PRESS RELEASE 25.11.2010
2011 Savonlinna Opera Festival presents over 300 international artists
More than 300 artists from 12 countries will be appearing during the 2011 season of the Savonlinna Opera Festival. About a quarter of the soloists are Finnish, including Jaakko Ryhänen and the Festival’s Artist of the Year Juha Uusitalo. Heading the band of soloists from abroad will, among others, be stars of the New York Metropolitan José Cura and Carlo Colombara.
The Festival will be staging two new productions of its own in Olavinlinna Castle: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin.
Don Giovanni – powerful drama and genial comedy
Singing the title role in Don Giovanni will be Italian Carlo Colombara, one of the greatest basses of the past few decades, who made his Savonlinna debut as Mefistofele in 2009. To partner him as Leporello the Festival’s Artistic Director Jari Hämäläinen has engaged another Italian bass, Carlo Lepore. With Jaakko Ryhänen as the Commendatore as well, audiences at Savonlinna’s Don Giovanni can look forward to a real feast of deep-voiced singing. Cast as Don Ottavio is Michele Angelini, and as Zerlina Marjukka Tepponen. Michele Angelini shared the first prize in the Savonlinna Opera Festival’s International Singing Competition in 2010. The musical director is Will Humburg, who has conducted at such illustrious venues as La Scala, Milan and the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and the stage director is Paul-Emile Fourny.
Long-awaited Lohengrin, strong emotions and mighty choral scenes
Conducting Lohengrin will be Philippe Auguin, familiar to audiences from the past two Festival seasons and a great favourite with the orchestra. Philippe Auguin has just been installed as Music Director of Washington Opera, working alongside Placido Domingo. The stage director is Roman Hovenbitzer, known for his updates of the classics but with respect for tradition. The two leading roles have been assigned to American voices: Richard Crawley in the title role and Amber Wagner alternating with Erika Wueschner as Elsa. Jaakko Ryhänen has been cast as King Heinrich and Gabriel Suovanen as his Herald.
Tosca, the Hungarian State Opera and superb concerts
The Festival’s production of Tosca premiered last season is back on the programme for 2011. Alternating in the title role will be Uruguayan María José Siri, who last year gave a brilliant performance in the title role of Aida at La Scala, and the young American Tiffany Abban. Mexican tenor Diego Torre, whom audiences will remember from his impressive performance as Edgardo in Savonlinna’s Lucia di Lammermoor last season, will be singing Cavaradossi, while Claudio Sgura and Juha Uusitalo will alternate as Scarpia. Srboljub Dinic will conduct and Keith Warner will stage direct.
The visiting opera house for the 2011 season is the Hungarian State Opera, bringing along Giuseppe Verdi’s Don Carlo and a double billing of the Psalmus Hungaricus and Duke Bluebeard's Castle.
Once again there will also be some superb concerts. Marjukka Tepponen, winner of the 2008 Timo Mustakallio Competition, and Juha Uusitalo, the Festival’s 2011 Artist of the Year, will be giving a joint concert in the Castle, as will world-famous Argentinean tenor José Cura. Also appearing in the concert will be Tarja Turunen, who achieved world fame as the vocalist in Nightwish and who now lives in Argentina. Giving a recital at the Savonlinna Hall will be Carlo Colombara, bass. The Timo Mustakallio Competition will add a further note of excitement to the season.
For details of all the Savonlinna Opera Festival artists in the 2011 season see http://www.operafestival.fi/Suomeksi/Etusivu/mainmenu/Ohjelmisto_2011/Ensemble_2011.iw3
The 2011 Savonlinna Opera Festival will run from July 1 to July 27.
Savonlinna Opera Festival
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The Savonlinna Opera Festival in brief
The Savonlinna Opera Festival is the Finnish cultural event best known internationally and a leading Finnish tourist attraction. It records an annual total audience of around 60,000, a good 10 per cent from abroad. The Savonlinna Opera Festival is a modern pioneer in the world of opera, presenting not only the classics but also new and innovative productions. A visit to the Savonlinna Opera Festival is an all-round experience made up of first-class opera performances and concerts, the unique atmosphere of a medieval castle and the beautiful town of Savonlinna in summer, set amid lakes and forests. The Festival gets about 70% of its funding from ticket revenue, the rest in the form of grants from the Ministry of Education and the town of Savonlinna, and partnership agreements.