This Opera Festival is held annually at St. Olaf’s Castle in the city of Savonlinna, Finland. The Castle, built in 1475, has a spectacular setting with lakes and lush scenery.
The birth of this festival is intimately tied with the emergence of the Finnish identity and their struggle for independence at the start of the 20th Century. The idea to use the castle as a venue to host Opera festivals was that of Finnish sopran Aino Ackte. The first festival was hosted in 1912.
The Festival was not held for 50 years due to the World Wars. 1967 was a seminal year and is regarded as the starting point for this Festival – the performance to open the festival again was a performance of Fidelio, by Beethoven.
The Savonlinna Fest now has international recognition and every year over 60,000 people attend performances here. The organizers not only present leading works from Classical opera, but also their own productions.
One can expect an interesting mix of new and old, something Finnish and some international work too. Expect to see a world premiere of La Fenice by Kimmo Hakola and an opera which has its origins on the Internet – and created by an entire community online – Free Will.
The Grand Opening Gala will feature the entire history of the Opera. Also expect to see fantastic performances at the Festival’s second International Competition for Singing – which will bring together some of the world’s best talent.
Check out the official website for more information on all the performers, vignettes and biographies, ticket prices and also directions to the venue. All in all, this year promises to be a real treat for classical music afficionados.