Savonlinna Opera Festival, Finland

Olavinlinna Castle 1475

Olavinlinna Castle 1475

The best conserved Medieval fortification in Northern Europe, Olavinlinna Castle was built in 1475, on an island in a lake in Eastern Finland. You can only get to the Castle, by crossing two bridges on foot, and one of the bridges swings out of the way when a boat passes by (or when invaders approach perhaps?).

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On the way to the Opera

On the way to the Opera

The Savonlinna Opera Festival first took place in 1912, and was resurrected in 1967.  Constance was beside herself when she found out we were going to attend the Festival’s premiere of Lohengrin, staged in the courtyard of this Medieval Castle. On an Island. In a Lake. In the middle of Finland…swoon.  The Opera dress was the first thing she stuffed into her travelling trunk! 

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View of the stage

View of the stage

Thank goodness we had studied the libretto and music before we came to Finland (to see Constance’s ponderings on Lohengrin click here).  In this picture you see the very dramatic moment when the un-named knight is about to fight Friedrich of Telramund. We were not permitted to take pictures during the performance, so this one is from a review of the production…

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Lohengrin's Swan

Lohengrin’s Swan

However, during the first intermission, Constance was allowed to sit on the stage for a moment and she was Thrilled to have her picture taken with Lohengrin’s  Papier-mâché swan!!!  

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Ah - the memories!

Ah – the memories!

We saved the ticket, the program and the advertising pages from the tourist magazines, but these fade in comparison to the memories!

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7 thoughts on “Savonlinna Opera Festival, Finland

    • It was wonderful! There was no curtain, so no curtain call after the performance, but the principal singers were given bouquets of flowers from folk-costumed ushers, and armsfull of Birch leaves from other singers – a Finnish opening night tradition?

  1. The Country Hittys and I have been waiting anxiously for this review and it exceeds our expectations. Constance looks sophisticated and lovely in her opera frock. So glad that she was able to take you with her to the opera.
    what a castle!!! Thanks so much for the photos and dialogue.

    • The Castle is amazing! It is open to tourists during the day…Constance is grateful to a generous and thoughtful Hitty friend for the musical fabric, without which there would be no Opera Dress (you know who you are!!!).

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