Adriana Mater

Kaija Saariaho – Amin Maalouf

War, rape – a child. Kaija Saariaho’s acclaimed opera Adriana Mater is a depiction of war from a woman’s perspective. What do you have to deal with when you have a child growing inside you, a child born of brutal violence?

Reality is not black and white, director Dan Turdén reminds us. Alongside the harrowing subject matter is a theme that goes beyond all injustice: Adriana Mater is first and foremost an opera about love and hope. Despite the great masses of sound and pounding rhythms that depict war, the music beats with a heart motif that runs through the entire work. It is a life-affirming reminder of how two hearts beat simultaneously in the body of an expectant mother.

‘At the heart of Norrlandsoperan’s production is the great love that will hopefully show the way to greater hope for us all.’

Ville Matvejeff, artistic director of the Opera Festival, conducted the successful premiere of Norrlandsoperan’s production in Umeå in 2023 and now brings it to Olavinlinna. The Swedish press praised Adriana Mater as a musical triumph.

‘I have long dreamed of performing Kaija’s opera at the Opera Festival its thematic material and amazingly rich sound world suit the setting of Olavinlinna perfectly. We mourn Kaijas passing deeply, but that makes it even more special to make these performances a tribute to her lifes work. Despite the dark subject matter, Adriana Maters music radiates a bright light, just like Kaijas personality’, says Ville Matvejeff.

The performance is a visit by Norrlandsoperan.

How does the plot of Adriana Mater unfold? Read the synopsis here.


  • Conductor

    Ville Matvejeff

  • Director

    Dan Turdén

  • Set and costume designer

    Kari Gravklev

  • Lightning designer

    William Wenner

  • Chorus master

    Jan Schweiger

  • Savonlinna Opera Festival Choir

  • Norrlandsoperan Symphony Orchestra and quest musicians

  • Language


  • Surtitles

    Finnish and English

  • Duration

    app. 2 h 30 min, one interval


Emma Sventelius
Hege Gustava Tjønn
Joshua Owen Mills
Jonah Spungin
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