Festival of opera art in Savonlinna is the most known international cultural event to Finland and one of popular events for tourists. Its feature is the bright performances and concerts which pass in a medieval fortress of Olavinlin near the epic landscapes of lake-land Sajmaa.
The festival conducts its history since 1912, but it became annual only in 1967 and now it is included into ten opera festivals of the world. Last year about 61 000 spectators visited Savolinna opera festivals, 10 % from them were foreigners and 2 % were Russian.
Today the small idyllic town Savonlinna with the population of 28 000 people has got reputation of the bohemian center where within the limits of opera festival exhibitions, performances, evening receptions, presentations are held. For example, on the way to a fortress journalists have visited the opening of an exhibition of the modern Finnish artists.
Similar cozy galleries of great variety are scattered around the city. Expositions are arranged even in specialized shops of arts and crafts, as, for example, an exhibition of known Finnish fashion designer Jukki Rintal in Kenkavero.
In front of the fortress the regional museum of local lore offering the whole galaxy of the most interesting thematic exhibitions has successfully taken place. In days of festival expositions “the Lion and the Eagle” (Finland in Independent Grand duchy) worked. And still the museum has the largest museum fleet of lake Finland, therefore from mooring Riihisaari it is possible to make a sightseeing tour accompanied by the guide.
The auditorium of opera festival is equipped in a unique medieval court yard of the fortress and possesses excellent acoustics. Organizers compensate insufficient depth of scenic space by its width and unusual effects. Anyway, the musical show within the precincts of a fortress leaves strong impression.
After performance many spectators go for a walk across Saimaa on nice boats where “chew” – both literally and figuratively – the received impressions. There is a two-hour walk with a supper about 30 euros a person.
Today for the fans of opera art special pages are placed on the web-site operafestival.fi: besides the cultural program there is an information about hotel and other services.
According to statistics, the frontier region of Finland is popular among tourists, but it is loaded non-uniformly because of lack of the information on tourist possibilities, for example, by the same Savonlinna or Mikkeli.
Local authorities stake on Opera festival and expect deficiency of hotel places. The next three years in Savonlinna there will be constructed about 1600 places and on this is required more than 100 million euro. Basically, it there will be high-class cottages which will concentrate in four hotel complexes.