Jules Massenet’s rarely-performed opera Thäis will open at the Finnish National Opera on 25 January 2013.
The production was last seen on the Finnish National Opera stage 80 years ago.
The opera Thäis is based on a story of the same name by Anatole France describing the conflict between mortal and godly adoration, inspired by a legend dating back to the fourth century. The monk Athanaël converts the famed beauty and courtesan Thäis to religion and life in a convent, but is forced to admit at her deathbed that in truth he loved her all the while. The music of the French composer Jules Massenet (1842-1912) aptly captures the melodic ecstasy of both heaven and earth. Premiering in 1894, Thäis was a popular opera in the early 1900s, but fell into obscurity later, with only Massenet's Werther and Manon operas duly remembered. Fortunately, Thäis has been rediscovered in recent years and has quickly recovered its justly-deserved significance.
The events of this production, under the direction of Nicola Raab, transport us to the eccentric world of the theatre, where the actress Thäis reigns supreme. Before its visit to Helsinki, the production has been staged in Gothenburg, Valencia and Seville. The magnificently colourful set and costume design of Johan Engels has earned accolades everywhere it has been seen, with production lighting by Linus Fellbom.
The role of Nicias is sung by the Canadian tenor Luc Robert. The demanding title role is interpreted by the rising international soprano Sabina Cvilak, while the substantial part of Athanaël is sung by the Finnish baritone Jaakko Kortekangas. FNO Principal Conductor Mikko Franck and Estonian conductor Paul Mägi are scheduled to take turns conducting. The opera Thäis will be presented at the Finnish National Opera on 25.1, 30.1, 1.2, 7.2, 13.2, 26.2 and 28.2.
The winter opera repertoire also features Jukka Linkola's exciting new piece for the whole family Robin Hood and two perennial opera favourites: Verdi's La Traviata and Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro.
Finnish National Ballet presents triple bill of Kylián, Forsythe and Balanchine
A triple bill of contemporary dance named after choreographer Jiří Kylián's Bella Figura is scheduled to premiere at the Finnish National Ballet on February 15. One of Kylián's most recognized works, Bella Figura is a testament to the naked beauty of the human body, set to a slow hypnotic score from Baroque composers like Vivaldi and Pergolesi.
In addition to Kylian's piece, the Bella Figura triple bill features two works from the world's leading choreographers, William Forsythe and George Balanchine. A master of deconstruction, William Forsythe created his intense and energetic work In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated for the Paris Opera Ballet in 1987. This virtuoso piece challenges the laws of physics and is one of Forsythe's most praised miniature ballets, paving the way towards a new era in dance in its day. The music for the piece was composed by the Dutch composer Thom Willems.