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Swedish orchestra turns antigay hate mail it received into a cantata of love

Last month, an anonymous letter arrived at Helsingborg Concert Hall in Sweden. It referred to a recent Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra concert that featured music by LGBTQ composers.

The author of the letter said the show made him “want to vomit” and accused the orchestra of “hopping aboard the f*g train” before saying he was canceling his subscription.


Well, rather than get upset, composer Fredrik Österling and tenor Rickard Söderberg decided to take the letter and set it to music. Now, the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra will perform the cantata, appropriately titled “Bögtåget” (“The F*g Train”), before a live audience later this month.

Related: Gay man shuts down younger sister’s homophobic bully with one fantastic Facebook post

Österling says: “As an artistic institution, we naturally actively relate to our surroundings and events going on around us. The hate letter I received reeked of contempt and fear for the love between human beings.”

He continues, “I had no hesitation when Rickard Söderberg suggested that I should set it to music. By considering the text as an opera libretto, we were able to scrutinize the emotions that the anonymous sender was seeking to express. And at the same time, we are doing exactly what an artistic institution should be doing; we are reflecting our times in our art.”

Watch Söderberg perform “Bögtåget” while wearing a rainbow t-shirt, rainbow glasses, and nail polish.


I våras kom kom ett brev där den anonyma avsändaren "vill kräkas" och rasar att Helsingborgs Konserthus och Dunkers Kulturhus "hoppat på bögtåget". Hat med sådana poetiska ambitioner kan jag ju inte låta gå obemärkt förbi, så nu har Fredrik Österling tonsatt brevet och på min konsert med Symfoniorkestern nästa vecka får jag äntligen chans att framföra hela det osande brevet i en ny kantat: Bögtåget. ? ????? ?Det är synd att de sagt upp sina abonnemang i vredesmod, så de inte får höra sitt fina libretto… ?

Posted by Rickard Söderberg on Monday, May 14, 2018

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