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  • Writer's pictureShuniah House Books

Follow-Up: Veljeni Vartija

Thanks once again to LU Professor Emeritus Raija Warkentin, we've had the chance to see the program from the premiere of Veljani Vartija, an opera by Olli Kortekangas with libretto by Tuomas Parkkinen. Commissioned by the Tampera Opera, the opera is about a brother and sister who end up on opposing sides of the 1918 Finnish Civil War.

Our earlier post about the opera is here.

The printed program is mostly in Finnish, of course, with a helpful list of cast and the opera's events in English as well. The photos of sets are gorgeous and striking. The break between the second and third acts--the Intermission--occurs as the brother points a gun at the sister. What a difficult moment for the characters, who must yet again confront the question, "Am I my brother's keeper?"

It's interesting to see how artists find hopeful moments in brutal events like civil war. The opera ends with new life for which a character is now responsible. In SILENCES: A NOVEL OF THE 1918 FINNISH CIVIL WAR, adult characters must live knowing of their destructive actions. No matter what other life choices they make, for good or ill, they must eventually choose how they acknowledge the actions of the war to their descendants. In both cases, the next generations make their own choices about war, and about peace.

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