I hope all of you have seen this page before. I do not want to take this for granted thought, because then I would appear self-conceited. Therefore I will start off with the most basic information there is to say about it. This is the front page of ibsen.net, and if you click on the Union Jack on the top to the left (show http://www.ibsen.net/index.db2?id=83) you’ll get the front page of the English version of ibsen.net. This is the website of the National Ibsen Committee of Norway. The site was launched in January 2002. It has been very well visited since then with a monthly average of 230,000 hits and of nearly 10,000 unique visitors (each month). This is firstly extremely good for a website only dealing with an author, secondly it proves what we already know, that Ibsen still fascinates people all over the world, that there’s a huge request for knowledge, for information on Ibsen. And this is what we’re offering on ibsen.net.
The site will function as a tool for the National Ibsen Committee and for the organisors of the Ibsen year 2006. But the committee and 2006 are not the main issues here. 2006 is just another year. The main concern of the ibsen.net project is Ibsen himself, his works, his life. The site is all about Ibsen (which is in fact also our motto).
We are two people sitting at the Ibsen Centre in
The best way to get acquainted with the site is of course to log on to the site on your own laptop. I will, as the title indicates, only give a quick presentation of elements on ibsen.net which are of special interest for scholars like you. Please do explore all the other parts of the site yourselves.
I want to focus on two elements, the
The repertoire database is a catalogue of Ibsen
performances from 1850and
up to the present day. The eldest Ibsen performance recorded is Christiania
Theater’s production of “Kjæmpehøien” from
The database is designed for the purpose of recording theatre performances of Ibsen’s plays. But we do also include radio and television theatre performances; readings; ballet, dance theatre and operatic versions of Ibsen’s plays. Ibsen performances from all over the world are recorded. No geographical limitations are imposed. One of the main objectives is to document the presence of Ibsen in the repertoires of theatres all over the world. Performances put on by both amateur and professional actors are recorded.
Why have we made the database?
1) Documentation: Ibsen is one of the greatest dramatist in world literature. Who has staged and performed Ibsen? Where and when did they do it?
2) The repertoire database as a tool for theatre research. Documentation is good, but it is pointless if the documentation material is not used in any way.
Before I say more about this, let’s have a look at the design of the database. I will show you a couple of examples.
(Search on The Burial Mound from the
search page of the
Very few consider “Kjæmpehøien” or “The Burial Mound” to be the best play Ibsen wrote, so it has been staged only twice.
Example 1: Christiania Theater’s production of
Example 2: English Touring Theatre’s production of “The Master Builder” from 1999: http://www.ibsen.net/index.db2?id=9062
Example 3: Dramaten’s last production of “Ghosts”, directed by Ingmar Bergman: http://www.ibsen.net/index.db2?id=13524
Example 4: City Theatre of
We record a wide range of data from each production. We limit ourselves to 26 plays written by one single dramatist, it’s a very specialised database in its kind, because of this each record should contain a lot of data.
In some cases this field contains the name of the venue. E.g. English Touring Theatre’s production of “The Master Builder”: http://www.ibsen.net/index.db2?id=9062
English Touring Theatre produced it, Lyceum Theatre had the opening show, but didn’t have anything to do with the production
1) German: Soria Moria - Das Leben ein Märchen... oder nicht, von Ted Keijser (frei nach „Peer Gynt“ von Henrik Ibsen)
Gynty - A Theatre
3) Norwegian: Peer Gyntinnen? - eller Hva om Dovregubben var en liten mann
4) Icelandic: Uppgjör við Pétur Gaut - Valdir kaflar úr Pétri Gaut eftir Henrik Ibsen
5) Peer Pressure
6) Peer, du lyver!
7) Lyver du Peer? etc.
· Opening date and closing date
· Performance period: (example: Dramaten) If the production has been performed in more than one season and we know the date of the re-opening, we put that information in this field.
· Number of performances - Interesting as an indication of the success of the production (example: Christiania Theater).
· Cast (in parenthesis which part the actor is playing)
Further we record the creative team behind the production (example: Dramaten):
· Set designer
· Costume designer
· Mask designer
· Lighting designer
· Composer or the composers of the music used in the production if any
· Sound designer
Technicians are not recorded.
In the case of “The Burial Mound” it’s of course essential and relevant to mention that it was the very first Ibsen performance.
If it’s a TV drama production
this is marked in this field (show http://www.ibsen.net/index.db2?id=53689,
Additional names: f. i. the name of the conductor, if the music plays a significant role like in an operatic version is included in this field.
