Max Savikangas (musical composition)

Juha-Pekka Hotinen and Teemu Mäki (script, visualization and direction)

The main theme of our opera is violence. Violence has numerous forms, some obvious and explicit, some structural, hard to recognize and difficult to measure. In our opera, we are not so much dealing with the obvious forms of violence, for example war and slavery. Instead, we are focusing on the violence that is hiding in the structures of economy and culture, and in our common patterns of thought and mechanisms of emotion. This structural, often invisible violence the widest-spread and the most influential branch of violence. The explicit bursts of violence are merely by-products of it.

One perspective into violence in our opera is political, even downright Marxist. According to it the main form of violence is the exploitation that is built into the structure of capitalist economy. This means that violence is first and foremost a utility tool – a means of gaining calculable profit.

Another perspective into violence in our opera is psychological, even downright psychoanalytical, according to which violence is first and foremost a form of sex drive or its sublimation. In this thinking it is thought that for the aggressor – and occasionally for the victim too – violence can be a end in itself, pleasurable as such.

Our opera asks: How do these various forms of and motivations for violence connect?

Our opera tries to be a truly multidisciplinary gesamtkunswerk, where various branches of expression (music, text, acts, acting, visuality etc.) are of equal importance. We present a vision of what opera as an art form could be like if it  gave up its traditional, hierarchical character, where everything is subordinated to music or to narrative.

Our opera is meant to be both deadly serious and hilarious. In spite of the possibly outrageous-sounding themes our work tries to be an anti-spectacle: it has no shock-effects, it is neither a thriller nor an Aristotelian drama. We meant it to have the feel of a poetic essay.

We are interested in touring with this production. An English version of the libretto is in preparation. We are also preparing a video version of the opera. Not a documentary of the stage version, but an autonomous video based on the same material as the stage version but not simulating it. The video will come in two versions: a single (video) channel version for screening and television purposes and a multichannel installation version suitable for gallery and museum spaces.

Other artist can try their hands on our material too: the script, the libretto and the sheet music are available for those willing to stage our opera without us.

About the authors:

Max Savikangas (1969–) is a Finnish composer and musician. He studied composition in the Sibelius Academy. His main instrument as a musician is viola. In addition to writing sheet and electronic music he has been active as a performing musician, both in the contemporary classical side and in the realm of improvised music.
Juha-Pekka Hotinen (1957–) is a Finnish theatre director and theorist. For many years was the lecturer of dramaturgy in Theatre Academy of Finland, but nowadays he works at YLE, the Finnish Broadcasting Company.
Teemu Mäki (1967–) is a Finnish artist (doctor of fine arts) active in various fields of art, philosophy and politics.

The performers:
Two singers: Tuukka Haapaniemi (bass), Susanna Tollet (alto)
A pianist: Ilmo Ranta
Four actors: Minna Harjuniemi, Seppo Merviä, Jukka Ruotsalainen and Miikka
Light design: Tuukka Törneblom

Duration: 110 minutes
Financial support: The City of Helsinki, Kiasma-theatre, LUSES (The Foundation for the Promotion of Finnish Music), The Finnish Cultural Foundation, Art Council of the Uusimaa Region
Production: Finnish Contemporary Theatre Museum, Kiasma-theatre.
Producer: Mirva Pulkkinen
Premiere: Kiasma-theatre October 6, 2005

(Photos of the Badminton-Opera on this page: © Petri Virtanen / KKA)


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