The Finnish Cultural Foundation’s Edvard Fazer Prize has been awarded to principal dancer Linda Haakana of the Finnish National Ballet. Haakana received the cup and accompanying cheque for EUR 10,000 during the première of ballet Carmen on the stage of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet on Friday 21 February 2020.
Linda Haakana was signed on by the Finnish National Ballet in 2002, and named as a soloist dancer in 2013 and a principal dancer in 2014. The jury based its decision on Linda Haakana’s long and successful career at the Finnish National Ballet. Haakana excels in the classical repertoire as well as the contemporary dance and she is an exceptional artist, with a special intensity which will draw the viewer into the performance. She is always willing to share her skills and expertise with her colleagues, making her a genuine inspiration for the next generation of Finnish dancers.
The prize was presented by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Finnish Cultural Foundation, Jari Sokka, and a jury member Madeleine Onne, Artistic Director of the National Ballet. Besides Onne, the jury includes Gita Kadambi, General Director of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet, and Leena Niemistö, Chair of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet.
This is the 18th instalment of the Finnish Cultural Foundation’s Edvard Fazer Prize, which has been awarded within the Finnish National Opera and Ballet since 1984. Previous winners are the dancers Aku Ahjolinna, Ulrika Hallberg, Maija Hänninen, Tommi Kitti, Jarkko Niininen, Juha Kirjonen, Barbora Kohoutková, Minna Tervamäki, Jaakko Eerola, Carolina Agüero, Timo Kokkonen, Nicholas Ziegler, Salla Eerola, Tiina Myllymäki, Samuli Poutanen, Michal Krčmář and Eun-Ji Ha. All the dancers of the National Ballet received the Prize as an ensemble in 1994.
The Edvard Fazer Prize is a rotating trophy awarded biennially by the Finnish Cultural Foundation within the Finnish National Ballet for merits in promoting dance. The Edvard Fazer Prize was created during the Finnish National Ballet’s sixtieth anniversary year in 1982, and was first awarded in 1984. The trophy is a silver cup donated by the Titular Commercial Counsellor and Mrs Roger Lindberg and gifted by the staff of the Finnish National Opera to their then Director, Edvard Fazer, on the occasion of his seventieth birthday in 1931. In 1996, the Fazer Music Foundation transferred its assets to the Finnish Cultural Foundation, and the Fazer Music Fund was established. At that point the award was renamed the Finnish Cultural Foundation’s Edvard Fazer Prize. Today the Fazer Music Fund is known as the Roger Lindberg Music Fund, and its purpose is to support Finnish musical arts and to continue awarding the prize that carries Edvard Fazer’s name.