The Edmond Sun

Arts & Entertainment

August 21, 2013

Enjoy opera in a castle on Finnish island

(Continued)

The initial idea for the Savonlinna Opera Festival came from Finnish opera diva and ardent patriot, Aino Ackte, in 1907, the year Finland democratically elected its first Parliament by universal suffrage. While attending a political meeting in the castle, Ackte saw the possibility of staging an opera festival in this very romantic setting.

The first opera festival was staged in 1912 and grew in renown until the First World War and ensuing economic difficulties put the festival on hold for nearly four decades. Ardent supporters, after years of planning, staged a televised production of "Fidelio" in 1967 that put Savonlinna back on the operatic map.

From its early beginnings as a one-week festival, Savonlinna has grown into a month-long international festival that draws an audience of 60,000 yearly. On an artistic par with many of Europe’s best music festivals, Savonlinna presented six operas, a children’s opera and Verdi’s "Requiem" for the 2013 season.

While I relished the experience of being able to sit through a staging of Verdi’s "Macbeth," aptly performed in an old castle, (how mood evocative can you get?), I also marveled at the superb artistry achieved by the production staff, the orchestra, soloists and chorus. Even more to my amazement is the fact that the small town of some 27,500 residents is able to accommodate the phalanx of musicians, technicians and singers, not to mention the audience.

Initially, I questioned how well the acoustics might fare in a stone castle with rock-hard walls, but I was amazed by the superb sound starting with the overture to "La Traviata," the first in my series of Savonlinna operas. Because 2013 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of both Giuseppi Verdi and Richard Wagner, Savonlinna decided to stage Verdi’s "Masked Ball," "Macbeth," and "La Traviata" as well as his "Requiem" and Wagner’s "Lohengrin," the final opera of the three I was able to see on three consecutive evenings.

Text Only
Arts & Entertainment
  • Never Girls Good Reads

    NOTE: Email dpeery@edmondsun.com to have your name entered into a drawing for the following titles: “The Never Girls: A Pinch of Magic” and/or “The Secrets of Tree Taylor.” Deadline is 10 a.m. July 28. Winner will be notified by return email. Winner is responsible for picking up the book at The Edmond Sun at 123 S. Broadway. All entrants must be 18 or older to win.

    July 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • garner4.jpg Family, friends remember Garner’s Norman roots

    Flowers started arriving at the James Garner statue at Main Street and Jones Avenue Sunday morning after residents learned of the famed actor and Norman native’s death Saturday night in California.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Banjo 1 American Banjo Museum offers look at past

    What do you call perfect pitch?  If you can throw a banjo through the window and onto the garbage truck!  My brother-in-law, a musician, told me this joke.  Boy, the banjo is the Rodney Dangerfield of instruments — it gets no respect.  Well, get ready to appreciate the banjo for its history and heritage — at the American Banjo Museum in OKC’s Bricktown. This cool museum takes you through 370 years of banjo history in eight minutes, then settles down to give you details which will keep you interested for many more.

    July 19, 2014 6 Photos

  • Enjoy affordable romance in Dahlonega, Ga.

    Nestled in the mountains of northern Georgia against the Chattahoochee National Forest lies a tiny town that offers an authentic peek at a time long past. The charm of yesteryear combined with the calm of nature, friendly locals and the fun of back country roads dotted with vineyards and tasting rooms results in the perfect getaway for couples in search of a romantic escape or honeymoon destination. Those headed to Dahlonega for an intimate weekend will want to consider the following itinerary items.

    July 19, 2014

  • Kyle_Dillingham_cutout useBH.jpg Dillingham in benefit concert Monday at Symphony Center

    Musician Kyle Dillingham will perform a concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday to raise funds for a local man in need of a liver transplant.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Book to be launched at Uptown Grocery Co.

    A book focusing on support for children with autism will be launched at Uptown Grocery Co. from 2-5 p.m. July 19. “New Frontiers in Sensory Integration” is the most recent work of internationally acclaimed educator Stephanie Mines. Although based in Colorado, the neuropsychologist has gained experience in various parts of the world. Edmond was chosen as the launching place in honor of the local physical therapists who influenced Dr. Mines during her clinical trials.

    July 17, 2014

  • City Council approves $114,500 for statues

    City Council members have approved a $114,500 supplemental appropriation for public art.
    During the previous fiscal year, private contributions covered costs of a couple of larger art pieces that exceeded the city’s matching contribution limit of $35,000, causing the city to run short of budget authority as year-end activity approached, according to background provided by the council.

    July 17, 2014

  • line of girls 2877.jpg Summer camp enriches children

    Edmond's Historical Society 1889 summer camps were held in the historic one-room Territorial Schoolhouse on Second Street in Edmond. The children learned what their counterparts used 125 years ago to clean, cook and play with and experienced what a school day in the life of a child in 1889 was like.

    July 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • seamstresses.jpg Sewing camps helps girls hone in skills

    Anna Paladini (foreground) and her twin sister Alex Paladini work on their patchwork purses during the Sewing Camp held at the Parks and Recreation department in Mitch Park. The girls planned their summer vacation to see their grandparents, Kay and Mark Mades, around the camp Jeanine Smith teaches each summer.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • FAI camp 4 SLIDESHOW: Fine Arts Institute camp Campers learned how to apply stage make-up, do magic tricks and clown around this week at the Fine Arts Institute of Edmond's Theatre Escape Camp. This annual summer camp offering combines a number of hands-on exercises and fun for students interested in drama and the arts.

    July 16, 2014