Finland Kaija Saariaho, Innocence: Refrain and Orchestra of the Finnish Nationwide Opera / Clément Mao-Takacs (conductor). Finnish Nationwide Opera, Helsinki, 26.10.2022. (GF)
Libretto – Sofi Oksanen
Dramaturge and translator – Aleksi Barrière
Director – Simon Stone
Units – Chloe Lamford
Costumes – Mel Web page
Lighting design – James Farncombe
Sound design – Timo Kurkikangas
Choreography – Arco Renz
The Waitress (Tereza) – Jenny Carlstedt
The Mom-in Legislation (Patricia) – Anu Komsi
The Father-in-Legislation (Henrik) – Tuomas Pursio
The Bride (Stela) – Iida Antola
The Bridegroom (Tuomas) – Markus Nykänen
The Priest – Jyrki Korhonen
The Trainer – Lucy Shelton
Markéta (Pupil 1) – Vilma Jää
Lilly (Pupil 2) – My Johansson
Iris (Pupil 3) – Julie Hega
Anton (Pupil 4) – Simon Kluth
Jerónimo (Pupil 5) – Camilo Delgado Diaz
Alexia (Pupil 6) – Olga Heikkilä
Extras – Inka Auvinen, Jul Han, Pila Lehto, Janne Mattila, Sini Parkkinen, Janina Taurinen, Sointu Toiskallio, Miika Alatupa
The approaching into being of Innocence originated within the spring of 2013, when Kaija Saariaho invited Sofi Oksanen and Aleksi Barrière to dinner after having been contacted by the Royal Opera Home ‘about presumably writing an opera impressed by the up to date world’, and she or he was excited in regards to the alternative to compose a piece involving a number of characters languages and views on the identical occasion. The method developed slowly however in the summertime of 2020 rehearsals started, with a scheduled premiere that summer season. Because of the pandemic it needed to be postponed, nevertheless, and the work was first carried out in the course of the 2021 Aix-en-Provence Pageant on July third, to nice acclaim (evaluation right here).
It’s a advanced work in 5 acts that seamlessly observe one another and are enacted on two completely different timelines: a marriage get together within the current and a traumatic occasion of ten years earlier that deeply affected the marriage visitors. At instances the 2 timelines run in parallel and overlap. Structurally one can say that the story is a jigsaw puzzle, the place new items are added regularly, finally giving the onlooker an entire image of the nice tragedy affecting all 13 characters. The story unfolds in a two-storied revolving dice. On the decrease degree are the restaurant and the marriage reception, on the higher degree is a global faculty, the scene of the tragic occasion, a faculty taking pictures killing ten college students and a instructor. The precise taking pictures shouldn’t be proven, however there are horrible scenes with slain our bodies and bloodstains on the partitions.
Within the fundamental story Tuomas and Stela, he Finnish, she Romanian, are getting married. Stela is glad and unaware of the tragedy that befell the household ten years earlier. On the wedding ceremony get together a Czech waitress, Tereza, is named in to assist. She finds out that she knew the groom’s household. For her the household ‘ended her life ten years in the past’. On the parallel timeline six college students and their instructor talk about what occurred, and it seems that one of many college students is Tereza’s daughter Markéta, who was killed within the tragedy. The bridegroom’s mom desires to ask her eldest son to the marriage, however the father warns that he doesn’t belong to the household anymore. The viewers learns that the brother was the shooter and has not too long ago been launched from jail. Tereza reveals this to Stela and the marriage visitors, however the mom defends her son and says that Markéta was additionally in charge, since she bullied her son. On the opposite timeline the scholars verify this. Within the final act, Tuomas reveals that he, his brother and Iris, a buddy of each, deliberate the taking pictures collectively, however on the final second Tuomas and Iris obtained chilly ft, leaving the perpetrator to hold out the crime out on his personal. In the long run nobody – besides presumably Stela – is absolutely harmless, everybody feels responsible in some respect. Nobody can escape their previous. Within the brief epilogue, a few of the survivors categorical hopes for a extra optimistic future, whereas Markéta seems a last time, telling her mom to ‘let her go’. It’s a deeply transferring story with a densely emotional libretto that by no means releases the depth, not even for a second.
Innocence is a remarkably multi-facetted murals, offering a number of perspective on the characters and the traumas narrated. The 13 characters are individually outlined, and but none of them are predominant characters. They categorical themselves in numerous methods, from ‘conventional’ operatic singing to spoken, half-spoken and folks music impressed expressions. The position of Markéta stands out, as carried out by Vilma Jää, a folks music singer who sings outdated Karelian songs with a brilliant, gentle high-pitched soprano voice, angelic in tone. Attention-grabbing can be the truth that the taking pictures takes place in a global faculty and contains singing in at least 9 completely different languages. Kaija Saariaho’s rating requires a big orchestra with a mess of colors, however it isn’t a piece dominated by the orchestra, which is basically subordinate to the voices. The ‘overture’, performed earlier than the curtain rises, begins in darkish, ominous colors. Then comes a bassoon solo, a brief, lovely melody, that’s repeated a number of instances. Close to the top of the opera it returns, however solely as soon as. The which means of this motif eludes me – except it’s innocence.
Director Simon Stone has clearly labored in shut concord with composer, librettist and dramaturge and the entire manufacturing feels very homogenous. It’s value noting that a number of members of the solid additionally took half on the planet premiere at Aix-en-Provence final 12 months. Tuomas Pursio because the Father-in-Legislation and Markus Nykänen as his son Tuomas had been wonderful of their roles, I’ve already talked about Vilma Jää’s Markéta, and several other of the opposite college students additionally repeated their roles. Of the newcomers Jenny Carlstedt was a really convincing Tereza and Anu Komsi a superb Mom-in-Legislation. Iida Antola drew a delicate portrait of the harmless Stela, whereas Jyrki Korhonen was a really subdued Priest who has misplaced his religion. The enjoying and singing of the refrain and orchestra underneath the younger Clément Mao-Takacs had been of the best order.
That is an opera that is still in a single’s reminiscence and ideas lengthy after the curtain went down. I really feel privileged to have had the nice fortune to expertise it and hope that many extra will seize the chance.