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Savonlinna’s super summer of Czech culture offers opera, photographic art and beer

This summer, Savonlinna will introduce Czech culture on a broad front. The prestigious Prague National Theatre will bring a guest performance of one of the most important Czech operas to Olavinlinna, in addition to performing with stars such as the Finnish soprano Karita Mattila. Visitors can round off their day of Czech culture at a Czech beer house, hosted by the Suur-Savo Cooperative Society at Olavinlinna during the last week of Savonlinna Opera Festival between 29 July and 4 August. Riihisaari – Savonlinna Museum, which was named Museum of the Year in 2023, will hold an extensive exhibition of Czech photographic art.  

The prestigious Prague National Theatre, Národní divadlo, which will perform at Savonlinna Opera Festival next summer, is one of Europe’s great opera houses. This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Bedřich Smetana, the ”father of Czech classical music”. One of his most famous works, The Bartered Bride, will be performed by the Prague National Theatre at Olavinlinna on 27 July, 30 July and 1 August.  

On 31 July, the festival week will culminate in a grand opera concert with a unique programme of Czech opera music. The ensemble of soloists from Prague will be complemented on stage by Karita Mattila, one of the most important Janáček sopranos of her generation, singing the dramatic role of Kostelnička Buryjovka in Jenůfa for the first time in Finland.    

“One of the most important Czech operas, The Bartered Bride is part of the Czech DNA. Film and theatre director Alice Nellis introduces an interesting extra dimension to the performance in Savonlinna: the production also takes a humorous look at how this national musical treasure has been adapted for the stage over almost 160 years. The grand opera concert will present music by the best-known Czech composers. The last week of the opera festival will be a real feast of Czech music,” explains Artistic Director Ville Matvejeff. 

The grand opera concert will be conducted by Robert Jindra, music director of the Prague National Theatre. The concert will feature artists such as soprano Alžběta Poláčková in the title role of Jenůfa and tenors Pavel Černoch and Aleš Briscein.   

Visitors can round off the evening at the opera with Czech beers. During the last week of the opera festival, the Suur-Savo Cooperative Society will host a beer house in Olavinlinna, serving Czech beers, often regarded as the best in the world. 


Savonlinna Museum’s Riihisaari will host an extensive exhibition of Czech photographic art, (epä)tavallinen elämä – (ne)obvyklý život – (un)ordinary life, which will present about 150 works from almost 20 well-known Czech photographers. The exhibition will be open between 26 April and 15 September 2024. 

“As far as we know, this will be the most extensive exhibition of Czech photographic art arranged in Finland to date. It will introduce numerous big names of Czech photography from old masters to next-generation artists. The pictures featured in the exhibition cover a 50-year period from the era of communism to the present day. The established artists seen at the exhibition include Jan Saudek, Václav Jirásek, Dita Pepe, Jindřich Štreit, Libuše Jarcovjáková and Dana Kyndrová. The younger generations are represented by Bára Prášilová and Kateřina Sýsová, for example. We are honoured to be complementing Savonlinna’s summer of Czech culture with this great collection of works,” says Nikke Kaartinen, the director of Savonlinna Museum. 

The exhibition is produced by Riihisaari – Savonlinna Museum and curated by Jan Pohribný, an award-winning photographer and the president of the Professional Photographers Association of the Czech Republic. 

As a partner of Savonlinna Opera Festival and Savonlinna Museum, the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Finland is involved in the arrangements for the photographic exhibition and the visit by the Prague National Theatre. 

“Next summer, Savonlinna will offer a unique opportunity to enjoy Czech culture on a broad front! Visitors can start off by exploring photographic art in Riihisaari before enjoying world-class opera and the world’s best beers in Olavinlinna. As promoting Czech culture is one of our embassy’s tasks, participating in Savonlinna’s super summer of Czech culture is very important to us,” explains Adam Vojtěch, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic in Finland.