Finnishing the opera

Karita Mattila celebrates a toilet paper purchase

The opera world’s most innovative pandemic response comes from the Finnish National Opera, which quickly pivoted from a planned season-opening production of Richard Wagner’s Die Walküre to Covid fan tutte, a topical adaptation of Mozart’s Così fan tutte written, rehearsed, and performed in less than six months. It begins with the overture to Die Walküre, which is interrupted by a Finnish National Opera official who instructs the company to perform something smaller — suitable for social distancing. The new text proceeds to satirize social isolation, travel restrictions, and a confusing government response to the situation. Famed Finnish soprano Karita Mattila stars as a parody of herself, a globe-trotting diva who’s suddenly stuck in Helsinki playing Despina. Covid fan tutte is now available to view at, which offers online content from 29 European companies, all free of charge.

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