The Mississippi Rag polled Ophelia "World's Best Ragtime Orchestra".
The orchestra was formed by Morten Gunnar Larsen, with the intention of
playing orchestrated arrangements of classic ragtime pieces, after he
had heard The New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra whilst studying in New Orleans
in the early seventies.
Never a man to hurry his projects, Morten managed
to get the band playing concerts by 1977 - and not long afterwards Ophelia
had the pleasure of accompanying the then 94 year old Eubie Blake on a
concert in Oslo (unfortunately not recorded).
Gradually the bandís repertoire expanded to include other popular
music from the beginning of the last century and now includes 1920ís
hot music, songs from early stage musicals, vaudeville melodies, and waltz,
tango, and novelty tunes.
The most recent developments have been the inclusion of music
from Brazil, the Caribbean, and the famous (and notorious) cabarets of Weimar Republic Berlin (1918 - 1933).
In forming Ophelia, Morten has chosen professionals from a widely differing
variety of backgrounds- jazz, theatre, opera, and philharmonic orchestra.
What they have in common is their skill, flair, humour, and love of the
music they play together.
The orchestra has played at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival and toured extensively
in the USA in 1995, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2010 playing concerts in New York, Seattle,
New Orleans, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Tulsa, Chicago, Nevada City,
Columbia Mo, Boulder Co, Woodland Ca, Belmont Ca, Sacramento, San Francisco, and the annual Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in
Within the last few years the orchestra has worked on a series of Ďthemeí
concerts, highlighting various composers, or works, including: Eubie Blake
(Memories of Eubie)
Kurt Weill (Berlin to Broadway) and of course, Joplinís Treemonisha.
Most recently the orchestra has produced a stage show -
"Sound and Smoke" which is based on it's
last CD, featuring cabaret music from Berlin in the 1920's
- an exciting genre which alas came to an abrupt end in 1933.
A selection of the band's repertoire has also been arranged for Ophelia with
Philharmonic Orchestra, and this program has been performed with several orchestras
in Norway and Finland