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 operavision.eu, which offers online content from 29 European companies, all free of charge.

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