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INNOCENCE (Saariaho) San Francisco CA 2024 Lilian Farahani, Rod Gilfry. Miles Mykkanen, Ruxandra Donose, Kristinn Sigmundsson

Information on the Performance
Information about the Recording
  • Published by: San Francisco Opera  
  • Date Published: 2024  
  • Format: Streaming
  • Quality Video: 4 Audio:4
  • Subtitles: yessubs, ensubs  
  • This Recording is NOT AVAILABLE from a proper commercial or public source

Innocence is an opera in five acts by the Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho. The libretto was written in Finnish by Sofi Oksanen and translated/adapted by Aleksi Barrière.

The opera was co-commissioned by the Aix-en-Provence Festival, the Dutch National Opera, the Finnish National Opera, and the San Francisco Opera. It received its world premiere on 3 July 2021 at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, conducted by Susanna Mälkki and directed by Simon Stone.
The opera tells the intertwined stories of a wedding in 2000s Helsinki and a school shooting ten years prior, and has been described as a thriller.

The opera, set in 21st century Helsinki, tells the intertwined stories of the wedding of Tuomas and Stela and a school shooting ten years prior. Before long, it is revealed that the shooter, who has recently been released, was Tuomas’s brother. The family has kept the events from Stela, however, wishing to distance themselves from the event. Tereza, a waitress who was called to work the wedding at the last minute, overhears a conversation about Tuomas’s brother; she is the mother of one of the shooting victims, Markéta, who appears throughout the opera as a ghost.

The events of the wedding reception are interspersed with scenes from the school, narrated by the teacher. While all the characters at the wedding are cast as opera singers, the surviving students are all “musical actors”, separating them into what Saariaho and Oksanen refer to as “the realm of memories”. Throughout the opera, the involvement of the surviving students and of Tuomas in the tragedy is explored, making it clear that none is wholly innocent. The shooter is never represented onstage, however, with the opera instead focusing on the aftermath of the tragedy and its effect on the victims.

Tereza eventually breaks her silence, lashing out at Tuomas’s mother and demanding an explanation. The family is then forced to explain the tragedy to Stela, who, to their surprise, is prepared to forgive Tuomas. Tuomas, however, explains that he feels personally responsible for the tragedy and unable to escape his past, and so decides to leave Stela. The opera concludes with Markéta singing to Tereza plaintively, comforting her and asking her to move on.

Quoted from Wikipedia

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