Sights & Culture

Sarsuinmäki artillery batteries and the museum gun

A fort artillery battery part of the Salpa Line. The battery was completed in 1940, and at the time was the 30th fort artillery battery. The gun is a French gun of the make Canet with a 7 metre long gun barrel.

 

Savonlinna Opera Festivals

The birth of the Savonlinna Opera Festival ties in closely with the emerging Finnish identity and striving for independence at the beginning of the 20th century. Attending a nationalist meeting in Olavinlinna Castle in 1907, the Finnish soprano Aino Ackté, already famous at opera houses the world over and an ardent patriot, immediately spotted the potential of the castle as the venue for an opera festival. The first opera festival was held in 1912. Aino Ackté directed the festival for five summers, staging four Finnish operas. 

 

The only opera by a non-Finnish composer was Charles Gounod’s Faust, with Ackté herself in the leading female role of Marguerite. In 1917 the festival ran into difficulties because of First World War, Finnish Declaration of Independence and the ensuing Finnish Civil War. For fifty years, the opera festival was dormant, but in 1967, Savonlinna Music Days decided to organise an opera course for young singers. The high point of the course was a performance of Beethoven's Fidelio in the castle. Therefore 1967 is nowadays regarded as the start of the present Festival; since then it has had steady growth of both audience and reputation.

 

The Savonlinna Opera Festival has grown into an internationally recognised festival lasting a month. Each year it performs to a total audience of around 60,000, an estimated quarter of whom come from abroad. Each year the Festival has, in addition to staging leading works from classical operatic repertoire, staged its own productions. Savonlinna Opera Festival (Finnish: Savonlinnan oopperajuhlat) is held annually in the city of Savonlinna in Finland. The Festival takes place at the medieval Olavinlinna (St. Olaf's Castle), built in 1475. The castle is located amid spectacular lake scenery. Also rock / heavy concerts in the venue!