The popularity of opera and ballet in Finland increases every year. The most important annual event in the life of Finnish opera is the Savonlinna Opera Festival held in the medieval Olavinlinna Castle in Eastern Finland. However, the centre of music art is in the capital of the country - Helsinki, where the building of the Finnish National Opera is situated.
The Finnish National Opera was founded in 1911. The present building of the Opera had been built almost for 20 years, since 1993 the National Opera is housed in a beautiful long building of glass, wood and white granite. It is situated on the bay at a walking distance from the city centre, quality hotels and parks. The repertoire of the Opera includes 25 works each year, including seven operas and ballet premieres. Being the only professional opera company in Finland, it has rather hard task: to uphold a strong classical tradition and at the same time to promote the work of contemporary composers and choreographers. New operas and ballets regularly complement the classical repertoire.
Apart from the main stage, the studio stage (Almi Hall) plays an important role in the development of the field; it is particularly suited for experimental productions from jazz concerts to cabaret programmes and miniature operas. Almi Hall is also used for meetings and seminars when the performance programme allows. The Finnish National Opera has some 30 permanently engaged solo singers, a professional choir of 60 singers and its own orchestra of 120 members. The Ballet has 90 dancers from 17 countries. At all the opera has a staff of 735.