Pictures from performances can also be included in the database. If the theatres allow us to attach them to the records we are very happy about that (example: City Theatre of Independence’s production of “Hedda Gabler”).
Links to reviews which are available on the Internet can be
attached (example: Dramaten’s last production of “Ghosts”).
A few words about the status of our recordings:
The database is very up to date when it comes to the recording of contemporary Ibsen performances. In 2002 there were 136 different Ibsen premieres according to our database. So far in 2003 we’ve recorded 59 productions.
The retrospective part of the work though is a very long
story. All together only 121 productions
have been recorded from the 19th century, t.i. from
I’m very content with the 2002 and the 2003 figures, but not with the 19th century figure. So we still have a big job to do in recording old Ibsen productions. This as a warning.
Now to the question: what use can be maid of this database, for whom have we made it?
The primary target group is Ibsen scholars, theatre researchers and historians like you. The database contains empiric data: names, dates, numbers: hard facts. You won’t get any impression of the productions as they appeared on stage. That’s not the point either.
The point with the
1) To gather facts
2) To make statistical observations, to ascertain facts, to observe tendencies.
Which plays of Ibsen are still being staged and which not?
Which geographical areas do not stage Ibsen anymore and which do? Which theatre
has staged Ibsen mostly? How many Peer Gynt productions have been made
altogether? Which TV drama productions have been made? Which radio theatre
productions? Which play of Ibsen is mostly staged? How many Ibsen productions
have been made in
Everything is searchable. Search on a
particular theatre, a city, an actor, a role, a set designer or whatever.
Search on two or three things at the same time (how many times has Peer Gynt
been staged by Nationaltheatret in
Click on On the
Now let’s move on to the section Digitalised Ibsen literature (http://www.ibsen.net/index.db2?id=11970 ): The objective of this section is an important one: to ease access to Ibsen’s own texts and to important texts on Ibsen, to make them available to Internet users all over the world.
I must give you another warning now. There is a huge gap in this section, a gap that needs to be filled in. Ibsen’s complete works are for the time being not available as electronic text on ibsen.net, neither in Dano-Norwegian nor in English nor in any other language. We are in the process of making this, t. i. an electronic edition of Ibsen’s complete works, his 26 plays and all 300 or so poems, we will use Danish Gyldendal’s edition of Ibsen’s collected works, published in ten volumes from 1898 to 1902. But you need to be patient another year or so. An Ibsen concordance is available, not made by us, but we do of course have a link to it. In principle Ibsen’s complete works are available in the Ibsen concordance. But you do not get whole texts, the Ibsen concordance gives you one sentence at the time, small fragments. Very useful, but a concordance is not an edition in the sense that I’m talking about here.
This fact, that Ibsen’s works as a whole are not available on any website is not only a pity and a shame. It’s absurd. Ibsen’s texts are no longer copyright restricted. Shakespeare’s collected works have been available on the Internet for years. Sorry about this.
So much for the gap. Now it’s my great pleasure to say to you that John Northam’s English translations of Ibsen’s collected poems have been published on the ibsen.net. It’s actually the first edition ever of the whole corpus in English. They are presented in chronological order. We will within the next year also publish John Northam’s translations of “Brand” and “Peer Gynt”.
What about texts on Ibsen? (Now I’m slowly reaching the end
of my presentation.) We have digitalised a lot of theatre and book reviews from
the 19th century, namely the first reviews Ibsen got when his plays
were published in book form and when the plays were performed on stage. Our
point here has been to mirror the emergence of Ibsen’s works, the emergence of
Ibsen the dramatist and Ibsen the poet. We have chosen these texts partly
because they are extremely interesting in terms of literary history, partly
because they are not easy to get hold of. If you live in
(Show http://www.ibsen.net/index.db2?id=15558 ) You will find the four reviews Ibsen got when he published “Catiline”. One ends up in the Norwegian version of the site. We have not translated these texts. Most of them are in Norwegian and Danish, some are in Swedish, some in German and in English. We reproduce them in the language in which they were originally written.
Since we are in the English-speaking part of the world, I will show you some of the texts written in English.
We have digitalised James Joyce's review of When We Dead
Awaken in “Fortnightly
You will also find William Archer’s “The
Mausoleum of Ibsen”, published in Fortnightly
And last not least, let’s not forget the fabulous “The Burial Mound” which was Ibsen’s first appearance on the world stage. We have digitalised three reviews of the staging at Christinia Theater ( http://www.ibsen.net/index.db2?id=194 ).
Thank you for your attention.