As the sun sets on an August evening, the stirring symphonic song cycle “Das Lied von der Erde” (The Song of the Earth) by Gustav Mahler will resound in the air. This epic work features six intense and emotionally charged songs that explore different moments of life. Mezzo-soprano Tuija Knihtilä and tenor Tuomas Katajala will perform as soloists, with Ville Matvejeff conducting the Orchestra of the Finnish National Opera.
Mezzo-soprano Tuija Knihtilä’s repertoire is centred around the major mezzo-soprano roles in opera literature, which she has performed in prestigious opera houses such as La Fenice in Venice, The Norwegian Opera and Ballet, Bergen National Opera, Malmö Opera, The Royal Operas of Denmark and Sweden as well as the Weimar National Theatre, Theatre Bonn, Mannheim National Theatre and Oper Frankfurt in Germany. She made her opera debut in the United States in 2015 at the Austin Opera in Texas, where she sang the role of Amneris in Verdi’s Aida.
Tuomas Katajala is currently Finland’s most internationally promising tenor and one of the most sought-after tenors in the Nordic countries. He has performed as a guest in several prestigious opera companies, including the Royal Opera House in London, the Berlin State Opera Unter den Linden, the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Hamburg State Opera, Theatre an der Wien, Opéra national du Rhin in Strasbourg, the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Komische Oper Berlin, and Seattle Opera in the USA. In Finland, he has regularly appeared in leading lyrical tenor roles at both the Finnish National Opera and the Savonlinna Opera Festival since 2006. Katajala’s repertoire comprises over one hundred oratorios and concert pieces.
Conductor Ville Matvejeff (b. 1986) is the Artistic Director of the Savonlinna Opera Festival (2019-) and the Principal Guest Conductor of Norrlandsoperan (2022-). He has also served as the Chief Conductor of Jyväskylä Sinfonia (2014-22), the Principal Guest Conductor of the HNK Zajk opera company in Rijeka (2014-2020), and the Artistic Director of the Turku Music Festival (2016-2018). Matvejeff is as passionate opera lover who has conducted more than 50 stage productions. Besides Finnish orchestras, he has conducted regular guest performances at Göteborgsoperan, the Malmö Opera, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra, and the Duisburg Philharmonic Orchestra. Matvejeff, who has studied at the Sibelius Academy and the Espoo Music Institute, is also known for his prowess as a composer and pianist, as well as his innovative repertoire planning. He most recently conducted the Orchestra of the Finnish National Opera in 2015.