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Successful 2018 season of the Savonlinna Opera Festival ended on Saturday. New Queen of Spades production attracted most interest

8/6/2018 12:00 PM

The various Savonlinna Opera Festival events recorded over 70,000 visits. Of the Festival’s own productions, the new Queen of Spades attracted most interest.

The 2018 season of the Savonlinna Opera Festival ended on Saturday August 4 with a performance of Tosca by the visiting Festival Puccini.

The new SOF production this summer, Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades stage-directed by Jere Erkkilä, was a great hit with audiences, transporting them to the St. Petersburg of the 1890s. “A lot of time and effort always goes into a new production, so it’s great if it attracts public interest,” says delighted Artistic Director Jorma Silvasti. “Charles Gounod’s Faust was back on the programme after an interval of 16 years. The repertoire for 2018 further included Giuseppe Verdi’s Otello, which will also be performed at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow on September 14 and 15. Singing the leads in Moscow will be Carl Tanner, Marina Costa-Jackson and Elia Fabbian, who also starred in Olavinlinna Castle.

Half the productions seen at the Opera Festival were composed by Giacomo Puccini; Madama Butterfly was an SOF production, while Festival Puccini from Torre del Lago in Italy brought its Turandot and Tosca to Olavinlinna.

Says General Director Jan Strandholm: “Judging from the audience feedback and general interest, this festival with a Puccini orientation seasoned with a new production of a Russian work and a French classic was extremely successful. Add to this our visit to the Bolshoi Theatre next month with our production of Otello, and I’m absolutely delighted and satisfied with this year’s festival as a whole. I would like to thank all the 1,300 or so fantastic people who contributed to this festival and made it possible.”

Two Opera Festival Rocks! concerts were also heard in Savonlinna, at performances by Apocalyptica, Children of Bodom and Lost Society in Olavinlinna Castle. At the Savonlinna Hall, soprano Tuuli Takala and pianist Tuuli Hällström held a concert on the release of their new disc Tuulia, and a recital was given by the winners of last year’s Timo Mustakallio Singing Competition, Aurora Marthens and Sanna Iljin.

“The summer has had an unusually rich offering. There have been performances on almost every day of the week,” reports Jorma Silvasti.

New production of The Barber of Seville and world-class visits next year

The new SOF production for summer 2019 will be Gioachino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville in a direction by Kari Heiskanen. The costumes will be by well-known fashion designer Teemu Muurimäki. The production will be unusual in that no Rossini opera has ever before been staged at the Savonlinna Opera Festival.

Back on the programme for next year are Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto and Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio, both premiered to critical acclaim in summer 2017.

Olavinlinna Castle will also be acting host to two first-class opera houses. One is the Volksoper Wien, which is bringing along its evergreen favourite: Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus – one of the world’s most popular operettas.

The other visitor is the world’s best-known opera house, the Teatro alla Scala from Milan. This will be La Scala’s first visit to Finland and the Savonlinna Opera Festival. For the occasion it has chosen to perform Giuseppe Verdi’s I masnadieri (The Bandits), in a production to premiere in Milan in June 2019. Savonlinna will thus be featuring two productions by top stage director David McVicar, for like I masnadieri, Rigoletto is his. In addition to opera, Festival visitors will be treated to a gala La Scala concert. The performances by La Scala are, at the time of writing, all sold out.

Tickets are already on sale for the 2019 Savonlinna Opera Festival. The advance booking discount is valid until September 30.

The Savonlinna Opera Festival, July 4–August 8, 2019

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