"the Crossing, a choir devoted to new music that makes some of the prettiest sounds you’ll ever hear."
- The New York Times
"Aniara is a bewitching musical rendition of the message of doom."
- Philly Life and Culture
"enigmatic, melismatic, and visually stunning"
- Broad Street Review
We came from Earth, from Maa,
the jewel in our solar system,
the only orb where Life obtained
a land of milk and honey
American composer Robert Maggio’s composition fills the Almi Hall stage with heavenly new music, virtuoso talent and disparate art forms, including 16 singers from the Grammy-winning chamber choir The Crossing, and Beijing Opera, which combines singing with physical movement.
Klockriketeaterns leader, director Dan Henriksson is also the librettist behind this holistic synthesis of the arts, based on Harry Martinson’s classic poem Aniara: A Review of Man in Time and Space. It dives deep into the poetic universe of the Nobel laureate author in the spirit of the original work, asking questions about freedom, responsibility and our contradictory love for each other and our planet.
MUSIC: Robert Maggio (USA)
LIBRETTO & DIRECTOR: Dan Henriksson (FIN)
CONDUCTOR: Donald Nally (USA)
COSTUMES: Erika Turunen (FIN)
VIDEO, LIGHTS. SET: Joonas Tikkanen (FIN)
SOUND DESIGN: Paul Vazquez (USA)
CHOREOGRAPHY: Antti Silvennoinen (FIN)
ON STAGE: Karen Blanchard, Rebecca Myers, Rebecca Siler, Katy Avery, Joanna Gates, Maren Montalbano, Rebecca Oehlers, Elisa Sutherland, Steven Bradshaw, Micah Dingler, Michael Jones, James Reese, Elijah Blaisdell, Dimitri German, Steven Hyder and Daniel Schwartz (The Crossing), actors Matti Raita & Carl Alm (Klockriketeatern), dancer Antti Silvennoinen (Wusheng Company) with four musicians (cello, clarinet, guitar, percussions)
The events take place in the distant future, after the new ice age. The technological prowess of humankind is at its peak, and interplanetary flights are commonplace. In spite of these advances, the era is defined by indifference and cruelty. Earth has been severely polluted by nuclear war and humans are escaping to the nearby planets of Venus and Mars. The luxurious spaceship Aniara is carrying 8,000 people towards Mars when it collides with a meteor. The ship veers off course and careens out of the solar system. Those traveling on Aniara face an eternal journey into the Lyra constellation.
The crew’s attempts to return Aniara on course are futile. The passengers slowly adapt to the new status quo, each in their own way. Different cults are formed to alleviate the anguish. The situation brings out the best and the worst of humanity. As Aniara glides through space, there’s an opportunity to ponder great philosophical questions. The AI creature Miima plays a central role, showing the passengers consoling images of Earth. Miima is venerated until a decisive turn of events changes everything. Both Miima and the Aniara community head toward destruction.
Klockriketeatern from Helsinki and The Crossing choir from Philadelphia fuse their talents in this choral-theatre production, which will premiere in Philadelphia on 20 June 2019. The Crossing is a critically acclaimed and multi-award-winning professional choir, famed for its open-minded attitude to art and the uncompromising quality of its performances. The Crossing tours extensively around the United States. In 2019, the choir will perform, amongst other venues, at Lincoln Center in New York and Walt Disney Music Hall in Los Angeles. Aniara: Fragments of Time and Space is its first performance in Finland.
The production also features the Wusheng Company, a Finnish group which specialises in Beijing Opera. The group’s founder and artistic director, Antti Silvennoinen, has a double role in Aniara as both choreographer and performer. The vibrant and clear soundscape of the science fiction inspired composition needed a visual setting to match. The exceptional look and feel of the stage with its multi-dimensional video projections is by Joonas Tikkanen. Erika Turunen, who’s created the costumes for the production, is one of Finland’s foremost designers in her field.
The inventor was himself completely dumbstruck
the day he found that one half of the mima he had invented -
lay beyond analysis
That the mima had invented half herself
In his book Rauhankone - Tekoälytutkijan testamentti (The Peace Machine - a testament of an artificial intelligence researcher) Professor Timo Honkela presents his concept of how artificial intelligence could help bring peace to the world. Honkela outlines how artificial intelligence, machine learning and other technologies could help people to understand each other.
Klockrikteatern’s artistic director Dan Henriksson and Honkela discuss Honkela's book The Peace Machine and possible connections between artificial intelligence and art. (Video in Finnish)
The literary scholar, Johan Wrede, tells about his meeting with Harry Martinson, a writer mainly interested in mapping the human predicament – and about Aniara, which is a work which is equally relevant today as it was 60 years ago.
“I remember the meeting with Harry Martinson very well. It was a big event to get to know such a fabulous, creative person.”
The literary scholar and emeritus professor in Swedish literature at the University of Helsinki, Johan Wrede, was given the opportunity to interview the writer, Harry Martinson, at the beginning of the 1960s, through his work on his thesis, The song about Aniara: studies in Harry Martinson’s world of thoughts.
In his writing about Martinson, Wrede starts by telling of the writer’s generosity: Martinson lived in Gnesta, and had provided Wrede with detailed directions for his journey. Martinson had sent a taxi to pick up Wrede from the train station. After the interview, Wrede spent the night as a guest of Martinson and his wife at the time, Ingrid Lindcrantz (whom Martinson married after the marriage with Moa Martinson ended. Ed. note.).
"Aniara impresses with artistic width" — Egil Green, Östnyland, 20.9.2019
"A top choir is in town" — Wilhelm Kvist, HBL, 19.9.2019
"A shard of humanity travels into nothingness" — Lasse Garoff, Svenska YLE, 19.9.2019
"Aniara as musical composition also reflects our time" — Jussi Mattila, Savon Sanomat, 18.9.2019
"It is not possible to set a genre on Klockriketeatern’s Aniara, but it is definitely worth hearing" — Liisamaija Hautsalo, Helsingin Sanomat, 18.9.2019
Muziek kan er minstens evenveel toe doen als politiek — Anna Vermeulen, De Standaard 16.7.2019
America’s Most Astonishing Choir Hates Sounding Pretty — The New York Times
The bubble in the glass of God - Broad Street Review
The Crossing collaborates with Klockriketeatern, Wusheng Company, and Robert Maggio to create Aniara: fragments of time and space — Philly Life and Culture
Grammy-winning choir The Crossing premieres sci-fi theatrical performance — Peter Grimmins, WHYY
World premiere in Philadelphia, USA, June 20th 2019
European premiere in Haarlem, Netherlands, July 5th 2019
Premiere in Helsinki, September 17th 2019
Tue 17.9 | Wed 18.9 | Thu 19.9 | Fri 20.9 (7 pm) | Sat 21.9 (2 pm and 7 pm)
Presentation of the piece every night 5:45 pm, saturday also at 12:45 pm
Length: 1h 30 min, no intermission
Finnish National Opera, Almi Hall
Helsinginkatu 58, Helsinki
English, Synopsis in swedish and Finnish
Normal 42 € / pensioner 36 € / Students & unemployed 24 €
Tel: (09) 4030 2211 (Mon-Fri 10–18, Sat 12–18)