SAVONLINNA, Finland -- Opera lovers attending the Savonlinna
festival this summer will be treated to a few debuts.
Three operas were commissioned in honor of the new millennium,
and they will premier in the newly refurbished main venue, the 15th
century Olav-inlinna Castle.
is in its 33rd year, and will run July 1 to 30.
The new operatic trilogy can be performed separately or together
and carries the name "The Age of Dreams," based on a libretto by
The Finnish composers Kalevi Aho, Olli Kortekangas and Herman
Rechberger developed the work on the theme of the intellectual and
moral progress of the past 2,000 years. The operas will premier in
one performance July 15, conducted by Osmo Vanska.
Another highlight of the season will be the final week's
performances by the visiting New Israeli Opera from Tel Aviv,
Israel. It will stage Gaetano Donizetti's "L'Elisir d'Amore" and
Richard Strauss' "Elektra."
Filling out the festival program will be performances of Charles
Gounod's "Faust," Giuseppe Verdi's "Forza del Destino" and Wolfgang
Mozart's "The Magic Flute."
Concerts and competitions also will be held during the festival
at venues such as the Retretti underground concert hall and the
19th century Kerimaki Church. The main venue, Olavinlinna Castle,
is a highlight of the 2000 season in its newly renovated state.
Since the 1973 opera season, the castle's courtyard has been
transformed annually into an enclosed auditorium by the
installation of seats and a large awning.
A contest was held in 1998 to design a better seating
arrangement, and a new configuration was completed late last year.
The new design includes features that will enhance the
performances, such as an acoustic-friendly awning and a
repositioning of the orchestra pit.
The seating capacity has grown by 30, to 2,260, including three
wheelchair positions, and the space between rows has been
The one catch to the new design is that the supertitles that
provide translations of the operas' librettos during performances
are not visible from all seats.
Prices for operatic performances range from $55 to $130. Ticket
prices for concerts range from $25 to $80.
The program for 2001 is scheduled to pay homage to Verdi by
featuring his compositions of "Aida," "Rigoletto" and
Savonlinna Opera Festival
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Phone: (212) 885-9700