Monday, May 25, 2009

Sparks meet Ingmar Bergman

Ron and Russel ready to Bergman it up this autumn. They appear in the musical as Hollywood mogul and The limo driver.

Elin Klinga (Greta Garbo), Jonas Malmsjö (Ingmar Bergman) and director Marie Wennersten Photo: Mattias Ahlm/SR

That might sound like the title of a low budget horror/comedy movie from some distant time. But in reality it's a creative idea no one could see coming; a brand new radio musical performed in two languages about the Swedish director Ingmar Bergman with music by US pop/rock group Sparks.

Here's what the press release says:
Sparks' Ron and Russell Mael have been commissioned by the Swedish National Public radio Sveriges Radio to write and produce an original radio musical. Sparks’ creation, "The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman," is a musical fantasy based on the internationally acclaimed film director Ingmar Bergman.

The radio musical will be broadcast in Sweden in August 2009. An album with the original Swedish version will be released as a limited edition in Sweden. An English version will subsequently be released internationally.

“As Americans we have almost abandoned radio drama and it was truly exhilarating for us to work in a medium where the imagination of the listener is so integral a part of the work. Aside from our love of Bergman, we have a love of Orson Welles and his use of the medium of radio was something that inspired us in this work.” - Ron Mael

Though his films' themes have traditionally centred on matters of death, faith, God's existence, and the struggle to find love and meaning in our lives, Bergman is confronted in the musical by the lure of a mythological Hollywood seemingly at odds with all he stands for---a Hollywood that tempts him and ultimately tries to control him. What starts as an exploration by Bergman of the possible mutual benefits of his working in Hollywood turns into a Kafkaesque nightmare, a nightmare ended with the aid of a most unlikely saviour.

“When Sveriges Radio approached us with the idea of creating our own musical for the radio, we were excited about the prospect yet hesitant at trying to figure a way to successfully fulfil their only restrictions with the project: that it incorporates the Swedish language in some manner. Once we came up with the idea of placing one of the ultimate Swedish icons and one of our favourite film directors, Ingmar Bergman, in a fantasy setting we became extremely excited about this musical and knew we were on to something special.” – Russell Mael

International broadcasts of the musical are being sourced and Sparks are planning to present the musical in a live format as well hoping to see the project be made into a motion picture.

“Although The Seduction Of Ingmar Bergman was commissioned as a radio musical, we always saw it in cinematic terms. We hope that the listeners will be able, in their own minds, to see the same movie that we wrote on hearing it on the radio and that at some point an actual film can be made of this piece. We would also like to present The Seduction Of Ingmar Bergman as a theatre piece and perhaps this will be the next stage show for Sparks.”The story starts in Cannes at the 1956 film festival where Ingmar Bergman has just won and award for Smiles Of A Summer Night.
The radio broacast/world premiere of The Seduction Of Ingmar Bergman will be on August 14.
We'll be glued to the old Telefunken!


monsterpants said...


This has "amazing awesomeness" written all over it. OH MAN, I want to see this so bad.

Thanks for the heads up!
- Gwen

Neb & Siggy said...

We'll keep you posted on broadcast dates etc.
As it will air on Swedish Radio P1 it will be available in streamed splendor as it happens and for 30 days in the online sound archive.