Finland’s leading opera company is the Finnish National Opera, in Helsinki. The home base of the Finnish National Opera, Helsinki’s Opera House, opened in 1993. The Opera House rests on the shores of Töölönlahti Bay and is owned by the state-run company, Senate Properties. The Finnish National Opera draws 250,000 visitors each year to its various productions. With nearly 300 operas, ballets and premiers each year, the Finnish National Opera has something to offer everyone.
The main auditorium of the Opera House features 1,350 seats. There is a second, smaller auditorium that seats up to 500 guests. More than 500 people are employed by the Opera House, including 19 soloists, a 113-piece orchestra and a choir of 60. Approximately 90 dancers from 17 countries are members of the Opera House’s ballet troupe.
Opera has a long and storied history in Finland. Regular opera performances began in Finland in the late 1800s. Kaarlo Bergbom founded the Finnish Opera in 1873. Unfortunately, the Finnish Opera was financially unstable and failed six years later. During its brief existence, the Finnish Opera gave 450 performances of 26 operas. The forerunner of today’s Finnish National Opera was the Domestic Opera, founded in 1911.
The Finnish National Opera does more than just showcase world-class performances. It also offers students a chance to study at the prestigious Finnish National Opera Ballet School. Nearly 200 pupils attended the school in 2010, with 25 of them planning on devoting their lives to ballet. Students are given a secondary education in addition to training in classical ballet. Graduates of the Finnish National Opera Ballet School will have earned a Vocational Qualification in Dance.
Helsinki Opera House on the map