Kulturkompasset | critics of culture events

Year of grand narratives at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet 2016–2017


Year of grand narratives at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet 2016–2017 

HELSINKI/FINNLAND: Two art forms meet and merge as the Opera House in Helsinki is converted into a circus on 16 September, 2016CircOpera is a completely new kind of production, combining circus acts with live opera music. Dancers of the FNB join acrobats and opera singers on stage for this extravaganza.

The autumn’s first new opera is Elektra by Richard Strauss, to be premiered on 2 September. This celebrated production directed by the late Patrice Chéreau was most recently staged at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The performances will be conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, and the cast includes stars such as Evelyn Herlitzius and Waltraud Meier, who were coached by Chéreau himself for the premiere of the production at the Aix-en-Provence festival in 2013. Two days after the premiere in Helsinki, the FNO will perform Elektra in concert at the Baltic Sea Festival in Stockholm. Nina Stemme replaces Herlitzius in the title role in this performance.

A new production of The Flying Dutchman by Richard Wagner to be premiered on 18 November sets the action in the international art trade. The production is directed by Kasper Holten, Director of the Royal Opera House in London, who previously directed the acclaimed production of Die tote Stadt at the FNO in 2010. The cast of Der fliegende Holländer will include guest soloists Camilla Nylund, Johan Reuter and Olafur Sigurdarson.

The first spring opera premiere, on 27 January, will be Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk by Dmitry Shostakovich. In the gripping production directed by Ole Anders Tandberg, the action is set in a remote fishing village. An elegant and wistful new production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin directed by Marco Arturo Marelli will be premiered on 17 March.

The FNOB’s celebration of the centenary of Finland’s independence in 2017 will include the Finnish premiere of the most recent operatic work of Kaija SaariahoOnly the Sound Remains, a pair of mini-operas based on austere Japanese Nō plays. The world premiere was given by the Dutch National Opera in mid-March this year. The production was directed by Saariaho’s trusted collaborator Peter Sellars, and the performances will be conducted by André de Ridder as in Amsterdam.

In addition to these premieres, there are four productions returning to the repertoire, all of them classics: Le nozze di FigaroCarmenIl barbiere di Siviglia and the operetta Die Fledermaus.

 

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