in Reviews

The unspoken between mother and daughter

by Anna Pulkkis

"It's more about words than action, and, musically, more about continuity than sharp contrasts. Fagerlund's music is charged with eruptive energy, and provides a dark and sorrowful autumnal setting for the characters' emotional struggles."

Sebastian Fagerlund's opera Höstsonaten (Autumn Sonata) premiered at the Finnish National Opera in September 2017. The BIS recording uses material from three performances. Gunilla Hemming's libretto, based on a screenplay by Ingmar Bergman, shows the relation between a mother and an adult daughter in a merciless light. During the two-hour opera, unspoken issues come to the surface and lead to a bitter confrontation. It's more about words than action, and, musically, more about continuity than sharp contrasts. Fagerlund's music is charged with eruptive energy, however, and provides a dark and sorrowful autumnal setting for the characters' emotional struggles. Anne-Sofie von Otter is impressive in the role of the pianist mother, who has the choir as her audience, while Helena Juntunen as the mentally handicapped other daughter has the most fascinating vocal part.

FAGERLUND: Höstsonaten
Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano), Erika Sunnegårdh (soprano), Tommi Hakala (barytone), Helena Juntunen (soprano), Nicholas Söderlund (bass), Chorus and Orchestra of the Finnish National Opera, cond. John Storgårds.

BIS-2357