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In summer 2020, the medieval castle of Olavinlinna on the shore of Lake Saimaa will again echo with a fascinating array of opera. This will include King Roger, which has seen a surge in popularity around the world, the festival’s first baroque opera by Handel, Karita Mattila’s gala concert, and beloved classics: Carmen, La traviata and The Barber of Seville. Visiting productions will be performed by Croatian National Theatre from Rijeka, the European Capital of Culture.


Artistic Director Ville Matvejeff:

”I’ve been asked about how I’m planning to revitalise the Opera Festival. I want to start with the opera itself. Interesting productions, captivating drama and ravishing music in the Lakeland summer night are what make us unique. They are the soul of the Opera Festival, which I want to nurture. I’ve also aimed to select singers, conductors and directors who I know will bring a breath of fresh air to the castle stage.

It will be magnificent to finally showcase in Finland the uniquely impressive King Roger, which has recently seen a renaissance at the world’s great opera houses from London to Boston and Stockholm. Because we all need our share of tingles, summer 2020 will also feature timeless classics. These will include the Opera Festival’s cherished version of Carmen set in 1930s Spain, a psychological interpretation of La traviata reimagined in a nightclub, and the exhilarating The Barber of Seville produced by a new team.

Our guest in 2020 comes from Rijeka, the European Capital of Culture. Croatian National Theatre will bring two important operas to the Opera Festival, which are both rare treats to the audience. Julius Caesar, the first opera by Handel in the history of the Opera Festival, is considered to be one of the master composer’s best works. Jules Massenet’s Werther will be directed by Fabrizio Melano, the leading influencer of American opera, and the performances will be conducted by the visionary Yordan Kamdzhalov.

One Finnish soprano will always be a cut above the rest. Karita Mattila’s international career will soon have lasted 40 years and continues as strong as ever. She is celebrating her 60th birthday at Olavinlinna together with conductor Hannu Lintu and Savonlinna Opera Festival Orchestra.
 
My warmest welcome to the festival!

Ville Matvejeff