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Total duration 2 h 40 min
1 intermission (25 min)
13 performances
25.1.2019 – 9.3.2019
Main Stage
20-129 €
Performed in Finnish
Surtitles in finnish, swedish and english

Finland’s favourite novel takes to the stage

Ulla-Lena Lundberg’s novel Ice was awarded the Finlandia prize, Finland’s most prestigious literary award, in 2012. With domestic sales of almost 150 000 copies, it has become one of the most cherished Finnish novels of the decade. Partly based on the life on Lundberg’s own family on the isolated island of Kökar, Ice has attracted much interest from theatres, but the Finnish National Opera was the first to get permission to adapt it for the stage. The libretto follows the key events and characters of the rich novel, with music that rings with the changing seasons and the ever-present threat of ice.

Recommended for children over the age of 9.

Recording of Ice now on Stage24

Ice: Aarne Pelkonen; Mari Palo

Watch recording of Ice on Stage24 for free.

Sounding out the power of nature

Ice: Jenny Carlstedt

“Memories fade, they sink to the bottom until they become as hazy as the rocks underwater. Soon the islands’ priest will be only a story, drifting in the current, further and further away…”

A story that wanted to become an opera

Ice is a novel that you would like never to end. Its pages are filled with flowing language, real-life characters, the happiness of a young family, a hopeful journey towards better times – and still, below the surface, you always sense the growing dark undertone. How to turn one of the finest stories of Finnish literature into a libretto, how to condense it, what to leave out while keeping the memorable characters, the power of nature, the warmth of the summer and the chill of the ice? Ice was a challenge, and yet in the end the libretto was born almost effortlessly. Ice was always full of music. It is a story that wanted to become an opera.

– Librettist Juhani Koivisto

Ice: Jenny Carlstedt; Ville Rusanen
Jaakko Kuusisto

Composed by Jaakko Kuusisto

Jaakko Kuusisto has lived and composed in the outer archipelago of Finland. Having experienced the harsh setting first hand, he says he couldn’t imagine a more appealing task as a composer. “What matters most to me is that the music creates an overriding ambience, describing the beautiful yet merciless sea and ice, which have a tremendous power over us and make us feel so small.”

Jaakko Kuusisto speaks about Ice

Ulla-Lena Lundberg

Ulla-Lena Lundberg was born on Kökar and currently lives in Porvoo. She has published poetry, reports, travel accounts and novels. In 2012, she won the Finlandia prize for her immensely popular novel, Ice (Is, S&S). Her earlier literary awards include the Runeberg prize in 1998 and the Thanks for the Book Award in 1990. In 1993, the Åbo Akademi University conferred an honorary doctorate on her. Lundberg held the title of Professor of Arts from 1994 to 1999.

#jää #iceopera

Ice: Hannu Forsberg; Petri Vesa; Petri Pussila; Marcus Groth; Marjukka Tepponen; Ville Rusanen; Jenni Lättilä; Jussi Merikanto; Jenny Carlstedt; Tiina Penttinen; Matias Haakana; Hannu Niemelä; Tove Åman

”You must know the ice…will it bear or break? You have to feel it in your feet. Watch out among the islands, that’s where the currents run and the ice is thin. Don’t ever turn and go back. There is no return, the ice behind you is already different.”


A young priest settles on a remote Finnish island with his family, and ever since his first sermon, everyone loves and respects him. This where they’ll stay, where their children will grow up, Petter and Mona decide. Petter completes his degree, he is inaugurated, a bridge is built between islands, life is getting better and all is well. But the ice is treacherous, and Petter doesn’t know how to watch out for it.

You can read the complete synopsis in the programme leaflet.

Ice: Aarne Pelkonen


Photography exhibition in the Main Foyer

Ooppera ja Baletti_Jää

”Nature is our home and water is the elixir of life!”

Photographer Janne Gröning’s exhibition, At the archipelago, celebrates the 20th anniversary of his career as an artist. At the same time, it’s a journey to the landscape of opera Ice, to face the power and beauty of the sea. The exhibition is in the Main Foyer of the Opera House.

Creative team

Music, musiikinjohto
Jaakko Kuusisto
Juhani Koivisto
Anna Kelo
Kati Lukka
Marja Uusitalo
Lighting design, video design
Thomas Hase
Sound design
Antti Murto
Ari Numminen


Petter kummel
Aarne Pelkonen
Sanna kummel
Tyyne Hynninen
Marcus Groth
Samuli Takkula
Adele bergman
Jenni Lättilä
Adele bergman
Tiina-Maija Koskela
Elis bergman
Pekka Kuivalainen
Artur manström
Jaakko Kortekangas
Artur manström
Hannu Niemelä
Lydia manström
Niina Keitel
Lydia manström
Tiina Penttinen
Heikki Hattunen
Fredrik berg
Hannu Forsberg

Performances and tickets

2 h 40 min
1 intermission (25 min)
13 performances
25.1.2019 – 9.3.2019
Main Stage
20-129 €
Performed in Finnish
Surtitles in finnish, swedish and english
Fri 25.1.2019
at 19:00
Wed 30.1.2019
at 19:00
Sat 2.2.2019
at 14:00
Tue 5.2.2019
at 19:00
Thu 7.2.2019
at 19:00
Thu 14.2.2019
at 19:00
Sat 16.2.2019
at 14:00
Wed 20.2.2019
at 11:00
Fri 22.2.2019
at 19:00
Wed 27.2.2019
at 19:00
Tue 5.3.2019
at 19:00
Thu 7.3.2019
at 19:00
Sat 9.3.2019
at 19:00

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