Savonlinna Opera Festival Announces Departure of General Director Jan Strandholm

By David Salazar

The Savonlinna Opera Festival has announced that Artistic Director Ville Matvejeff will take over the company following the departure of Jan Strandholm, who has stepped down as General Director.

“It has been a great honor and joy to head the Savonlinna Opera Festival for the past ten years. I feel privileged to have worked with such a top team, which has made it possible to produce this festival. I never thought I would be in this position for this long but the people, the opera, Olavinlinna Castle and Savonlinna swept me away,” Strandholm said in an official press statement.

The announcement comes months after Matvejeff’s contract was extended through 2027. The company revealed that Matvejeff will also be given a Commercial Director to assist him with marketing, sales, and fundraising for the festival. The new Commercial Director will join a triumvirate that also includes Financial Director Tarja Halonen, who has been with the company for three decades.

“The Savonlinna Opera Festival is the most exciting opera event in northern Europe and one of the summer’s most important gatherings for the opera world. Our festival brings together new operas – from premieres to rarities – and traditional ones, as well as international superstars with Finnish talents, and Olavinlinna Castle offers a unique setting for opera fans, both Finnish and foreign, to immerse themselves in the world of the opera. We want the light of the opera that shines through the castle’s turret windows to carry far and wide,” Matvejeff added.

Strandholm was the company’s General Director for 10 years.

“It has been inspiring to work with Jan on this winding path towards my first opera summer in 2022. In the words of Wagner, opera is a total artwork, a Gesamtkunstwerk. I am feeling extremely excited and humbled to be trusted with the responsibility for leading the opera festival – a total work of art – in collaboration with this brilliant team,” Matvejeff added.