The Finnish National Opera and Finnish National Ballet are national arts institutions, offering opera and ballet performances and other events to Finns of all ages. Guest performances, school operas, TV broadcasts and streaming bring the FNO to everyone all over the country.
In terms of personnel, the FNO is a medium-sized opera and ballet company. There are about 530 permanent employees. The Orchestra has 111 members, the Chorus has 50 singers, and the Ballet has 78 dancers. Finnish and foreign guest performers appear alongside the FNO’s own soloists. The FNO also employs experts from a wide range of crafts specialities, from shoemakers to metalworkers.
The FNO generally stages four new opera productions and three new ballet productions each year. Added to these are revivals of old productions, resulting in a programme that is different every week and may include dozens of productions in the course of the year. The FNO performs both established classics and contemporary opera and dance works, especially new Finnish works.
The FNO is the only professional opera company in Finland. It traces its history back to 1911; the Ballet was founded in 1922. The company occupied the tiny Alexander Theatre for decades until the purpose-built Opera House was finally inaugurated in 1993. The main auditorium seats more than 1,300, and there is a studio stage too. The foyers are also used for small-scale performances and free public events.