The opening weekend of the Savonlinna Opera Festival is our tribute to the independent Republic of Finland celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2017. For on the programme are two works deeply rooted in the Finnish ethos: Aulis Sallinen’s The Castle in the Water, to receive its world premiere in Olavinlinna Castle, and his Kullervo, in its first performance of the season. Rounding off the weekend will be a concert in Kerimäki Church by the YL Male Voice Choir, our worldwide ambassador for Finnish male-voice singing, and the young singers of the Tapiola Choir.
Jumping the gun in the centenary festivities is the new production of Die Entführung aus dem Serail staged by a Finnish team. This fairytale-like opera, with which Mozart first made a name for himself, is suitable for young and old alike.
In honour of the jubilee year, we have invited two famous opera houses to join us. The Bolshoi Theatre from Moscow is bringing along two works by Pyotr Tchaikovsky: the opera Iolanta and a concertante version of Eugene Onegin. The Teatro Real Madrid is enriching the programme with Bellini’s I puritani and Sibelius’s Kullervo Symphony, the latter in collaboration with the Savonlinna Opera Festival Choir. For any bel canto fans who saw Norma in summer 2016, The Puritans will surely be an unforgettable experience.
One of the most interesting new productions in the jubilee season is Verdi’s Rigoletto, an all-time Festival favourite. The new version is based on the direction of Sir David McVicar for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
A new era dawned in 1967 for the Savonlinna Opera Festival first held over a 100 years ago. For the past half-century we have enjoyed an unbroken history of performing to the world’s best audience. To celebrate this landmark we have chosen Beethoven’s Missa solemnis.
Take a look at our programme and make a date with the only festival of its kind in the world.