Anne Sofie Von Otter, Esa-Pekka Salonen Among Major Stars of Finnish National Opera’s 2019-20 Season

By Sebastien Turgeon

The Finnish National Opera has announced a new season that includes the first two installments of a new Ring, a major co-production of “Ariadne auf Naxos” and a revival of a new Swedish opera. The company also continues to offer free live streams on its website.

To open the season, Esa-Pekka Salonen will conduct the new production of “Das Rheingold” by Anna Kelo. Salonen will return later in the season for “Die Walküre.”

The cast of Rheingold will include Tommi Hakala as Wotan, Lilli Paasikivi, Tuomas Katajala, Reetta Haavisto, Tuomas Pursio, Markus Nykänen, Jukka Rasilainen, Dan Karlström, Jyrki Korhonen and Koit Soasepp.

“Das Rheingold” will be streamed live on the company’s website on Saturday September 7 at 19.00 local time.

Performance Dates: August 30 – September 18, 2019

Bizet’s “Carmen” will be presented in a production by Arnaud Bernard, under the baton of Principal Guest Conductor Patrick Fournillier. A pair of Canadians are cast in the main roles: Measha Brueggergosman as Carmen and Luc Robert as Don José, with Liine Carlsson as Micaëla and Franco Pomponi as Escamillo.

Performance Date: September 6 – October 3, 2019

Danish stage director Kasper Holten will direct a production of Korngold’s “Die Tote Stadt” with Mika Pohjonen, Elisabeth Strid, Michael Kraus, Ivonne Fuchs, Anne-Mari Alaspää, Antti Nieminen and Markus Nykänen. Jukka-Pekka Saraste will conduct the performances.

Performance Date: October 5 – October 18, 2019

Stravinsky’s “Oedipus Rex” gets a concert performance, with German tenor Thomas Mohr as Oedipus, Michael Kraus as Créon/Messenger, Finnish Opera Artistic Director Lilli Paasikivi as Jocaste, Jussi Myllys as Le Berger, Jyrki Korhonen as Tiresias and Timo Torikka as the Narrator.

Norwegian conductor Eivind Gullberg Jensen will be at the podium.

Performance Date: October 23, 2019

Höstsonaten” (Autumn Sonata), new opera in Swedish by Sebastian Fagerlund, gets a revival with Kurt Kopecky in the pit. The cast includes Anne Sofie von Otter, Ingela Brimberg, Tommi Hakala, Helena Juntunen and Nicholas Söderlund. “Höstsonaten” was nominated for the World Premiere of the Year by the International Opera Awards in 2018.

Performance Dates: November 15 – December 12, 2019

Katariina Lahti’s production of “La Bohème” gets a revival with Canadian soprano Marianne Fiset as Mimi, Markus Nykänen as Rodolfo, Cristiana Oliveira as Musetta and Josef Wagner as Marcello. La Boheme will be streamed live from the company’s website on Friday December 20 at 18.40 local time.

Performance Dates: December 11, 2019 – January 11, 2020.

Richard Strauss’ “Ariadne auf Naxos” will be presented with Miina-Liisa Värelä as Ariadne, Mika Pohjonen as Bacchus and Olga Pudova as Zerbinetta under the baton of Hannu Lintu.

The production is by Katie Mitchell and co-produced with the Festival D’Aix-en-Provence, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg, Royal Danish Opera, and Gran Teatre del Liceu.

Performance Dates: January 24 – February 15, 2020.

Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” gets a new production directed by Jussi Nikkilä and will be conducted by Patrick Fournillier. The cast includes Tuomas Pusio, Liine Carlsson,Tamuna Gochashvili, Koit Soasepp, Tuomas Katajala, Markus Suihkonen and Henri Uusitalo.

Performance Dates: March 6 – April 2, 2020.

Russian baritone Boris Pinkhasovich will star in the title role of Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin,” along with Olesya Golovneva as Tatyana. The cast also includes Jussi Myllys, Elli Vallinoja and Jyrki Korhonen.

The production is by Marco Arturo Marelli and the performances will be conducted by Alan Buribayev.

Performance Dates: March 18 – April 24, 2020.

Die Walküre” will close the season. The second installment of Wagner’s new Ring by Anna Kelo will be conducted by Esa Pekka-Salonen. Tommi Hakala returns as Wotan, along with Johanna Rusanen as Brünnhilde, Joachim Bäckström as Sigmund, Minna-Liisa Värelä as Sieglinde, Jyrki Korhonen as Hunding and Lilli Paasikivi as Fricka.

Performance Dates: May 15 – June 3, 2020.