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The 2017 Savonlinna Opera Festival is jumping the gun this season with an evening of improvisation on operatic themes given by Iiro Rantala on July 6. Jazz pianist and composer Iiro Rantala will be taking the stage for a session beginning at 18 at the Savonlinna Hall. Among the items chosen for improvisation will be Mascagni’s Intermezzo and excerpts from works – Kullervo and Rigoletto – in this summer’s Opera Festival repertoire.

Born in 1970, Iiro Rantala is one of the brightest stars on not only the Finnish but also the international jazz firmament. Over the years, he has played thousands of concerts in dozens of countries and in a variety of line-ups, the most famous of which is the Trio Töykeät formed in 1988. An artist at home in the borderland between genres, he is also familiar with the classics and can often be heard as the soloist with orchestras.