He is a unique artist

Author: Eirik Sivertsen  Published14.05.2009  Source:  Translation by TessaLa. Revision by Anni Jowett.

Alexander Rybak sees actor Dennis Storhøi as his artistic mentor. Dennis on his side is unabashed in tribute of his young colleague.

Back then Alexander had recently become the winner of NRK’s Kjempesjansen and was asked by director Svein Sturla Hungnes about taking the role as the Fiddler in the world-famous musical.


Without experience

Dennis Storhøi as Tevye in Oslo Nyes ‘Fiddler on The Roof’ Photo: L-P LORENTZEN WWW.LORENTZ.NO

Despite that Alexander had no previous acting experience, he accepted, a decision that Dennis Storhøi believes is characteristic:

– Alexander dares to seek new challenges because he knows that he has plenty to learn. On the first rehearsals he had eyes like marbles, but as soon as he understood the code he learned incredibly quickly, elaborates Dennis.

A close relationship grew rapidly between the theatre veteran and the young artist, not least via Alexander’s role as the play’s Fiddler:
– The Fiddler was an integral part of Tevye [Dennis’ character] character and mentality, and commented through his fiddling his changing feelings. In this way the entire rehearsal process became a close experience for both of us, especially because Alexander was so incredibly present with an energetic musicality and a focused presence, recalls Dennis.

The effort was honoured with theatre Norway’s highest distinction, namely the Hedda Award for Best Newcomer, which Dennis believes is an eloquent expression of how thoroughly Alexander meets new challenges.

Alexander The Fiddler among Tevye’s family. Photo: L-P LORENTZEN WWW.LORENTZ.NO

Will go far

Already when they worked together on “Fiddler on the Roof”, Dennis foresaw that Alexander would make an international furore within two years:

– It is not difficult to see that he has something special. Every audience has its own energy, and real artists like Alexander redeem that energy. That is what makes him so incredibly powerful on stage. When he also makes his own music and performs it so pure of heart, you don’t need a special clairvoyance to see that he will go far!

Dennis and Dineo. Photo: Eirik Sivertsen /NRK

Humble mentor

A lot has happened in Alexander’s career over the past half-year, and Dennis has followed the young boy’s on-going development .

– Yes, we have regular contact, and he frequently calls for both practical advice and more general considerations. I think I was one of the first who heard the Fairytale-demo, and when he told me that he would participate in the Grand Prix with the song, I realised immediately that he was going to win the whole thing.

Although he is humble to be designated as a mentor for Alexander, Dennis hopes he can bring something valuable to Alexander in his career right now:

– Of course it’s a huge compliment to be called a mentor for such a talented artist. I think I can help by pointing out what could go wrong, and I think that is valuable to him. Trust is important, Dennis points out.

Diverse career

Dennis Storhøi has had a long and diverse career to look back on, and there was much fuss around the time of the recording and release of the Hollywood production “The 13th Warrior” in which he played against superstar Antonio Banderas.

Artist in the wind Photo: EIRIK SIVERTSEN / NRK

– I have made my experiences in life, but thankfully have never been exposed to the throttle in any way that Alexander is experiencing right now. That said, I have no doubt that he will handle this phenomenally. He has focused on the target for so long that when everything now is underway I feel confident that he can handle the circus in the right way, namely his own.

Currently Dennis is working as diversely as he usually does: he sings in Les Miserables at Oslo Nye (a theatre), he delivers comedy performances to NRK P1(radio), he leads the May 17th celebration programme on TV2  – and he is preparing his second summer as Per in the play “Per Gynt” on Gålåvatnet :

– Per has become an annual event where we live and work in the finest scenery for three weeks in midsummer. We play no matter the weather, and it does something with the experience for both the actors and the public. This I look forward to, and this year I have worked even more to manage the Døla dialect, says Dennis enthusiastically.

Dennis and Kari Simonsen in “Per Gynt” at Gålå. PHOTO: RAINER PRANG / NRK

Nervous before the final

Now in the run up towards the ESC finals Dennis puts in so much time and he manages to follow the broadcasts from Moscow, and he admits that he is very excited before the finale:

– There is no one going to be more nervous than me, he says earnestly before he concludes:

– I think Norway has never seen before an artist like Alexander, people like him just HAVE to be noticed!


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