Henrik Ibsen: A BBC Radio Drama Collection

Nine of the Norwegian playwright's most popular works
from archive.org

Henrik Johan Ibsen was a Norwegian playwright and theatre director. As one of the founders of modernism in theatre, Ibsen is often referred to as "the father of realism" and regarded as one of the most significant writers of his time. He has influenced playwrights as diverse as George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde, and is the most frequently performed dramatist in the world after William Shakespeare.

Included in this collection are BBC Radio dramatisations of nine of his most popular works.

The Wild Duck
David Threlfall, Samuel West and James Fox star in Henrik Ibsen's masterpiece - as strong on comedy as profound, tragic drama. A family creates an imaginary forest in their loft room for a wounded wild duck. But will someone come to shatter their dreams?
Hjalmar ..... David Threlfall
Gregers ..... Samuel West
Werle ..... James Fox
Gina ..... Lise-Ann McLaughlin
Hedvig ..... Lauren Cornelius
Ekdal ..... Clive Hayward
Relling ..... Michael Bertenshaw
Mrs S?rby ..... Georgie Glen
Solo flute played by Martin Feinstein
Translated and adapted by Christopher Hampton
Director: Peter Kavanagh.
First broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in April 2018.

Ibsen's most complex play sees a society in turmoil through the lens of pastor John Rosmer and Rebekka, his social-revolutionary companion. Rosmer is recovering from the suicide of his unstable wife, Beata. Now Rebekka, replacing her in his affections, urges him to surrender his privileged place in conservative Norwegian society. A local elite plot to make him hold to the status quo. Can Rebekka prevail?
John Rosmer .... Nicholas Farrell
Rebekka West .... Helen Baxendale
Professor Kroll .... Ronald Pickup
Ulrik Brendel .... Karl Johnson
Peder Mortensgaard .... Philip Jackson
Mrs Helseth .... Christine Absolom
Dramatised by Peter Kavanagh
Directed by Peter Kavanagh
First broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in January 2017.

Brand is a religious zealot who refuses all compromise. But faced with the possible loss of his loved ones, can he persist in his absolutism?
Brand .... Gerard Murphy
Agnes .... Morven Christie
Mayor .... Jeremy Swift
Mother .... Ann Mitchell
Ejnar .... Carl Prekopp
Gerd .... Alex Tregear
Doctor .... Alan Cox
Provost .... Mark Tandy
Guide .... James Lailey
Crazed Woman .... Susie Riddell
Gipsy .... Elaine Claxton
Sexton .... Reg Stewart
Schoolmaster .... Gerard McDermott
Directed by Peter Kavanagh.
First broadcast in March 2015 on BBC Radio 4.

John Gabriel Borkman
Borkman is a disgraced banker, now destitute after a fraud scandal and imprisonment. Whilst trapped in his own home like a wolf in a cage, the living ghosts of his past wrestle to determine his future. Now reunited with his first love, will John Gabriel Borkman be able to find real happiness? Or will the continued pursuit of his ambitions lead to his final destruction?
John Gabriel Borkman ..... David Threlfall
Miss Ella Rentheim ..... Susannah Harker
Mrs Gunhild Borkman ..... Gillian Bevan
Vilhelm Foldal ..... Philip Jackson
Erhart Borkman ..... Luke Newberry
Mrs Fanny Wilton ..... Jenny Rainsford
Malene ..... Claire Cage
Dramatised by David Eldridge
Directed by Helen Perry
First broadcast in October 2015 on BBC Radio 4.

A Doll's House
The play tells the story of Nora, a submissive wife who lives to please her husband, until one day she starts to suffer blackmail and is forced to confront everything she believes in. The message of this play - that marriage is not sacrosanct, that a man's authority in his home should not go unchallenged and that the prime duty of anyone is to find out who he or she really is and to become that person - is as explosive today as it was over 100 years ago.
Torvald Helmer .... Ian McKellen
Nora, his wife .... Susan Fleetwood
Mrs Linde .... .Sheila Reid
Nils Krogstad .... David Buck
Dr Rank .... Michael Gough
Anne-Marie, the nanny .... Joan Matheson
Helen, a maid .... Josie Kidd
Dramatised by Michael Meyer
Directed by John Tydeman
First broadcast in December 1979 on BBC Radio 3

Helene Alving, a widow, is delighted that her son has returned home to Norway from his artist's life in Paris. The orphanage founded in her husband's name is about to open with the blessing of the local pastor, but there are family secrets and ghosts of the past beneath the surface of her ordered life which are about to come out to devastating effect.
Helene .... Lesley Manville
Pastor Manders .... Will Keen
Oswald .... Jack Lowden
Regina .... Charlene McKenna
Jacob Engstrand .... Brian McCardie
Dramatised by Richard Eyre
Directed by Richard Eyre
First broadcast in December 2013 on BBC Radio 3

Hedda Gabler
An unhappily married woman is unable to break free from the conventional life she has created for herself, with tragic results for the entire family.
Hedda Gabler .... Hannah Gordon
Jorgen Tesman .... Bill Paterson
Miss Juliane Tesman .... Gudrun Ure
Mrs. Thea Elvsted .... Sandra Clark
Judge Brack .... Bill Simpson
Ejlert Loevborg .... Peter Kelly
Berte .... Molly Weir
Dramatised by Michael Meyer
Directed by John Tydeman
First broadcast in March 1981 on BBC Radio 4

The Lady From The Sea
Needing financial security, Ellida Wangel has settled for a life as second wife to a dull, provincial doctor and is stepmother to his two resentful daughters. However, she is still spiritually possessed by the mysterious Stranger, a former sailor-lover, and she is left with a desperate yearning for the sea; the promise and ecstasy of the unknown. When this figure, a blatant representation of unrepressed sexuality, returns to claim her, it forces a crisis in her sterile marriage. This startling arrival stirs her desires and lures her back to the water's edge where she must confront both the past and a desire for the freedom that could destroy her.
Ellida Wangel ... Lia Williams
Stranger ... Hugh Bonneville
Adapted by Frank McGuinness
Directed by Hannah Eidinow
First broadcast in November 2009 on BBC Radio 4

An Enemy of the People
Dr Stockmann has discovered the town's spa-baths are contaminated. How will this affect local business interests? Will Stockmann be publicly vilified? Will campaigning courage turn into self-righteous fanaticism? Vested interest lives on and this timeless 1882 drama is as up to date now as when it was first performed.
Dr Thomas Stockmann ...... Alfred Molina
Peter Stockman ...... Adam Godley
Catherine ...... Rosalind Ayres
Petra ...... Susannah Fielding
Hovstad ...... James Callis
Aslaksen ...... Matthew Wolf
Billing ...... Darren Richardson
Horster ...... Simon Templeman
Morten Kiil ...... Ian Ogilvy
Edvard Vik ...... Martin Jarvis
The Drunk ...... Julian Holloway
Dramatised by Rebecca Lenkiewicz.
Director: Martin Jarvis
First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in April 2018.

  1. The Wild Duck (103.8Mb)
  2. Rosmersholm (100Mb)
  3. Brand (102.5Mb)
  4. John Gabriel Borkman (102.8Mb)
  5. A Doll's House (126Mb)
  6. Ghosts (77.1Mb)
  7. Hedda Gabler (115.3Mb)
  8. The Lady from the Sea (98.9Mb)
  9. An Enemy of the People (103.8Mb)

MP3 files hosted by archive.org.