NEW YORK "“ Norwegian Coastal Voyage is introducing a five-day/four-night Northern Lights Festival cruise priced at $565 per person, double occupancy, on January 23 on the 674-berth MS Trollfjord from Bergen to Tromso, where the ship joins the Northern Lights Festival to celebrate the sun's return after the long polar night. Dazzling green lights dance across the sky in winter when atmospheric conditions are right. Cabins aboard the festival's official ship, jazz pub and floating hotel cost $70 per person double per night for one- to four-night stays between January 27 and 30. Single rates are $690 for the cruise and $110 per night as a hotel.
The 2006 Northern Lights Festival presents talented musicians, young and established, Norwegian and international, in more than 40 concerts of classical, jazz and contemporary music in the city's concert halls, cafes, cathedral and soccer arena. The Norwegian Broadcasting Orchestra celebrates Mozart's 250th birthday on January 27 with his Symphony No. 25 in G minor, K 183; the world premiere of 32-year-old Norwegian composer Eivin Buene's piano concerto with Torleif Torgerson as soloist on pianoforte, the instrument of Mozart's day; and Stravinsky's "The Firebird". The Nordic premiere of "Ashes to Ashes", a two-character play by Harold Pinter, winner of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature, is in Norwegian with new music by Erik Stifjell of Tromso.
Other highlights are acclaimed trumpeter Ole Edvard Antonsen and organist Kare Nordstoga in a concert showcasing the Arctic Cathedral's new organ; a Soul Evening by the versatile Norwegian Broadcasting Orchestra and five vocalists, including Earl Wilson and Inger Lise Rupdal, in a wide range of blues, jazz, soul, rhythm and blues music; the new "Free Flow Songs", commissioned by the Vossa Jazz festival, by Jan Gunnar Hoff, piano, with Portuguese vocalist Maria Joao; and Beethoven and Schubert sonatas played by Korean pianist Young-Choon Park.
The outdoor opening performance, lunch concerts and some student performances are free. Jazz jams aboard the Trollfjord feature a different group on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 11 pm and local Mack beer from the world's northernmost brewery.
Tromso, 370 miles north of the Arctic Circle and the largest city in North Norway, is a university town with a lively nightlife, colorful wooden houses and museums in a setting of fjords and snow-covered mountains. Warmed by the Gulf Stream, the area has an average daily temperature of 24Â° in January.
The festival cruise on the Trollfjord, a Millennium ship, focuses on Norway's music, culture and the Northern Lights with a concert daily by Grieg Academy students, the Nord-Norsk Visegruppe (Northern Norway Singing Group) or Russian violinist Elena Yakovleva; lectures on the Northern Lights and the traditional and modern Sami music of Lapland; Norwegian and Arctic food specialties; and optional tours of the Art Nouveau town of Alesund, Trondheim's Ringve Museum of musical instruments and medieval Nidaros Cathedral, Bodo and the Saltstraumen tidal current, and a dogsled safari with refreshments in a Sami tent.
Launched in 2002, the modern Trollfjord, has contemporary Norwegian art in the public areas, panoramic lounges, restaurant, 24-hour cafe, convivial bars, Internet CafÃ©, saunas, fitness room, Jacuzzi and pool.
Cruise fares cover accommodations, breakfast and dinner daily, five concerts, three lectures, taxes, port charges and gratuities. Cabin assignments are on a best-available basis. In Tromso cabin rates include buffet breakfast. A three-day sailing from Trondheim to Tromso costs $350 per person double and $415 single occupancy.
Northern Lights Festival tickets go on sale in late November and cost about US$13 to $58 (in Norwegian kroner, NOK 80 to 375). Check the festival web site, www.nordlysfestivalen.no, for the program and booking tickets online; telephone orders can be made to the festival box office at (+ 47) 77 66 33 66 before about 2 pm Eastern time.
For cruise information and reservations contact Norwegian Coastal Voyage at (800) 323-7436 or (212) 319-1300; for brochures, (800) 666-2374, 24 hours a day; web site, www.norwegiancoastalvoyage.us.