The 2010–2011 season at the Finnish National Opera will feature great classics, international productions and new Finnish opera and dance. A festive touch will be added by the 100th anniversary celebrations of the FNO beginning in January.
The autumn will open with the premiere in September of a new production of the grand opera Aida by Verdi, directed by guest director Georg Rootering. The principal roles will be taken by Mardi Byers / Gweneth-Ann Jeffers and Antonello Palombi / Mika Pohjonen. November will see the premiere of the psychologically charged opera Die tote Stadt (The City of the Dead) by E.W. Korngold, conducted by Mikko Franck, Artistic Director of the FNO, and directed by Kasper Holten, Artistic Director of the Royal Danish Opera. The leading role will be taken by guest soprano Camilla Nylund.
The FNO's centenary year will begin with the world premiere in the main auditorium in January of the adventure opera Robin Hood by Jukka Linkola, performed in Finnish and intended for the whole family - particularly boys. The fourth opera premiere in this season will be the Puccini triple bill Il trittico, conducted by Mikko Franck.
The dance premiere of the autumn will be a double bill of new works, the powerful Blood Wedding by British choreographer Cathy Marston and Sheherazade by Kenneth Greve, Artistic Director of the Finnish National Ballet. The sensuous full-length ballet Manon by Kenneth MacMillan will be premiered in March. In May, women's energy will fill the stage in Almi Hall with a triple bill of new works by Virpi Pahkinen, Mammu Rankanen and Johanna Nuutinen.
It is the purpose of the FNO to maintain and promote Finnish opera, and in the 2010-2011 season there will be no fewer than four Finnish operas in the repertoire: in addition to the premiere production of Robin Hood, there will be repeat performances of Pohjalaisia (The Ostrobothnians) by Leevi Madetoja, Aleksis Kivi by Einojuhani Rautavaara in Almi Hall, and Isän tyttö (Daddy's Girl) by Olli Kortekangas. Also returning to the repertoire are Eugene Onegin, with Soile Isokoski as Tatyana, The Magic Flute in Finnish-language performances for the whole family, L'elisir d'amore, Madama Butterfly with Elisabet Strid and Judith Howarth in the title role, La bohème conducted by Leif Segerstam, Faust, the operetta The Merry Widow, La Cenerentola, the mythical Parsifal directed by Harry Kupfer at Easter, and Il barbiere di Siviglia.
Returning to the ballet repertoire are Swan Lake as revised by Kenneth Greve, the Christmas classic The Nutcracker and the Mouse King and, after a pause of several years, Romeo and Juliet by John Cranko. There will also be a celebration of the 40-year career of the legendary Jorma Uotinen in late September and early October, with Uotinen himself returning to the FNB for a triple bill of his works: Ballet Pathétique, the solo work La Diva that he created for himself, and Black Water, which will be performed by visiting artists, the Skåne Dansteater company. Further Nordic guests will arrive in November with the Danish Dance Theatre performing in Almi Hall. In February, the triple bill Under the Dancing Sky, which at the time of this writing is still to be premiered, will return to the repertoire.
Joint projects during the season will include a music theatre piece based on Carmen created together with DuvTeatern and the disabled actors of Blue Flamenco. In the project entitled Tähän asti (Until now), three choirs of elderly people will work with music students from a university of applied sciences in Helsinki in music and dance.
As of the 2010-2011 season, all opera performances in the main auditorium will have surtitles in three languages, thanks to the new system installed. Swedish surtitles will be included alongside Finnish and English.