Riina Goes Inside the Opera

I recently visited Finland to visit my family. While we were there we also saw two operas which were the Magic Flute and Carmen. We saw them in Savonlinna’s Olavinlinna castle. Olavinlinna was founded in 1475 by a Danish knight called Erik Axelsson Tott. In 1714 the first challenge in ownership occurred when it came under Russian rule and it changed rule numerous times. The castle became a popular tourist attraction in the late 1800s and in 1912 the opera singer Aino Ackté created the opera festival in Olavinlinna.

Riina Tuomas Magic Flute stage

Fortunately we knew one of the soloists in the Magic Flute, so he took us around backstage to all of the dressing rooms and up ladders, down ladders and even through two windows, until we finally got to the place where I conducted an interview with the soloist.

Olavinlinna 1I interviewed Tuomas Pursio who’s preferred name is Purtsi. Tuomas has been singing ever since he was seven by joining a boy choir called Cantores Minores (little singers in Latin). When he was twelve he was one of the three boys in the Magic Flute. In his twenties he sang in the opera choir, singing in many operas. When he turned twenty-six his job as an opera soloist really started at the opera studio in Zurich, Germany. He did all of this whilst growing up in Helsinki.

Tuomas has played over 100 different characters but his favourites were Scarpia from Tosca, Umfortas from the Parcifal, Nick Shadow from Rake’s Progress, Méphistophélés from Faust and the Speaker/Old priest from the Magic Flute.

Tuomas is a bass-baritone which is the voice type between tenor and bass. He has sang in eleven different countries three are Germany, New Zealand and Italy and in 6 different languages three are Russian, German and French. His favourite composers are Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss and his favourite instruments are the English Horn and the Piano.

His favourite place to sing was in Germany, Bayreuth Festspielhaus (Bayreuth Festival Theatre), Bayreuth, in his opinion this had the best for the acoustics.

InterviewI really enjoyed both operas and the Magic Flute was very original. Tuomas’ performance was amazing.

Riina Huisman 6A

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