This summer, almost 70,000 music lovers will gather in the Finnish city of Savonlinna for the yearly Opera Festival. Among this year’s highlights are Romeo and Juliet, The Magic Flute, and The Barber of Seville. For the first time a musical, Fiddler on the Roof, will also be performed at the festival. The Savonlinna Opera Festival is one of the world’s leading opera festivals and takes place in the medieval Olavinlinna Castle in Savonlinna, Finland, from 1 to 30 July.
Ville Matvejeff, Artistic Director of the Savonlinna Opera Festival, said: ”In addition to the beautiful opera productions, Savonlinna and Olavinlinna offer magnificent nature experiences. Visitors can experience the bright Nordic summer nights in a medieval castle courtyard while listening to world-renowned opera stars. We offer an atmosphere, acoustics, and opera experiences that few others in the world can match.”
Highlights of the Year
During this year’s Savonlinna Opera Festival, four operas and one musical will be staged, with a total of 25 performances. The repertoire includes Romeo and Juliet, The Magic Flute, The Barber of Seville, and the new opera A Room of One’s Own in a double bill with Bluebeard’s Castle. Among the top guest artists are Lisette Oropesa, Frédéric Antoun, Mika Kares, and conductor Sakari Oramo.
The festival opens on July 1 with Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet, directed by Amy Lane, which places the story on the dangerous streets of 19th-century New York, creating a fascinating tension against Charles Gounod’s loving music.  The production is made by Malmö Opera in Sweden, where the performance premiered in November 2022.
The main roles in Romeo and Juliet are played by Lisette Oropesa and Frédéric Antoun, alternating with Finnish soprano Marjukka Tepponen, who recently made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and Antonio Poli.
50th Anniversary of The Magic Flute
Ville Matvejeff, Artistic Director of the Savonlinna Opera Festival, said: ”Mozart’s The Magic Flute is by far the most popular opera among our visitors. This year, we
celebrate the 50th anniversary of the premiere of The Magic Flute at the festival. This year we have given the opera a refresh, and it will be exciting to hear how the audience reacts to our update.”
Sakari Oramo will conduct the performances, and the ensemble will feature leading Finnish opera names such as Tuuli Takala, Anu Komsi, Tuomas Katajala, and Mika Kares.
Future world star 
The final week of the festival includes a guest performance by Theater Hagen from Germany, performing Fiddler on the Roof, and a double bill of the highly regarded Finnish composer Outi Tarkiainen’s new opera A Room of One’s Own and Bela Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle.
Outi Tarkiainen is described as a future world star on the cusp of a major international career. Ensembles including the BBC Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra have commissioned her. Her works have been taken up by orchestras around the world and her piece Midnight Sun Variations premiered at the BBC Proms in 2019.
Savonlinna is located in eastern Finland, approximately 400 kilometers from the capital, Helsinki. The city is located beautifully by the country’s largest lake, Lake Saimaa, with the fortress of Olavinlinna on a small island. The region’s lake scenery is considered one of the finest areas in Finland, and the annual festival is regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful opera festivals.

Tickets and Travel

To reach Savonlinna, it is easy to take the train or a flight from Helsinki. Tickets for the festival can be booked at https://operafestival.fi/en/