Press conference of the production team for the "Indigo" opera

In the winter darkness, by the cold and extremely windy morning of the 11th of january 2016, the Finnish National Opera opened his doors to many journalists who came to the press conference on the premiere of an unusual opera, that combines classical traditions and rock music. Eicca Toppinen and Perttu Kivilaakso, who have composed "Indigo", flew the same evening to tour in Japan. Apparently that was the reason the meeting with journalists was scheduled so early.

In the bright and airy lobby, with a cup of coffee and pastries, members of the creative team of the opera "Indigo", talked about that controversial project. Alongside Apocalyptica, conductorJaakko Kuusisto, main cast singers Markus Nykänen, Marjukka Tepponen, Jaakko Kortekangas and others answered the journalists.

According to the artistic director of the National Opera Lilli Paasikivi, it's a new kind of opera, a compound of heavy metal and classical opera.

Lilli Paasikivi launched the concept of combining different styles of music at the festival in Pyhäniemi, during the summer of 2012, when the famous opera singer Karita Mattila, Apocalyptica and Lahti Symphony Orchestra were on stage together. The result impressed Paasikivi so much that she invited the members of Apocalyptic to write a full-fledged opera. Jaakko Kuusisto was invited to create the orchestration, as he already collaborated with the band.

"For the best sound, the orchestra need more than just a beautiful melody. This requires a multi-layered music. That was my mission to get the music to shine," - says Kuusisto. Although most of the music was registered as written by the three of them, Kuusisto does not consider himself one of the composers. All melodies came from the pen of Perttu Kivilaakso and Eicca Toppinen.

Indigo's music is written for a traditional symphony orchestra, without a rock band, drum set and electric guitar. although at the beginning, the creative team considered the idea of having Apocalyptica's members participating in the presentation along with the opera's orchestra.

According to Perttu Kivilaakso, his compositional task was to combine the traditions of classical opera to more rock music to create a fresh contemporary work, accessible even to skateboarders.

Members of Apocalyptica, who graduated at Sibelius Academy, are perfectly familiar with the classic examples of Opera.

"Many times I have cried on Verdi's tomb, listening to his music on headphones. I also visited the graves of Puccini, Wagner and other composers whose music touches me so deeply." - Said Perttu Kivilaakso.

Eicca Toppinen also cried while listening to opera in teenage. But, he admitted, out of boredom. He was understood the true spirit of the opera much later, working on such projects as "Wagner Reloaded" and the festival in Pyhäniemi.

Perttu Kivilaakso as a child was an avid fan of opera, because his father, also a cellist, played at the Savonlinna Opera Festival for 17 years. The music collection of Perttu contains thousands of recordings of classical operas.

For me this is really a culmination of my whole musical career. I dare say that my strong classical background also heard, said Kivilaakso.

Especially important for him was to take part in an opera tenor. That is why for the finale of the opera he composed a long duet of the two main characters - Daniel (Markus Nykänen) and Karl (Christian Juslin).

"I've always been a tenor freak and dreamed of tenor duel. The scene in the final lasts about fifteen minutes and was written under the influence of the opera "Othello" by Rossini. - Said Perttu Kivilaakso.

"The role of Daniel is one of the most important in the play, while Karl is an important but secondary character. Karl - an important character, which everyone is talking about during one hour and a half of action before he actually appears on the scene."

"Daniel's parts (played by Markus Nykänen) are beautiful and spelled out from the beginning to the end, while I just appear at the very end and do their dirty work!" - said Christian Juslin, who plays Karl.

"We were both forbidden to shave and cut hair. It has been especially difficult for me, who always had babyface-look", said Nykänen.

The role of the protagonist Aurelia is sung by Marjukka Tepponen, a young but already well-known opera singer, winner in opera competitions and participant of festivals over the years.

The libretto was written by Sami Parkkinen. The Sci-fi plot revolves around a new drug that is supposed to increase the effectiveness of human action, but provokes disastrous side effects. To counteract this, people resort to dangerous experiments that put human nature to an entirely new level, Indigo (hence the name). Thousands of people are killed, and someone has to sacrifice himself and to decide on a desperate salvating experiment.

"The whole team worked in such an united way that it's hard to tell who made a bigger contribution. The only thing I can say is my interpretation of this opera: it seems a modernized history of Faust. We are seeing the world choosing his way to developement, and at what price a person can sell their soul". - Said the director Vilppu Kiljunen.

Christian Juslin think at least that the work finds its audience. "I dno't think it addressed to the usual opera audience, but "Indigo" can certainly attract Apocalyptica fans also from abroad. At times, this is pure rock, that feeds the desire to either perform the opera again or create a similar operas in the same genre elsewhere."

Premiere of "Indigo" will take place on the stage of Finnish National Opera on the 22nd of January 2016.

We are thankful to Finnish National Opera and personally to Heli Rislakki for the accreditation.

Special thanks for the help to: Vordai Mercier.

Photo: Evgenia Melnikova, Risto Hyvarinen.

©, 2016

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