Adriana Mater

Kaija Saariaho – Amin Maalouf

War, rape – a child. Kaija Saariaho’s acclaimed opera Adriana Mater is a depiction of war from a woman’s perspective. What do you have to deal with when you have a child growing inside you, a child born of brutal violence?

‘At the heart of Norrlandsoperan’s production is the great love that will hopefully show the way to greater hope for us all.’


Reality is not black and white, director Dan Turdén reminds us. Alongside the harrowing subject matter is a theme that goes beyond all injustice: Adriana Mater is first and foremost an opera about love and hope. Despite the great masses of sound and pounding rhythms that depict war, the music beats with a heart motif that runs through the entire work. It is a life-affirming reminder of how two hearts beat simultaneously in the body of an expectant mother.

Ville Matvejeff, artistic director of the Opera Festival, conducted the successful premiere of Norrlandsoperan’s production in Umeå in 2023 and now brings it to Olavinlinna. The Swedish press praised Adriana Mater as a musical triumph.

‘I have long dreamed of performing Kaija’s opera at the Opera Festival – its thematic material and amazingly rich sound world suit the setting of Olavinlinna perfectly. We mourn Kaija’s passing deeply, but that makes it even more special to make these performances a tribute to her life’s work. Despite the dark subject matter, Adriana Mater’s music radiates a bright light, just like Kaija’s personality’, says Ville Matvejeff.

The performance is a visit by Norrlandsoperan.