On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, the Hungarian State Opera in cooperation with FinnAgora will be presenting Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara’s opera Kaivos (The Mine).
Composed between 1957 and 1960, The Mine tells the story of minors who decide to go on strike against the dictatorship, but eventually the uprising is brutally put down. Rautavaara was inspired to compose this opera while studying in Switzerland, where he met Hungarian refugees who told him about the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and about the Hungarian political situation in general. Although the opera was finished in 1960, due to the political climate and especially to the strong Soviet influence over Finland, the opera could not be performed as it would have been regarded as direct criticism over the Soviet Union.
In fact, besides a television production in 1963 and a recent concert performance in Tampere, which was also recorded by Ondine, The Mine has never been performed on stage, so this will be the world premiere of this exceptional opera. Rautavaara himself, once said that The Mine is “perhaps the best opera I have ever written”. Being the only opera that tells the story of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, it is definitely a highly anticipated production in Budapest. However, the premiere will also be bittersweet: Rautavaara was planning to come to Budapest to see his opera on stage for the very first time, but unfortunately he passed away in July, 2016 at the age of 87.
This production is also a great cooperation not only between the Hungarian State Opera and FinnAgora, the Finnish cultural institute in Budapest, but also between Hungarian and Finnish musicians and artists. The creative team is mainly Finnish with Vilppu Kiljunen as director, Piia Rinne as costume designer and Antti Mattila as set designer. One of Finland’s most well-known baritons, Tommi Hakala, is one of the soloists, while the conductor is Tibor Bogányi who lived in Finland for many years and who has a great passion for Finnish contemporary music. The other singers, the orchestra as well as the choir is, however, all Hungarian.
Rautavaara’s The Mine will be performed as a one-act opera and will be followed by another world premiere, Love by Hungarian composer Judit Varga, who recently won the Opera Composition Competition of the Hungarian State Opera. This opera is based on the film Love by Tibor Déry, Károly Makk and Péter Bacsó and it is also directed by Vilppu Kiljunen.
Address: Hungarian State Opera – 22 Andrássy Way, 1061 Budapest view map
Dates: Friday, October 21st at 7pm, Thursday, October 27th at 7pm, Saturday, October 29th at 7pm and Thursday, November 3rd at 7pm.
For more information on the performance and for tickets, please visit the official website of the Hungarian State Opera.
The Mine will be performed in Finnish with English and Hungarian subtitles, while the opera Love will be performed in Hungarian with English and Hungarian subtitles.
Composer Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928–2016). Photo: Pekka Hako