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12/12/2011 Winner of Seal script announced

Winner of Seal script announced

The story to serve as the basis for the libretto of the Savonlinna Opera Festival’s new children’s opera The Seal was chosen by means of a public online poll. Over 6,000 votes were cast in the poll lasting just under two weeks (November 21 – December 2). Four stories were shortlisted and the winner was that entitled “Snow and Climate Change” by pupils in grades 2-3 of the Helsinki European School. Their story took 40 per cent of the votes. The other shortlist candidates were “The Seal Opera” by Laukaan Kirkonkylä School, “Hijack to Happiness” by Pataluoto School in Joensuu, and “Liisa, the Seal, and an Underwater Adventure” by Arppe School in Kitee. These four stories were selected from a total of 78 entries by students - under the direction of their supervisor Jouko Heikkinen - specialising in arts and crafts in their teacher training at the Savonlinna campus of the University of Eastern Finland, together The Seal’s librettist Iida Hämeen-Anttila.

In the first few months of 2012 Iida Hämeen-Anttila will be turning the story by the Helsinki children about the adventures of a ringed seal called Snow and her friends into a workable libretto. The project will then mainly be handed over to composer Timo-Juhani Kyllönen.

The next stage in the Seal project for children in Finnish primary schools will begin in January, with a competition for the costume and stage designs important to the opera’s visual image and a poster design cometition organised by the project’s main partner, Fortum.

The Seal has its own website reporting (unfortunately in Finnish only) on any new developments,  and in March inviting people to vote for the best poster.

The Seal is the Savonlinna Opera Festival’s next children’s opera project and scheduled to be premiered in Olavinlinna Castle in the 2013 season. In planning the opera the Opera Festival is in contact with all Finnish junior schools, offering them a unique opportunity to take part in writing the libretto and suggesting its visualisation.

School classes and groups were invited to take part in a story competition for the libretto in autumn 2011 and now a visualisation competition in spring 2012. The latter will focus on the costumes and habitus of the leading characters, the stage designs and a poster for the opera. The third competition, in autumn 2012, will be launched in spring 2012.

The winners of each competition are being decided by a public online vote and the winning groups are invited to attend a school camp in Savonlinna on the ringed-seal theme. A production team of professionals (composer Timo-Juhani Kyllönen, librettist Iida Hämeen-Anttila and stage director Minna Vainikainen) will be responsible for the ultimate version of the opera, on the basis of the winning entries.

The Savonlinna Opera Festival will produce The Seal in collaboration with the teacher training unit of the Savonlinna campus of the University of Eastern Finland and the Savonlinna Teacher Training School (Normaalikoulu).

The main partner in the Seal project is Fortum, the partner is OP-Pohjola, and funds are also being provided by Sitra (The Finnish Innovation Fund).

Further info:

Eero Kovanen, schools’ Seal Project Manager, eero.kovanen@uef.fi tel. +358-40-548 4063
Olli Tuunanen, Savonlinna Opera Festival, olli.tuunanen@operafestival.fi,
tel. +358-50-5220 252

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