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Total duration 1 h 45 min
no intermission
Main Stage
20-129 €

Innocence will not be seen in the 2020/2021 season

Innocence, the new opera by Kaija Saariaho and Sofi Oksanen, will not be seen at the Finnish National Opera in the 2020/2021 season. The world premiere of this collaboration of five opera companies at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in July has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, so Innocence cannot be performed in Helsinki in January 2021 as planned. However, Innocence will be part of the Finnish National Opera’s repertoire in the near future.

Innocence, composed by Kaija Saariaho and written by Sofi Oksanen is a ravishing opera that takes place in two parallel periods of time. It deals with the wounds of the past, the passing of time, and the act of letting go. A wedding party is underway in Helsinki, but the groom’s family has a dark secret. When the events from a decade ago begin to unravel, the guests face a moment of truth.

Innocence is a co-production of the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, the Finnish National Opera, the Royal Opera House in London, the Dutch National Opera, and the San Francisco Opera. At the Finnish National Opera the opera will be conducted by Susanna Mälkki and Clément Mao-Takacs.

A collaboration between Kaija Saariaho and Sofi Oksanen

Saariaho’s fifth opera

Kaija Saariaho counts among the most internationally acclaimed Finnish composers of all time. In a recent vote on today’s most influential contemporary composers by the BBC, Saariaho came in 17th place, higher than any other composer alive today.

Saariaho is considered one of the world’s most original contemporary composers, and her work is continually performed around the globe. Saariaho is known for her sophisticated orchestration and dreamlike, slowly building soundscapes. Her operas have been true success stories – to date, the Finnish National Opera has performed L’Amour de loin, Adriana Mater, Émilie, and most recently Only the Sound Remains in 2016. Innocence is Saariaho’s fifth opera.

#innocence #innocenceopera

Libretto by Sofi Oksanen

Sofi Oksanen is Finland’s most successful and internationally famed contemporary novelist. She has been awarded 20 literary prizes, including the Finlandia Prize and the Nordic Council Literature Prize. Her work has been translated into more than 50 languages and has sold millions of copies worldwide.

Oksanen made her breakthrough as a writer with the play The Purge (Finnish National Theatre 2007). A novel on the same subject quickly became one of Finland’s most popular novels ever, and the world premiere of Jüri Reinvere’s opera based on the novel took place at the Finnish National Opera in 2012. Innocence is Oksanen’s first opera libretto.


It is a typical wedding for a cosmopolitan city, in present-day Finland. The fiancé is Finnish, the bride Romanian, and the mother-in-law French. But suddenly, during the wedding banquet, the Czech waitress feels ill… Ten years earlier, these characters were struck by a tragic event. Ghosts revive their memories of the trauma, there is a guilty haze, a lost innocence.

The full synopsis can be found in the programme leaflet

Order refreshments online

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 online store.

The services of the Opera Restaurant are available before performances and during the interval. Order beforehand and avoid the queues.

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.

Stay and enjoy

Radisson Blue etu Oopperan ja Baletin asiakkaille

Special offer at Radisson Blu

As a guest of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet you will enjoy the hospitality of Helsinki Radisson Blu Hotels at a special price.

We offer you 20% off the daily rate. Luxury accommodation includes accommodation for two at your chosen hotel in Helsinki, glasses of sparkling on arrival, relaxing Blu Dreams and a superb Super Breakfast.

Reservation code: OPERA