Volcano fallout hits Minnesota cultural events

Gunnar Sonsteby
Norwegian war-time resistance hero Gunnar Sonsteby was unable to leave the Twin Cities to return to Norway, so he will appear an extra time at the Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival
Image courtesy MSPIFF

Flight cancellations caused by the Icelandic volcano has led to the cancellation of one big Minnesota cultural event - and the addition of a few more.

The highest profile Minnesota event to fall victim to the flying restrictions from the ash cloud is the upcoming lecture by writer Alexander McCall Smith.

McCall Smith, author of the best-selling "Number One Ladies Detective Agency" books was scheduled to read at the State Theater on Monday April 26th. But he is unable to leave his home in Scotland because of the flight ban. Refunds are available at point of purchase.

The return of former Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Music Director Denis Russell Davis has also been postponed because he cannot leave Europe. Davis had been scheduled to lead two weeks of concerts at the SPCO, but is now unable to come for the first week. SPCO artistic partner Thomas Zehetmair will replace him.

The Minnesota Orchestra reports that Music Director Osmo Vanska made it out on the last flight from Paris before the flight ban hit, so he will be able to lead the Orchestra later this week.

Ukranian conductor Kirill Karabits. who led the Minnesota Orchestra last weekend, cannot return to Europe as planned. However he has signed up to conduct the Huston Symphony this coming Thursday, replacing a conductor who was stuck in Europe.

Another person stuck on this side of the Atlantic is former Norwegian resistance fighter Gunnar Sonsteby. He was the guest of honor on Thursday at two sold out screenings of "Max Manus" on the opening night at the Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival. It's the story of his group known as the Oslo Gang which fought against the German occupation in World War II.

As he is stuck in town, he has added an extra appearance tomorrow night at the film festival at 7 pm.

A check of other venues in the Twin Cities found few other problems. However if the disruptions continue into next week, promoters recommend checking to make sure shows with performers from Europe are going ahead.

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