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Ville Matvejeff to take overall responsibility for the Savonlinna Opera Festival

Jan Strandholm, who has acted as the festival’s General Director for ten years, is stepping down

Jan Strandholm, who has headed the Savonlinna Opera Festival since 2012, has decided to step down as the General Director. Conductor Ville Matvejeff (in the picture), the festival’s Artistic Director, will be taking overall responsibility for the festival.  

‘It has been a great honour and joy to head the Savonlinna Opera Festival for the past ten years. I feel privileged to have worked with such a top team, which has it made it possible to produce this festival. I never thought I would be in this position for this long but the people, the opera, Olavinlinna Castle and Savonlinna swept me away,’ says Jan Strandholm.  

‘Under Jan’s leadership, the festival has moved forwards steadily and successfully. Most recently, we navigated our way through the difficult pandemic. On behalf of the board, I would like to extend our warmest thanks to Jan for his outstanding work and wish him all the best for the future,’ says Johanna Lamminen, the Chairperson of the Board of the Savonlinna Opera Festival.  

‘It has been inspiring to work with Jan on this winding path towards my first opera summer in 2022. In the words of Wagner, opera is a total artwork, a Gesamtkunstwerk. I am feeling extremely excited and humble to be trusted with the responsibility for leading the opera festival – a total work of art – in collaboration with this brilliant team,’ explains Matvejeff. 

Earlier this year, the Savolinna Opera Festival extended Matvejeff’s contract to 2027. To assist him in his new position, Matvejeff will have a Commercial Director who will be responsible for sales, marketing and fundraising for the festival. Recruitment is still in progress. The trio of directors also includes the festival’s Financial Director Tarja Halonen, who not only has strong financial expertise but also three decades of experience of the Savonlinna Opera Festival.  

Northern Europe’s most exciting opera festival 

The Board of the Festival and its management team have created a new strategy for the Savonlinna Opera Festival. High-quality opera productions in a unique, historic castle amid Savonlinna’s summery nature lie at the heart of it.  

The goal is to increase the number of both Finnish and international visitors to the event. In addition, international collaboration with opera organisations will intensify. 

‘The Savonlinna Opera Festival is the most exciting opera event in northern Europe and one of the summer’s most important gatherings for the opera world. Our festival brings together new operas – from premieres to rarities – and traditional ones, as well as international superstars with Finnish talents, and Olavinlinna Castle offers a unique setting for opera fans, both Finnish and foreign, to immerse themselves in the world of the opera. We want the light of the opera that shines through the castle’s turret windows to carry far and wide,’ says Matvejeff. 

‘Ville’s plans for the near future, which are based on the principles of the new strategy, are extremely ambitious and interesting. I can’t wait for the summer!’ explains Lamminen. 

 

For further information, contact: 

Johanna Lamminen, Chairperson of the Board
+358 40 848 4448, johanna.lamminen@elisanet.fi

Ville Matvejeff, Artistic Director
+358 40 721 1894, ville.matvejeff@operafestival.fi

Sonja Eiramo, Head of Marketing Communications
+358 40 508 8828, sonja.eiramo@operafestival.fi