contributions to Kristina — the score and the lyrics, respectively — which goes some way to explain why it took the pair five years to finish.

“A lot of the material was also written in rehearsal,” admits Björn, who needed the deadline of a opening night to compress the four novels into a show. “With Abba, we didn’t have anyone breathing down our necks. For this, people were rehearsing while I was writing the last lyrics. That was a kind of cliffhanger.”

Despite the downbeat subject, Kristina is swept along by numerous irresistible showstoppers. Upon hearing the musical for the first time, Andrew Lloyd Webber is reported to have said that he’d wished he’d written it.

“You can’t really compare Abba and Kristina,” says Benny. “They’re very different, in a compositional and emotional sense. But I’m easily as proud of it as of Abba.”

There was a strong personal reason to present it to English-speaking audiences. “We did it in English,” says Benny, “just to have an opportunity to say: ‘So there’s Mamma Mia down the road, on Broadway and in the West End, and this here is Kristina and there’s no resemblance, really, apart from it’s the same guys behind it. And that feels good.”

Abba were never big in America — they only ever had one Billboard number one, with Dancing Queen, and the widely panned Broadway production of Chess in 1988 went down as one of Benny and Bjorn’s most notable failures. But thanks to Mamma Mia!, that has changed. Benny now says with a smile: “I think we’ve finally cracked the States.” If proof were needed, the band will be inaugurated into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in New York later this month.

“Isn’t that amazing?” says Benny. “I don’t know what it means exactly, I’m just flattered. We’re considered alongside Little Richard and Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley and Paul McCartney, so it’s not bad. We’re the only non-English or American act to have made it in. Ever. But we were never rock and roll. Kristina at the Albert Hall is light years away from rock and roll.”

‘Kristina’ will be performed at the Albert Hall, London SW7 (0845 401 5045), on Apr 14. Details:

The soundtrack will be released by Decca on Apr 12.



25 09 2009


Kristina Site Update

21 08 2009

K2The Official Kristina site has now finally been updated with the full casting. You can also hear the medley once again in the Sights and sounds section.


21 06 2009

A wonderful 3 page feature in today’s SUNDAY TIMES has an interview with Benny by Dan Cairns.Culture_575554a

 The new Kristina site has a great video with Benny,Bjorn & Helen singing the English version of Hemma/Home. You can also listen to/download the full version of STORY OF A HEART.kristina video 










Helen To Play Kristina in New York.

28 05 2009

5028213 545766

Helen Sjöholm, who originated the title role in the Swedish production of KRISTINA, and internationally renowned & beautiful tenor Russell Watson, will headline the concert version of Benny and Björn’s musical at Carnegie Hall featuring a 50 piece symphony orchestra conducted by Paul Gemignani. Directed by Lars Rudolfsson, the complete 32 member company will be announced shortly.

Tickets for KRISTINA go on sale this Sunday, May 31 at 12:00p at the Carnegie Hall Box Office online at



KRISTINA: English cast recording

18 05 2009

As was well expected from comments made by Bjorn, Kristina is to be released on CD in English. Universal/Decca will be releasing a live cast recording from the Kristina Concerts at Carnegie Hall.

kristina cdGoing with Benny and Bjorn’s long established and highly successful format of releasing a cast album first before producing a stage version. CHESS AND KRISTINA FRAN DUVEMALA both saw the light of days as a cast recording before going on to be successful Stage production. Although over a longer time span MAMMA MIA! evolved the same way.

KRISTINA is belived to be released as a double CD shortly after the concerts.