Outi Tarkiainen’s first opera “A Room of One’s Own” was premiered in Theater Hagen, Germany on 14 May. The opera is based on Virginia Woolf’s essay of the same name, which Tarkiainen came across while living in Berlin in 2014.
According to FMQ Magazine’s interview, Tarkiainen had been contemplating writing an opera for several years. The process took a more substantial shape after Theater Hagen contacted her with an opera proposal in autumn 2019.
Woolf's A Room of One’s Own (1929) is considered a classic work of feminist literature. The book which contemplates the role of women in society and their access to, for example, education and employment. The characters in Woolf’s essay are historical women, such as the 16th-century courtiers Mary Beaton and Mary Seton, and fictional characters such as Judith Shakespeare.
A Room of One’s Own “represents a new departure in Tarkiainen’s robustly progressing international career. Orchestral works form the core of her output, combining richly poetic tonal colour with multi-faceted textures and a profound inner power. On the other hand, she has also written several vocal works, so the transition to opera seemed a natural one, ” writes journalist Kimmo Korhonen in FMQ Magazine.
“I feel there is a dramatic arc in the opera. Act I sets the enigmatic mood. The women chat happily, but the mood grows gradually more serious. Act II is about history, with Judith Shakespeare as the central character. I feel that the way in which women outline logic and large forms is different from the masculine way. The culmination here is consciously masculine, perhaps excessively so,” Tarkiainen explains for FMQ.
Browse Outi Tarkiainen's works on Music Finland's core website.