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Box 1347, Minot, ND 58702
See you in 2023
PRESS RELEASE September 21, 2021

Western Plains Opera, in collaboration with Norsk Høstfest, presents An Evening of Norwegian Song and Story

Soprano Dr. Melissa Holm-Johansen, a native of Halden, Norway, currently living in the Twin Cities area and her collaborative pianist Stephen Swanson will share a recital of selected Edvard Grieg songs in new English translations by Dr. William Halvorsen.

Rolf Kristian Stang, a New York City-based performer and vocal coach, will share insights about Norway’s preeminent composer Edvard Grieg and the current growing interest in Grieg’s substantial body of songs. Stang has frequently portrayed Grieg in classrooms and festivals around the world, bringing a depth of understanding of the Norwegian paragon.

A post-recital reception featuring Norwegian delicacies will follow in the NW Arts Gallery in the basement level of Olson Library on the Minot State University campus. Selected paintings created for Norsk Høstfest by Norwegian artist Sigmund Aarseth will be on display, as well as other Norwegian artworks from the collection of the NW Arts Center.

WHEN: Saturday, October 9, 2021, at 7:30 pm.

WHERE: Ann Nicole Nelson Hall, Old Main on the campus of Minot State University

TICKETS: Adults $35 / Students $15

Available online through / phone: 701 858 3369 / may also be purchased at the door


Additional information about our special guests:

Soprano Melissa Holm-Johansen is a native of Halden, Norway, and is a 1998 graduate of St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota, USA, where she graduated cum laude with a double major in vocal performance and music education. Dr. Holm-Johansen holds a D.M.A. in vocal pedagogy and performance from the University of Minnesota and was a two-year recipient of a Torske Klubben scholarship.

Dr. Holm-Johansen has completed a first-of-its-kind all-English recording of songs composed by her countryman Edvard Grieg, in collaboration with pianist Steve Swanson, Norwegian scholar/translator Dr. William Halvorson, and the Edvard Grieg Society of Minnesota. For more information about Dr. Johansen’s Grieg songs recording, please visit

Rolf Kristian Stang An inductee into the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame in 1998, Mr. Stang is a versatile performer who has used his talents in many ways to entertain diverse audiences. People are charmed by his portrayals of historical figures such as Hans Christian Andersen, Edvard Grieg, and Henrik Ibsen.

Mr. Stang first came to Norsk Høstfest in 1993 to present his one-man show Grieg, Edvard Grieg and to present “living program notes” for the 150th anniversary of the birth of Edvard Grieg. Two years later he worked with founder/director of the festival Chester Reiten, CEO Pam Davy, and distinguished Minot educator Lowell Latimer to found Høstfest in the Schools, an outreach program to the schools and to the whole community.

Charismatic figure, writer, language teacher, translator, vocal-repertoire coach, composer, character actor and singer, Mr. Stang was knighted in 1998 by The Norwegian Crown for his role as an important tradition bearer and at the same time received the St. Olaf Medal of Honor. In 2000, while performing at the Smithsonian’s Discovery Theater in Washington, DC, he was honored with a special Sons of Norway Leif Eriksson Millenium Citation.