Juhani Nuorvala’s opera, FLASH FLASH, is a portrait of the American artist Andy Warhol – a lonely man surrounded by the masses. Warhol’s various existences – always scandalous – as a painter, filmmaker, media personality, and a thinker, crystallise many of the cultural and societal changes that characterise the most recent iteration of the Western cultural paradigm. Also insinuating their way into the picture are the United States and the Western way of life, along with their engine – consumerism. What in Warhol’s time was flamboyant fiction has become our reality.

FLASH FLASH is an incandescent requiem that encompasses – just as Warhol’s art does – serenity and passion, religious art and pornography, trash and diamonds. The opera depicts The Modern Man who flirts with destruction and death, and is incessantly desirous of big effects and ease, of voyeurism and cheap melodrama, of buying and selling – all presented in a gilded frame: the world of opera, or opera as the world.

The opera’s at once seductively melodious, yet also occasionally wholly pop-inflected pulse takes its beat from the rhythms and intonations of speech. Nuorvala utilises an unusual microtonal tuning system, known as just intonation to imbue the music with a fascinating sense of the unreal.

Composer Juhani Nuorvala´s and librettist Juha Siltanen’s FLASH FLASH is an exceptional opera. The opus was completed over a decade ago, but it will only now be premiered. Despite never being staged, the work has already achieved mythical status. Composers have been studying the score, the audience has been feverishly awaiting the debut; and finally, in February 2019, the opera, the stage and the audience will have their ultimate union.

Erik Söderblom directs. On stage at Musiikkitalo (the Helsinki Music Center) and at Espoo City Theatre we see the brilliant singers Tuuli Lindeberg, Varvara Merras-Häyrynen, Martti Anttila, Sampo Haapaniemi, David Hackston, and the masterful tap dancer Ari Kauppila. The NYKY Ensemble is conducted by Nils Schweckendiek.

Showtimes SAT 9.2. and SUN 10.2. at 17.00.

The performances continue at Espoo City Theatre, Revontuli Hall 13.­–16.2.

In English
Duration: 120 min