Otello from Savonlinna:
Two Nights in Moscow


The Savonlinna Opera Festival is the oldest, the best known and the most visited festival venue in Finland. The picturesque lakeside town attracts music lovers from all over the world with its unique combination of natural and man-made landscapes as well as opera performances staged there. The auditorium is set in the courtyard of the medieval Olavinlinna Castle, which ancient walls create a special atmosphere and excellent acoustics. Leading European opera houses consider it an honor to be invited to perform their productions there. Beyond this, festival program includes its own full length performances.

The history of cooperation between the Savonlinna Opera Festival and the Bolshoi Theatre has more than fifteen years. It began in 2002 with a tour of the ballet company (Swan Lake and Don Quixote were performed). In 2006 Savonlinna Opera Festival visited Moscow with a performance of Aulis Sallinen’s The Horseman – this is the first and only production of the festival shown at the Bolshoi. Next year Savonlinna saw two Bolshoi’s performances – Modest Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov and Leonid Desyatnikov’s The Children of Rosenthal. In 2017, in the Olavinlinna Castle were shown Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta and Eugene Onegin (concert performance). Now the Savonlinna Opera Festival will pay a return visit in Moscow. After a lapse of 10 years Giuseppe Verdi’s Otello will be performed at the Bolshoi Theatre. «This invitation is an important recognition of the Savonlinna Opera Festival and an apt continuation of our long-term co-operation. Otello has not been performed in Moscow in decades, which meant there was natural interest in our production», notes Jorma Silvasti, the Artistic Director of the Opera Festival.

In Moscow will sing the soloists-participants of Savonlinna’s recent performances, who have won the recognition of audiences and critics. The title role will be performed by renowned American tenor Carl Tanner. In 2012, he appeared at the Bolshoi Theatre as Calaf in the new production of G. Puccini’s Turandot. Marina Costa-Jackson will sing Desdemona’s part. An outstanding Finnish baritone and a regular participant of the Savonlinna Opera festival Elia Fabbian will perform as Jago. Maestro Antonello Allemandi, a widely recognized as one of the leading exponents of the Italian musical tradition, will conduct the performance (Maestro conducted Bolshoi’s productions of La Boheme and Turandot). The current performance also involves the Savonlinna Opera Festival’s choir, Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra and Children’s Choir.

Otello is a co-production of the Savonlinna Opera Festival and the Chorégies d’Orange Opera Festival. The premiere of this production (directed by Nadine Duffaut) took place in France in 2014.The performance was clearly recognized by critics as the success of the stage director Nadine Duffaut. Costume designer Katia Duflot dressed the characters in exquisite costumes of the XIV century, Emmanuelle Favre 's laconic scenography highlighted the monumental walls of the Roman amphitheatre in Orange. Otello was the festival’s tribute to Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of his death. Two years later, it was agreed to revive this stunning production and also to show it at the Bolshoi Theatre.