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Estonian Sinfonietta celebrtes the 100th anniversary of Åland’s autonomy with international opera production

During 2021 and 2022 The Åland Islands will celebrate 100 years of autonomy. The celebrations will be starting on June 9, 2021 and last a whole year until it reaches its climax on it’s real birthday – 9th of June 2022.

For the anniversary of Åland’s autonomy composer from Iceland, Karólína Eiríksdóttir wrote an opera Lisbeta – Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Witch to Live Misogyny and Superstition. This is a musical celebration in which 17th-century women accused of witchcraft take power over the logic of hate rhetoric. For Åland's 100th anniversary of autonomy, we are giving Lisbeta and her sisters in woe a voice through a newly written, modern opera. A magpie’s laugh echoes across Sund as the parish priest and the new district judge, Nils Psilander, who just came from Dorpat with new books about judgment, rile up the locals to fear the unknown. Soon, seven women will be executed for a new crime: communing with the devil. Those seven are Lisbeta Skarp from Persnäs, Karin Persdotter from Emkarby, Maria Nilsdotter from Emkarby, Ebba Hindrichszon from Finby, Anna Bengtzdotter from Högbolstad, Ingeborg Olsdotter from Västansunda, Margreta Mårtensdotter from Norrby. Executed for the crimes the men of power dreamed up. Stripped of their rights, feared by their peers, for witchcraft notorious.

In opera participating Åland’s foremost opera singers: Sofie Asplund will play the role of Lisbeta; Philip Björkqvist will carry the role of Judge Psilander; Dan Karlström will be the priest, Kjellinus; Jenny Carlstedt will sing the role of Karin, the woman who was the first victim of the witch hunt; Therese Karlsson will portray the honorable Ebba. As Lisbeta’s husband, Per, we will get to hear Aarne Pelkonen. The most unexpected role as the magpie will be played by accordionist Veli Kujala.

The conductor of the opera is Anna-Maria Helsing. The opera performances will take place at Alandica Concert Hall in Mariehamn on July 15 (premiere), 16, and 17.

After performances Lisbeta, the Estonian Sinfonietta concert The Seasons takes place on July 18 at the Jomala Church in Åland. The audience can enjoy a diverse program consisting of seldomly heard music as well as traditional pieces in a completely new approach–the group of four violin concerti The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi is performed not only by solo violin but also other instruments of the orchestra. The evening ends with The Seasons Digest by Alexander Raskatov, which is based on The Seasons by Pyotr Tchaikovsky.

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