Björk booked for open-air gig at Helsinki Festival
Radu Lupu, Berlin Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle get 40th festival off to a spring start
This year's Helsinki Festival, the fortieth holding of the event, will spread out somewhat beyond the normal fortnight in August. ¨
Things actually get started very soon, with a recital by the acclaimed Romanian pianist Radu Lupu in Finlandia Hall next Monday. Perhaps surprisingly, it will be the 62-year-old's début solo recital in this country.
On May 5th, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra will be in town at the same venue, in a sold out concert under Sir Simon Rattle.
Before the festival proper gets going on August 15th, another big draw will be the arrival of Icelandic vocalist Björk, also making her first appearance in the capital.
Björk expressed a specific wish to perform outdoors, and the chosen location is a new one for audiences: the Finlandia Park, close to the concert hall on the shores of Töölönlahti.
Basically the Björk concert - set for Thursday July 10th - will be a kind of test-run of the venue's suitability for this kind of event, and it is very likely that the area will come to be used for similar special concerts in future.
It has a great central location, and the immediate proximity of Finlandia Hall allows for much better backstage facilities than for instance in the Kaivopusto Park, where big outdoor concerts are often held.
Björk was to have appeared at the 2000 Helsinki Festival, but was forced to cancel the gig. She has played in Finland before at Ruisrock (1998) and Pori Jazz (1996), and also performed as part of The Sugarcubes at Provinssirock in 1989.
The actual Helsinki Festival runs from August 15th to 31st, and the Director Risto Nieminen was at pains to point out that the "sprawl" outside of the normal schedule was to some extent a coincidence: with an outfit like the Berlin Philharmonic, it is not exactly politic to tell them when they can and cannot come to Helsinki.
This year's budget is around EUR 4 million, and the programme contains an eclectic mix of classical music, light music concerts in the big Huvila marquee, and dance, theatre, circus, and cinema.
The annual Night of the Arts, spreading all over town, will be held on Friday 22nd August.
The full programme can be read from the link below.
Helsinki Festival 2008