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The Savonlinna Opera Festival begins on 5 July. The rehearsal season opens in early June, when the performers and artists arrive at Savonlinna.

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An attack on a neighbouring nation and the loss of freedom are the themes of Giuseppe Verdi’s acclaimed opera Nabucco, which the award-winning Rodula Gaitanou will direct at the Savonlinna Opera Festival in the summer of 2024. Gaitanou is one of the most widely admired opera directors in the world today. She was shortlisted for Director of the Year 2019 by the International Opera Awards and received the Argo Award in 2022 from the President of Greece. The production deals with the greatest crisis of our time, which affects every living creature on earth, regardless of age, nationality or species. ‘Climate change is the most serious war of our time and it is being waged against nature’, says director Gaitanou. ‘Our version is an ecological manifesto.’

Among those singing the principal roles are Marigona Qerkezi, Gabriele Viviani, Oksana Dyka, Mika Kares and Antony Ciaramitaro – together with the great Opera Festival Choir, which is like a character in its own right in a work famed for its great choral scenes.


‘It’s never too late for a debut’, said Karita Mattila in an interview with The Guardianin 2014. In the article she said that she dreamed of playing the role of the witch Ortrud in Wagner’s Lohengrin. The dream later came true – in glorious fashion – at the Bavarian State Opera and will be do so again at Olavinlinna in the summer of 2024. Once again, Mattila will make a major debut: this will be her first operatic role in Savonlinna in her long career.

‘It is a great event that Karita Mattila, the most important Finnish opera singer of our time, will perform her first role at the Savonlinna Opera Festival’, says Ville Matvejeff, artistic director of the Festival.

Among the Opera Festival’s classic productions, Mozart’s Don Giovanni will be performed in the summer of 2024. The main role, the philanderer himself, will be sung by the Ukrainian-born Yuriu Yurchuk, and by Finnish Waltteri Torikka.


In the summer of 2024, two guest opera companies have been invited to Savonlinna to enhance the programme of the month-long festival. Kaija Saariaho’s Adriana Mater is the latest highly acclaimed production by Norrlandsoperan, and its premiere was conducted by Ville Matvejeff in Umeå in the spring of 2023. Kaija Saariaho passed away last year.

‘I have long dreamed of performing Kaija’s opera at the Opera Festival. We mourn Kaija’s passing deeply, but that makes it even more special to make these performances of Adriana Mater a tribute to her life’s work’, says Ville Matvejeff.

The Prague National Theatre, Národní divadlo, whose core repertoire naturally includes Czech operas, will bring famous landmark work to Olavinlinna. To mark the bicentenary of the composer’s birth, Bedřich Smetana’s The Bartered Bride is a comedy for the whole family, interpreted by the film director Alice Nellis. Národní divadlo’s visit will be celebrated also with Grand Opera Concert. The ensemble of the Prague National Theatre will be magnificently complemented 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.

The virtuoso Hungarian pianist Peter Bence will give a concert. He’s a pianistic wildcard whose international popularity skyrocketed when he happened to make videos of two arrangements of Michael Jackson songs and posted them on YouTube. Bence is a multi-talented musician who also composes. Although he is classically trained, Bence’s concerts feature arrangements – in the spirit of the 19th-century piano ‘rock star’ Franz Liszt – of modern-day hits ranging from Michael Jackson to Queen and Sia.

To see the entire repertoire and performance schedule, visit our website at operafestival.fi.

Images can be found here: https://savonlinnaoperafestival.kuvat.fi/kuvat/

For more information, please contact:
Sonja Eiramo, Head of Marketing Communications
sonja.eiramo@operafestival.fi, +358 (0)40 508 8828