Finnish National Opera
“God dag, d’ä jag!” [Good day, it is I!] began Eino Rautavaara, launching into the prologue in I pagliacci, and soon the passionate music and exciting action captivated the capacity crowd, who sympathised with the fate of an artist as Väinö Sola sang “Skratta Pajazzo! Åt din krossade lycka.” [Laugh, O clown, at your crushed love!] and gasped as he killed Agnes Poschner’s character at the end. The evening featured everything that would continue to be played night after night on the opera stage: love, jealousy, death, human destinies and grand emotions. After the interval, Oskar Merikanto raised his baton again, and Aino Ackté took to the stage, every inch the diva. She acted with expansive gestures and great passion, and her voice, which had filled large metropolitan opera houses, was stunning in the tiny Alexander Theatre. The date was 2 October 1911, and this was the first performance ever staged by the Domestic Opera, featuring I pagliacci in Swedish and La Navarraise by Massenet in Finnish; the fledgling opera company was reaching out to all segments of Helsinki society.
Finland - Europe