The FNO presents Shostakovich’s revolutionary opera The Nose and the new opera Indigo by members of the Apocalyptica heavy metal band
The Nose, a biting satire about human beings and society set as an opera by Dimitri Shostakovich, will be presented by the Finnish National Opera in a production directed by legendary director Peter Stein in November. The year 2016 will begin with Indigo, an opera written by Perttu Kivilaakso and Eicca Toppinen, better known as members of the heavy metal cello band Apocalyptica.
A disembodied nose wandering around St Petersburg and an ardent young genius composer: this combination produced an opera that remains one of the most extravagant and strangest musical theatre creations of the 20th century. Only 22 years old at the time, Dimitri Shostakovich poured all of his considerable musical skill into illustrating the delicious classic story by Nikolai Gogol. Shostakovich mixed and matched musical styles with abandon, creating an opera that closely reflects the experimental and liberal atmosphere that prevailed in the arts in Soviet Russia in the 1920s. A decade later, his radical style fell into disfavour, and The Nose remained unperformed for decades.
The Nose calls for dozens of soloists, vocal extremes and complicated crowd scenes. At the FNO, the work will be presented in a production originally created by Peter Stein for the Zurich Opera. Stein is one of the most distinguished directors in European theatre and a multiple award winner. His fame rests above all on his work as director of the Schaubühne Theatre in Berlin.
In addition to 32 Finnish singers, the cast of The Nose includes Russian guest performers: Vladimir Samsonov, Alexey Sulimov, Andrei Popov and Leonid Bomshteyn. The performances will be conducted by Michael Güttler, Chief Conductor of the FNO, who is well familiar with the Russian opera style thanks to his extended tenure at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg. The handsome set by Ferdinand Wögerbauer tips a hat to 1920s Russian Modernism. The costumes are by Anna Maria Heinreich, the lighting by Joachim Barth and the choreography by Lia Tsolaki. The Nose will be premiered on 20 November, and the last of its eight performances will be on 16 December.
Indigo: Rock musicians create “the most beautiful opera since Turandot”
The year 2016 will begin with the world premiere of an opera from the cutting edge of Finnish music. Indigo, to be premiered on 22 January, is the creation of Perttu Kivilaakso and Eicca Toppinen, members of the world-famous Finnish heavy metal cello band Apocalyptica. It is a full-fledged opera that seamlessly blends heavy rock music with unabashedly Romantic melodies. “We have created the most beautiful opera since Turandot,” the two composers say. The music was edited, orchestrated and arranged by Jaakko Kuusisto, who will also be conducting the performances.
The libretto is by Sami Parkkinen, an exciting tale addressing the fundamentals of the human condition. The narrative focuses on the powers of an all-pervasive intercontinental corporation, the perils of technology and the quest for happiness. The corporation has developed an efficiency-boosting drug that has unpredictable side effects. As the number of victims increases, only the original developer of the drug can save the day. Someone must brave the journey into a parallel reality through a strange machine. Will the key to happiness be found there?
The energetic production will be directed by Vilppu Kiljunen. The sets are by Sampo Pyhälä, the costumes by Kalle Kuusela and the choreography by Reija Wäre. Indigo will be performed in English, and its cast will include prominent Finnish singers. The last of its eight performances will be on 18 February 2016.
Finnish National Opera / Communications Department
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The Finnish National Opera is an international-calibre opera and ballet company with a broad and varied repertoire. As a national arts institution, it serves the entire country: the FNO is the only professional opera company in Finland, and the Finnish National Ballet is the only professional ballet company.
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