Saariaho’s Adriana Mater in San Francisco

Saariaho’s Adriana Mater in San Francisco
© Maarit Kytöharju

From June 8-11 director Peter Sellars and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra will present a new production of opera Adriana Mater by Kaija Saariaho. Set in a country on the brink of civil war, the opera explores the relationship between a mother and her son as they navigate a world rumbling with the threat of violence. Their gritty reality is offset by their hopes and dreams for a better future and as the music swells and recedes, the protagonists must decide between a life of revenge and one of forgiveness.

Saariaho died at her home in Paris on 2nd June and these performances provide an opportunity to pay tribute to her work described here by Peter Sellars: 

Kaija Saariaho’s music moves through the visible and invisible states of life and death, and, like life itself, flows back into life. It is a gift to invite audiences to experience one of her most personal and poignant works, Adriana Mater. Inspired by Amin Maalouf’s wise and challenging text, Kaija’s relentless intensity, hidden beauty, spiritual nourishment, and poetic regeneration are fully alive in this demanding and transcendent evening. It is the best way we know to remember her, call her back, and let her go again.
— Peter Sellars