12 July 2016

Moomins at the theatre: Finnish National Opera 1974 – Moomin opera

The third part of the Moomins at the theatre stories will focus on the Finnish National Operas Moomin Opera from 1974. Earlier we already told you about the Mumintrollet och kometen and Troll i kulisserna plays. The Moomins at the theatre exhibition is open until the summer of 2017 at the Helsinki Theatre Museum at the Cable Factory.

Moomin opera

At the time when Tove Jansson started working at the National Opera in Finland, the Moomins had already made a worldwide success. Almost all Moomin books were already published, and translated into 20 different languages and appeared in up to 40 different countries.

The Moomin opera started from the initiative of composer Ilkka Kuusisto. He had seen the previous plays and immediately contacted Tove Jansson about a possible collaboration, and only shortly afterwards Tove started writing a libretto. The story of the Moomin opera was the same as Troll i kulisserna written in a opera format. In the opera, however, the whole Moomin family was present.

Tove Jansson’s archive,
© Moomin Characters™

In the Moomin opera an underwater volcano causes a flood in the Moominvalley, forcing the Moomin family to flee and eventually find shelter at the opera. Here the family starts pursuing the art of the opera. It turns out that the Fillyjonks housemaid Misabel is a real opera star.

The opera was musically very versatile and Ilkka Kuusisto made in addition to the classical children’s opera also oratorio songs, operetts and even electronic dance music.

The Moomin opera was directed and choreographed by Heikki Värtsi, and the backdrop was designed by Thomas Gripenberg. The big heads of the Moomins were kept on during the performance, as this time they were designed for singing so there wouldn’t be a problem with the sound.

The Moomin opera aired for the first time in December 1974. The critics were not fully convinced, but the children loved seeing the characters live on stage. The opera was shown 34 times, and around 15000 people got to see it.


Text: Theatre Museum
Poster: Tove Jansson’s archive, © Moomin Characters™
Booklet: Theatre museum’s archive

Find out more about the Moomin opera and other theatre works by Tove Jansson at the exhibition Moomins at the theatre.

Theatre Museum
Cable Factory,
Tallberginkatu 1 G, Helsinki

Tue, Thu−Sun 11 am − 6 pm
Wed 11 am − 8 pm
Exceptions to the opening hours

Tickets: 6/8 €

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