Savonlinna Opera Festival opens with security check

The 2017 Savonlinna Opera Festival begins this week

The 2017 Savonlinna Opera Festival begins next Thursday, July 6. Among the eagerly-awaited productions is the bold and raging Rigoletto of Scottish director Sir David McVicar that will not leave anyone cold. Also new are the security checks at Olavinlinna Castle.

The season’s new Rigoletto has elements of Sir David McVicar’s earlier direction staged at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in London. The British press described it as boisterous and energetic. The new version to be performed in Olavinlinna Castle is likewise bold and audacious.

“Rigoletto is,” says McVicar, “a scream of rage at the inequality between human beings. The morose, glowering jester is a mirror image of his master the Duke in all his bright, colourful finery.” The stage designs create a brilliant, scenic atmosphere in the spirit of Caravaggio the painter.

Security checks at the castle

People attending performances in the castle this year should allow more time than before as they will now have to pass through security. Bags, backpacks and other such baggage will be checked by security officers before the bridge leading to the castle. Those arriving by boat will also be checked, on the landing stage behind the castle.

“We want to ensure our audience a pleasant opera experience,” says the festival’s General Director Jan Strandholm. “Security is an important factor here, which is why we are preparing for and adapting to changes in the global security situation. The new arrangement was also prompted by the latest terrorist threat assessment for Finland made by the Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo).”

The Savonlinna Opera Festival is the Finnish cultural event best known internationally and a leading Finnish tourist attraction. In over a century, it has grown into an international festival lasting one month. It attracts an annual total audience of around 60,000, a good 10 per cent from abroad. A visit to the opera in Savonlinna is an all-round experience made up of first-class opera performances and concerts, the unique atmosphere of a medieval castle and the beautiful town of Savonlinna in summer, set amid lakes, islands and forests. Savonlinna has become a concept among opera-lovers the world over. The budget for the 2017 Festival is about €8m, of which about 84% is self-financed and 16% consists of grants from the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Town of Savonlinna).

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