© Heikki Tuuli

Silvia and I

first performance
composition Markus Fagerudd
libretto Eppu Nuotio and Tiina Brännare
direction Tiina Brännare
Queen Elizabeth II Johanna Rusanen-Kartano, soprano
Queen Silvia Riikka Hakola, soprano
Charles, Prince of Wales Arttu Kataja, baritone
Queen Elizabeths II’s costume Sanni Tamminen
TampereRaw: Anna Angervo - violin, Elina Sipilä - cello, Janne Pesonen - clarinet, Ville Hautakangas - piano

The concert ends at about 20.15

Royalty entered my life in the 1960s, as my great-aunt followed the lives of the crowned heads of Europe as intensely as it was possible to do in the pre-Internet era. She had two shoeboxes full of documents of royal life in a cupboard, and no one was allowed to touch the press clippings therein without permission.

When TV finally arrived in small-town Finland, we were invited to royal weddings. On 19 June 1976, we had front-row seats when Miss Silvia Sommerlath was married to King Karl XVI Gustav of Sweden, and five years later we swooned over the nuptials of Diana Spencer and Prince Charles.

My great-aunt’s passion for royalty served as the inspiration for the opera Silvia and I. The idea of two queens having a night out together took decades to mature. Today, Europe is creaking at the seams and the world is in turmoil, and not even queens can stop it. While Shakespeare, a man of the people, took a grass-roots view at the foibles of monarchy, Tiina Brännare and I focused on queens. We have always enjoyed writing about women, turning the spotlight on them.

Silvia and I is structured like a typical girls’ night out: there’s chat and gossip, and finally the talk turns to the most difficult topics of all. Underneath all the chatter one can sense the obligations imposed by tradition and by our present age, the age of change: ancient institutions hanging in the balance.

Queen Elizabeth is 90 years old and has been on the throne for 65 years, with the weight of centuries of history on her shoulders. She if anyone deserves to have an opera written about her.

- Eppu Nuotio