Mixed-Art Association Poike            PRESS RELEASE

in cooperation with                          10th Sept. 2014

Pori Opera,

Pori Sinfonietta,

Turku International Puppetry Connection,

and Puppet Theatre Association Nukkero

Pori, Finland                       




Jouni Kaipainen composes and Anna Ivanova-Brashinskaya directs the first large-scale puppet theatre opera in the Nordic Countries for Pori Sinfonietta and Pori Opera.

Puppet Theatre Opera about Talent and Responsibility

At first, there was the shared dream of a performance with puppets and puppeteers playing on the stage together with opera singers, a choir, and an orchestra. Secondly, there was the Pori Branch Office of the Finnish Arts Promotion Centre with its focus on puppet theatre in the region. Thirdly, there were encouraging experiences of cross-artistic cooperation from earlier years.

Roosa Halme, Regional Artist in Puppet Theatre, connected puppetry artists based in Turku and Pori with Pori Opera and the city orchestra Pori Sinfonietta, of which the last two already had a long history of partnership. Mixed-Art Association Poike that specializes in cross-artistic and cross-regional projects joined the team to coordinate the co-production.

The ambitious aim set was to produce a full-scale puppet theatre opera with new music and a new story. Anna Ivanova-Brashinskaya, the primus-motor of Turku puppetry art and education was appointed as the director. Mikhail Brashinsky, the Russian screenwriter and film director, set out to write the opera libretto.

Ivanova-Brashinskaya draws her inspiration from old fairy-tales. The source material for the new project Halewyn (working title) is the novella by the Flemish 19th century writer Charles de Coster, who, in turn, based his story on a medieval legend. The story includes human and supernatural characters singing through the happiest, most desperate and intimate moments of their lives.

After a selective call for entries and a jury round, composer Jouni Kaipainen was invited to write the commissioned opera composition. His colourful style, remarkable repertoire, and ability to compose for the singers were chosen to enrich the opera’s magical world.

Pori Sinfonietta will premiere the opera with its principal conductor Jan Söderblom. Viktor Antonov, the world-renowned puppet theater designer and performer, known for his magical trick-puppets, will design the opera puppets and the set. Turku-based puppet theatre association T.I.P.-Connection is taking part in the international cooperation with Russian artists. The puppet theatre opera will be produced by producer Heli Latvala from Pori Opera and producer Tuuli Penttinen-Lampisuo from Poike.

Educational programme

The puppet theatre opera plan has grown into a project that incorporates audience participation and school cooperation. As the artistic work progresses, the aim is to share experiences of making puppet theatre opera and to share knowledge of combining the interfaces of puppet theatre and music. The Regional Puppet Theatre Association Nukkero is also participating in the project.

The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Pori is the main financer of the puppet theatre opera and it will provide an educational programme for children at the local Swedish School and Kindergarten in Pori. In November 2014, the first Master Class in Puppetry and Music will take place at Palmgren Conservatoire. The Master Class includes workshops for students and professionals, as well as an open seminar.

In addition to Swedish Cultural Foundation in Pori, the puppet theatre opera project has received support from the Ministry of Education and Culture in Finland, the Arts Promotion Centre’s Pori Branch Office, and from the Finnish Cultural Foundation’s Satakunta fund. Additional funding is currently being solicited.

Premiere 2016

The development of the puppet theatre opera started in 2013. Preproduction phase takes place during 2014–2015. The planned premiere will highlight composer Jouni Kaipainen’s 60th anniversary in 2016.


Download press images from DropboxPhotos by Meri Mäkinen / Kallo Works.


For more information and interview requests concerning the puppet opera, please contact:

Tuuli Penttinen-Lampisuo


+358 (0)50 535 8916

tuuli (at) poike.fi



For information about the Regional Puppet Theatre Association Nukkero, please contact:

Liisa Ekqvist

Puppet Theatre Artist

+358 (0)44 2709809

liisa (at) gallerialiisaekqvist.fi