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A world premiere to honour Finland’s centenary

Olavinlinna Castle was built in the Middle Ages to safeguard the strategically important region of Savo. In the course of its history it has witnessed numerous changes of regime, clashing swords and thundering cannons. The Castle in the Water, a new opera commissioned by the Savonlinna Opera Festival, pictures stages in the Castle’s and region’s colourful past, and takes a brief look into the future.

Aulis Sallinen describes his composition as: “A chronicle for speaker, four singers, orchestra and Olavinlinna”. The work is based on the collection of poetry “The Castle in the Water” by Lassi Nummi, from which Sallinen has chosen two texts as mottos for the whole work.

“A few thousand steeds and men is never a bad idea,
a couple of sturdy fortresses and a good stock of powder and cannons,
they somehow sharpen the mind in parleys,
put commas and full stops in the right places.”

“Today the castle is an old man seated on a rock
around which time has come to a halt.
Like a king who’s relinquished his power,
once ferocious, grim and stern.
And what if the old man should suddenly raise his head,
screw up his eyes and ask:
Who are you?
Where will I, where will you find the answer, Finn?”



8.7. at 14 world premiere, 9.7. at 14

Sung in Finnish.
English surtitles.
Duration approximately 1 hour 15 minutes. No interval


Ville Matvejeff, conductor
Kari Heiskanen, speaker
Tiina-Maija Koskela, soprano
Tuija Knihtilä, mezzo-soprano
Jussi Myllys, tenor
Tommi Hakala, baritone
Savonlinna Opera Festival Orchestra

Read the article by Matthew Rye "The Castle in the Water: a new work for Savonlinna".