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Total duration 1 h 15 min
no intermission
Guest performances
Almi Hall
Performed in Finnish
Surtitles in Finnish and English

The performances of Autuus postponed

Due to the coronavirus epidemic Autuus will not be seen in the repertoire this autumn. The new performance dates will be published later on.

Teosto-winning opera returns to the stage

Why does God command to kill?

The themes in the opera Autuus (Bliss) include religious violence, the relationship between the individual and the community, marginalisation and the frailty of the mind. The background for the work is a true story from Kangaslampi, Finland in the spring of 1881, but the events in the work progress on several time lines, and the work is also musically and visually multi-layered. The whole sounding experience consists of video material combined with soloists, a choir and an instrumental ensemble on stage.

Autuus was premiered at the Helsinki Festival 2015 and won the Teosto prize in 2016. The jury commented as follows: ”Requires utmost dedication from its audience, but offers a cathartic release in exchange. The masterly composition is complemented with libretto elements that bring out the colours and hues beneath the dark surface.”

”No event can really be described in music. Music is too abstract. It can, however, be used as a tool for addressing very complex matters – such as violence – in a way that is meaningful. Violence is a problem that needs to be dealt with, and there is not necessarily any answer to the problem. I nevertheless claim that tackling the subject increases our understanding.”

– Antti Auvinen




The prologue states the external facts: what happened at Kangaslampi on April 12, 1881.

Act I: The Womb

Two priests, Arndt and Oskar, are talking. They speak of faith, brotherhood and the difficulty of encountering the other. The chorus outlines and comments on the brothers’ discussion.

Act II: Night

Oskar is asleep. The Chorus sings a nightmare that wakes Oskar, who wakes his wife. They discuss their relationship. And loneliness and everyday life that feels like a dream.

Act III: Murder

Oskar and Arndt meet without words. They dance. They seek consolation, play, tenderness and mutual understanding. And find them. They also find hate, envy, fear and shame. On a video at the same time, the Chief Consultant (Hannu Lauerma) at a psychiatric prison hospital is answering questions about violent crimes and about what interests us in stories of violence.

Act IV: Bliss

Oskar is on trial for murdering his brother. The Chorus represents the prosecution. Oskar engages in dialogue with the prosecution. Arndt also takes part in the discussion, from beyond the grave. In his mind, Oskar makes his peace with his brother.

”The psycho music rumbling, screaming and growling but doesn’t explode totally, since Auvinen has organised and formed the polyrhythmic rage and terror with virtuoso precision.”

– Hannu-Ilari Lampila, Helsingin Sanomat

Creative Team

Music: Antti Auvinen
Libretto: Harry Salmenniemi
Director: Teemu Mäki
Lighting design: Vesa Pohjolainen

Helsinki Chamber Choir

Nils Schweckendiek, conductor
Mirjam Solomon, soprano
Jarno Lehtola, tenor
Sampo Haapaniemi, baritone

Electronics design: Antti Auvinen, Timo Kurkikangas, Josue Moreno,Joshua Hey, Davis Ozolins and Sebastian Dumitrescu. The electronics of the piece have been designed and realised in co-operation with Sibelius Academy’s Centre for Music and Technology.

Audiovisual production: Antti Auvinen (composer, video manipulation & editor), Teemu Mäki (director & editor), Jarmo Kiuru (filming & colour grading), Anton Verho (lighting), Anna Antsalo (filming and sound recording – interview with Hannu Lauerma), Timo Kurkikangas (sound recording), Anders Pohjola (sound recording), Veera Vallinkoski (sound recording), SDI Media Finland (subtitles and translations), Juho Laitinen (cello)

Production: Antti Auvinen, Helsinki Chamber Choir & defunensemble

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Afternoon Tea

Sweet and savoury treats

Choose your favourite refreshments from this season’s tasty menu. You can easily add refreshments to your shopping basket while selecting tickets in our new online store.

Please note that this performance has no intermission. The services of the Opera Restaurant are available before performance.

Please note that we cannot guarantee a specific table for orders made via the online store. We may also seat several parties at the same table. You may be assigned a bar height table for enjoying refreshments standing up.