Kaija Saariaho's new opera Innocence makes its long-awaited UK debut

Kaija Saariaho's new opera Innocence makes its long-awaited UK debut
© Jean-Louis Fernandez

On April 17 the devastating new opera Innocence with music by Kaija Saariaho receives its UK premiere at the Royal Opera House. Libretto is by acclaimed novelist Sofi Oksanen with dramaturgy and translation by Finnish theatre director Aleksi Barrière.

Five performances take place through April and May. Tickets here

Innocence is directed by Simon Stone and conducted by Susanna Mälkki in her Royal Opera House debut.

Premiered at Aix-en-Provence Festival in July 2021 to critical acclaim ‘Kaija Saariaho’s grand yet restrained new opera about a tragedy and its reverberations is the most powerful work of her five-decade career’ states the NY Times. In October 2022 Innocence travelled to Finnish National Opera before its London debut in April 2023. Further performances in Autumn 2023 with Dutch National Opera and then the Summer of 2024 for San Francisco Opera are already confirmed.

Sofi Oksanen’s original Finnish libretto explores the legacy of a violent shooting at a school and the tragedy’s reverberations across the years. It deals with the wounds of the past, the passing of time, and the act of letting go. Innocence is sung across nine languages, the multilingual libretto is by Aleksi Barrière.

Watch a discussion between Kaija Saariaho, Sofi Oksanen and Aleksi Barrière from October 2022 at Finnish National Opera.


is a co-production of the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, the Finnish National Opera, the Royal Opera House in London, the Dutch National Opera, and the San Francisco Opera. In partnership with the Metropolitan Opera.

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