Yesterday was the last performance of Höstsonaten - Autumn Sonata, composed by Sebastian Fagerlund, based on the film by Ingmar Bergman. The reviews had been good, but my expectations were not high. I'm not a particular fan of Bergman's, and I remember starting to watch the film on TV long ago and quitting soon overwhelmed by boredom. Fortunately I was proven wrong. It is certainly among the best new Finnish operas, easily on the same level as Kaija Saariaho, although very different.

But was it opera? It seemed to me more like an orchestra piece with drama, singers, and staging. A Finnish music blogger, whom I know to be a fairly recent opera enthusiast, was disturbed byt the expressiveness of the music and wished it had left more space for the psychological unfolding of the characters. As for me, I listened to the whole storm of sound with voices often melting completely with instruments, but when I wondered if it had been better without the staging and other parafernalia, the answer was no. It was good just the way it was.

As for the performers, the women were not only in more prominent roles, but also sang better, although Anne Sofie von Otter (as Charlotte Andergast), although obviously good, wasn't quite worth the hype - that's how it usually is. But maybe she just made a masterly performance of a tired artist?

Anyhow, it is a pity I can't recommend this. Just eight performances, it must have been expensive.