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Richard Wagner: The Flying Dutchman

Tampere Opera, an opera company based in Tampere Hall, Finland, will produce Richard Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman in 2021. The work will premiere on Friday, January 29, 2021, and it will be directed by the experienced theatre director Marika Vapaavuori, now making her debut as an opera director. Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, a prominent symphony orchestra which has undertaken popular tours in Japan and Europe, is conducted by the German conductor Anja Bihlmaier.

With its continuous operation since 1947, Tampere Opera is one of the oldest opera companies in Finland, along with The Finnish National Opera and Ballet and the Savonlinna Opera Festival. The company’s annual productions are hosted by the largest cultural and concert venue in the Nordic Countries, Tampere Hall. For the past 30 years, Tampere Hall has produced all of the works of Tampere Opera, altogether 127 premieres. All of the performances of the opera company’s 2020 production, Carmen, were sold out. Tampere Opera hosts international guest artists and organises performances abroad. The Flying Dutchman opera is played by Finland’s most popular symphony orchestra, Tampere Philharmonic, with the internationally renowned, talented, young Mr. Santtu-Matias Rouvali as its chief conductor. The house choir consists of 90 singers.

Tampere Hall is the largest concert and congress centre in the Nordic Countries. It is also the most versatile and the most responsible event management company in Finland, with over a thousand events and 675.000 visitors annually. In 2019, the revenue of the event management company was 14.6 million euros. Under its roof, the building hosts a full symphony orchestra, Tampere Philharmonic, as well as an à la carte restaurant and the only Moomin Museum in the world. In January 2020, the conveniently located Courtyard by Marriott Tampere City Hotel opened its doors right next to Tampere Hall.

The décor of the opera production of the year 2021, The Flying Dutchman, is created by a talented crew of professionals: set designer Marjatta Kuivasto, costume designer Leena Rintala, and lighting designer Ville Syrjä. The leading role of the opera is interpreted by Tommi Hakala, a baritone singer making his debut as the Dutchman.
Tommi Hakala’s most important current roles are in Richard Wagner’s Ring cycle, produced by The Finnish National Opera and Ballet (2019–2021), in which he interprets the roles of Wotan (The Rhinegold and The Valkyrie) and The Wanderer (Siegfried).

The role of Daland is sung by bass singer Mika Kares, who is frequently on tour in different parts of the world. Mr. Kares’ recent top commissions include the roles of Gurnemanz in Richard Wagner’s Parsifal, produced by the Canadian Opera Company (2020), Giovanni da Procida in the opera I Vespri Siciliani by Giuseppe Verdi at the Salzburg Festival (2020), and Ivan Khovansky in Modest Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina at The Berlin State Opera (2020).

The role of Senta is interpreted by soprano Martina Welschenbach, who will make her first guest performance in Finland. In spring 2020, she sings the role of Leonora in Ludwig van Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, produced by the Bonn Opera, as well as the role of Senta in the Deutsche Oper Berlin’s production of The Flying Dutchman.
The role of Erik is shared by tenor singers Tuomas Katajala and Jussi Myllys. In spring 2020, Katajala sings the role of Don Ottavio in W.A. Mozart’s Don Giovanni at The Finnish National Opera and Ballet, as well as the head role in Mozart’s Idomeneo at The Israeli Opera. Myllys, for his part, sings the role of Lenski in Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin in the Finnish National Opera and Ballet.

Choir Conductor Heikki Liimola is responsible for coaching the Tampere Opera Choir. The language of the opera is German, with surtitles in Finnish and in English. The full cast shall be published in spring 2020.



In her versatile career, director Marika Vapaavuori has had the opportunity to direct some of the great classics of theatre literature, as well as entertaining works of musical theatre. She loves great drama and strong stories, so she has always found Wagner’s powerful music particularly alluring.
Marika Vapaavuori is fond of the ambiguous nature of the story of The Flying Dutchman, a seafarer who is condemned to roam the world, and of love that is powerful enough in its fidelity to break the curse.

– The attraction of the work lies in the fact that one can always find new tones and subtleties in the story, whether one is a first-timer or an experienced opera enthusiast. The work is like the sea itself – constantly moving, alluring, in one moment carefree, and suddenly tempestuous and intimidating. But always breathtakingly beautiful and powerful.

The Finnish lead role singer Tommi Hakala, who resides in Vienna, sees the role of the Flying Dutchman as a natural continuation to his international career.

– The role of the Dutchman is a logical addition to my repertoire of Wagner’s works, and a natural next step for me as a professional singer. I am drawn to the mystical nature of the character and the fate of the condemned seafarer. The psychophysical interpretation of the role is intriguing: one can hear, feel and see the weight of the curse, says Hakala.

– It is great to have the main auditorium of Tampere Hall as the venue for the work. The acoustics of the space are of high international standard and support Wagner’s music and the interpretation of the work perfectly.

Tommi Hakala (The Dutchman)
Mika Kares (Daland)
Tuomas Katajala (Erik) (29 and 31 Jan, 3 and 6 Feb)
Jussi Myllys (Erik) (10 and 13 Feb)
Martina Welschenbach (Senta)

The Flying Dutchman

Conductor Anja Bihlmaier
Director Marika Vapaavuori
Set design Marjatta Kuivasto
Costumes Leena Rintala
Lighting Ville Syrjä

Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra
Tampere Opera Choir,
Choir Conductor Heikki Liimola

The full cast will be published in spring 2020.


Fri 29 January 2021 at 6.30 pm, premiere
Sun 31 January 2021 at 3 pm
Wed 3 February 2021 at 6.30 pm
Sat 6 February 2021 at 3 pm
Wed 10 February 2021 at 6.30 pm
Sat 13 February 2021 at 3 pm

The show is in German. Subtitles in Finnish and English.

Tickets for the opera are available in the ticket sales service Lippu.fi. There are altogether 6 performances.
Tickets 104/89/68 €, pensioners 96/84/63 €, students 30 €

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