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Total duration 2 h 35 min
1 intermission (30 min)
13 performances
25.2.2022 – 14.5.2022
Ballets
Main Stage
tickets
20-129 €

A dance through the national composer’s life

Jorma Elo’s new ballet is about Jean Sibelius and his creativity, which inspires him to push forward. Nevertheless, his life wouldn’t be possible without Aino – her love, creativity and understanding. Though Jean is the main character, the story is both Aino’s and Jean’s. Their love is at the heart of the ballet, and the audience is shown each character’s point of view. Aino and Jean’s burning love and passion is a constant through the decades, in spite of the obstacles. It’s the driving force behind everything.

Recommended for children over the age of 7.

Movement language from classical ballet

Jorma Elo’s keen interest in story-form classical ballets in recent years is apparent in the structure and movement language of Sibelius. The classical movement language is only disrupted in the few scenes that take place in the creative world of Aino and Jean’s minds. In those scenes the movement language, too, is fully inspired by the music. The Violin Concerto, for example, features more modern movement language.

Tickets on sale 31 August at noon.

Tickets & Performances

2 h 35 min
1 intermission (30 min)
13 performances
25.2.2022 – 14.5.2022
Ballets
Main Stage
tickets
20-129 €
Fri 25.2.2022
at 19:00
Main Stage
from 78.00 €
Sat 26.2.2022
at 14:00
Main Stage
from 20.00 €
Tue 1.3.2022
at 19:00
Main Stage
from 69.00 €
Thu 3.3.2022
at 19:00
Main Stage
from 69.00 €
Sat 5.3.2022
at 19:00
Main Stage
from 20.00 €
Fri 11.3.2022
at 19:00
Main Stage
from 69.00 €
Sat 12.3.2022
at 19:00
Main Stage
from 69.00 €
Tue 15.3.2022
at 19:00
Main Stage
from 20.00 €
Thu 17.3.2022
at 19:00
Main Stage
from 20.00 €
Sat 19.3.2022
at 14:00
Main Stage
from 20.00 €
Wed 23.3.2022
at 19:00
Main Stage
from 69.00 €
Fri 25.3.2022
at 19:00
Main Stage
from 20.00 €
Sat 14.5.2022
at 19:00
Main Stage
from 20.00 €

Featuring Sibelius’s most affecting music

Jorma Elo explored Sibelius’s work in depth to find the most suitable music for his ballet. Excerpts from several different pieces come together beautifully in a score that follows the composer’s life. Sibelius’s compositions for the stage, which are particularly fitting to the story, are complemented by pieces close to Elo’s heart, such as the Violin Concerto, Symphony No. 5, and Finlandia.

”To me, the Violin Concerto has always been Sibelius’s most important composition, and I’ve also used it in one of my most popular ballets. I never stop wondering why it affects me, the audience and the dancers so much. Symphony No. 5 also gives me goosebumps every time, and Finlandia brings tears to my eyes. It touches all Finns – particularly us who have lived abroad for a long time.”

Pukuluonnos, jossa Jean ja Aino

Spectacular visuality evokes Finland’s national awakening

Set and costume designer Robert Perdziola has found visual inspiration in the paintings of Aino Sibelius’s brother Eero Järnefelt and photos of early 20th century Helsinki. The classic beauty of the costumes, which reflects the fashions of the period, is juxtaposed with the abstract costumes illustrating Sibelius’s composition process. Perdziola, an American, has visited Finland and explored Finnish nature, which inspired both Elo and Sibelius. His sketches illustrate the essence of Finnishness, while also showing Ainola, the Järnefelts’ summer villa, Helsinki and other quintessentially Finnish locations from a fresh point of view.  

Costume sketches for the ballet

Jorma Elo speaks about Sibelius

Synopsis

Young Jean is reading a book with beautiful white swans on the cover. At his father’s funeral, Jean’s imagination carries him away from the sorrow.

Armas Järnefelt arrives at his family’s villa together with his friend Jean Sibelius. Jean feels uncomfortable in the company of the upper-class family, but there’s a mutual attraction between him and Armas’s sister, Aino. Aino’s sensitive, mentally disturbed sister, Elli, takes her own life in the forest. The shocked Aino leans on Jean in her grief. 

Aino and Jean get engaged. Aino’s father finally gives his blessing upon hearing about the success of Jean’s composition, Kullervo.

Sibelius travels to Vienna to study composition and takes part in an audition for an orchestra. He relishes the bohemian freedom of Vienna and spends his time partying and gambling, ending up at a brothel. As he returns to Finland, his angered wife, Aino, eventually forgives him and tells him she is pregnant.

Years later, Jean is composing his violin concerto. At the rehearsal of the world premiere, the musicians are laughing at his nerves. Later, crushed by negative reviews, Jean heads out drinking. Upon coming home, he finds Aino distraught: their daughter, Kirsti, has died of typhoid fever. The shared grief reignites Jean and Aino’s love.  

Jean is in Italy, still composing to provide for himself and his family. In his despair, he sees Kirsti in a nightmare and is overcome by guilt over the loss of his daughter. 

As the civil war breaks out, the family flees Helsinki, but during their escape, they are threatened by the red guard. Jean’s brother bribes the soldiers to let them go. Jean sees a flock of swans flying above and is inspired to compose.

Sibelius is rehearsing to conduct a concert and drinks to calm his nerves. At the concert, Aino is saddened by seeing her inebriated husband.

The Sibelius family is happy. Aino and Jean have found each other again, and Jean resists the temptation of debauchery. 

An old man now, Jean is one of Finland’s most famous people. At his birthday party, his mind is burdened by the grim events of the past. Aino and Jean’s children arrive with their frail families to cheer up the frail Jean. As Jean dies of a heart attack in Aino’s arms, Aino is overcome by memories.  

The full synopsis and other background information will be available in the programme leaflet.

Creative team

Choreography
Jorma Elo
Music
Jean Sibelius
Music
Richard Strauss
Sets, costumes
Robert Perdziola
Lighting design
Linus Fellbom
Projections
Petri Sarkkila

#Sibelius #FNBSibelius

”We were looking for a story for the centenary celebration of the Finnish National Ballet, which would touch me personally and have a connection to Finland. The love for this music I share with all Finns adds depth to the viewing experience.”

– choreographer Jorma Elo

Listen to Sibelius

The Finnish National Ballet celebrates its centenary in 2022. The production is part of the centenary programme of events.

Complete the experience with refreshments

What can we get you?

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. Refreshment sales for performances in autumn 2021 will start in August. 

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.

Guaranteed seats with a season ticket

Yet another reason to love your season ticket

A season ticket is for true opera and ballet fans. The season ticket guarantees you a seat for all our premieres, which amount to 7 in the 2021–22 season.  You will also enjoy a dedicated seat in the auditorium and eleven more substantial benefits.

There is a limited amount of season ticket packages on sale. Season ticket packages for season 2021–22 on sale 5 May at noon.  

Stay and enjoy

Your 20% discount for Radisson Blu Hotels

Complete your experience by staying the night at a hotel. As a customer of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet, you can enjoy the hospitality of Helsinki’s Radisson Blu Hotels at a special rate.

This treat-yourself-offer includes accommodation for two in the hotel of your choice in Helsinki, two glasses of sparkling wine upon arrival, and the hotel’s delicious Super Breakfast.

Explore the stylish hotels and book your favourite.