Thanks to a recent revamp, Olavinlinna’s auditorium is now better than ever. The chairs are new, visibility to the stage has been improved, and a new cover protects the audience from surprise summer showers. What matters most is still the same, however: the unique atmosphere and the amazing acoustics within the castle’s brick walls. Read more and see what our Head of Productions Jukka Pohjolainen has to say about the refurbishment via the video linked below.
Following a major refurbishment of our auditorium, we can confidently claim that watching opera at Olavinlinna is now extraordinarily enjoyable. The new, softer chairs make your evening even more comfortable. What’s more, visibility has been improved by shifting alternate rows to the side, which provides better sight lines to the stage.
Another visibility-enhancing feature is the seat alignment in certain sections of the auditorium. The seats to the right of the stalls have been angled towards the centre of the stage, where most of the action takes place.
Olavinlinna is surrounded by water. The sounds of nature and steamboats add to the music, and at times thunder rumbles in the July evening. The new cover offers added protection from both rain and cold, as well as helping keep out the heat of sizzling summer days.
Alluring live performances
Besides improving views and comfort, the refurbishment has also set the stage for ever more impressive live performances. The auditorium can be darkened more effectively, opening up opportunities for more ambitious lighting design. After the refurbishment, Olavinlinna is even better equipped to showcase world-class international opera.
While watching opera at the revamped auditorium, you could almost forget that you’re sitting in the courtyard of a medieval castle. Well, not quite – our visitors have repeatedly described the atmosphere at Olavinlinna as not only unique but also absolutely unforgettable.
The building work for Olavinlinna started in 1475. Though 15th century castles were clearly built with defence in mind rather than theatre technology, opera still sounds incredible at Olavinlinna. Incidentally, its acoustics are uniquely suited to the genre.
Olavinlinna has invested heavily in creating an opera festival that is accessible to as many people as possible. Though we have made considerable advances, the medieval cobblestones and narrow passageways still stand in the way of complete accessibility.
Olavinlinna is a listed building, which means any accessibility solutions must respect its existing structures. Please always contact our customer service first regarding tickets for customers with restricted mobility.
“Watching opera here will be a real pleasure.”
An evening at the opera is much more than just the performance. Ordering refreshments in advance will ensure a more relaxing evening. You can also find the selection of Olavinlinna’s restaurants in their online store. Additionally, the refurbishment has brought improvements to our toilet facilities. Stairs from the bottom right corner of the stage (as viewed from the auditorium) will take you to Paksu Bastioni (Thick Tower), where new toilet facilities have been built. The toilet facilities at the back of the auditorium are the same as before.
The best seats
So, where can you find the very best seats at Olavinlinna? The revamp has improved visibility throughout the auditorium. The best seats are really a matter of personal preference. Seats higher up and at the back offer a fantastic view of the big picture and crowd scenes. Closer to the stage, on the other hand, you’ll see every expression clearly, allowing you to feel the emotions of the great love stories. We recommend you consult our customer service seating experts for guidance. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
The refurbishment of the auditorium at Olavinlinna was completed in collaboration with the Finnish National Museum and Senaatti Kiinteistöt (Senate Properties).
From open air opera to a state-of-the art auditorium
When the Savonlinna Opera Festival started in its current form in the 1960s, the castle could only be reached by rowing boat and performances took place in the open air. A cover was first built over the stage and then over the auditorium in 1973. That was a momentous event that many still remember.
Audience comfort was taken to the next level in 1979, thanks to new seats on which you could lean back. We owe this achievement to a certain tall minister, Eero Rantala. He found the backless seating so uncomfortable that he took charge of finding the funds to replace them – amounting to 550 000 Finnish marks (approximately 92 000 euro) at the time.
Prior to the newly completed refurbishment, the cover was last renewed in the year 2000. Even since then, many small improvements to enhance the Opera Festival experience have been made along the way.