Helsinki says farewell and thank you to ‘Kristina’

Maria Ylipää and Robert Noack after the final performance - Photo: Niklas Tallqvist
Maria Ylipää and Robert Noack after the final performance – Photo: Niklas Tallqvist

The cast of Kristina från Duvemåla took to the stage at Helsinki’s Svenska Teatern for the final time yesterday afternoon, and the musical’s creators, Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Lars Rudolfsson were all there to watch, along with Görel Hanser and Anders Eljas.

Although none of the production team appeared on stage during the curtain calls, afterwards, Benny described the performance as: “Really, really good. The actors were still focused after 190 shows. And how the music worked between them and the orchestra, the dynamic has really developed a lot. They played with a full heart.”

Talking to Finnish newspaper Ilka-Sanomat, Björn said he considered Svenska Teatern to be a wonderful theatre and their production of Kristina world-class. He went on to say that he is very positive about possible future collaborations with the theatre.

Director Lars Rudolfsson felt saddened by the fact that the show has reached the end of its run. He said, “The team has been together since November 2011. People become friends and the show becomes your whole life.”

Lars has visited Svenska Teatern around 15 times since Kristina’s premiere on 29 February 2012.

Helen Sjöholm and Anders Ekborg, who portrayed Kristina and Karl Oskar in the original Swedish production, were also in the audience.

Anders told the Swedish-language Finnish newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet, that Kristina had changed his life and admitted that he had been moved to tears during yesterday’s show. Helen too said she had loved the performance, although noticed that some of the lyrics had changed somewhat.

The production’s assistant director, Maria Sid, flew to China after yesterday’s finale to begin work on a new musical project but has revealed that although she cannot say where or when, she does have plans to collaborate with Benny and Björn again in the future.

Now that the show is over the actors all have new roles to fulfil…

Maria Ylipää, (Kristina), is expecting her second child in the summer. She said that during her 15 months in the role, she learnt to feel safe on stage but that she had recently found it increasingly difficult to jump about as she could constantly feel her baby moving around. However, she did not consider it a bad thing that her baby had grown to the tones of Benny Andersson. She did not reveal her plans for after her maternity leave is over.

Robert Noack (Karl Oskar), said that the role had developed his voice and that he felt he had become a singer. His next show will be at Västmanlands Theatre in Vesterås.

Thanks! The message from the Svenska Teatern website

Oskar Nilsson (Robert), said he was grateful for the stage experience that Kristina had given him and couldn’t quite comprehend that it was all over. He said he felt empty and sad but will now move on to new work in Norrköping.

Birthe Wingren (Ulrika), said that emotions had run very high during the final performance. Birthe is a permanent member of Svenska Teatern’s ensemble and will perform next in the theatre’s musical production of The Jungle Book which opens in the autumn.

Kristina has had a huge impact on Svenska Teatern’s image and status as Sweden’s national stage in Finland. When the production opened it became a landmark in the theatre’s almost 150-year history.

Kristina reached out to a larger audience than ever before, (38 percent of everyone who saw the musical had never previously visited the Swedish Theatre), and the reviews and feedback from the audiences have been overwhelmingly positive. According to a recent survey Svenska Teatern has now become the fourth most famous cultural institution in Finland.

Theatre director Johan Storegård said: “It feels good when the theatre is doing well. Kristina‘s success has been a historic event. Nothing like this has ever been seen in Finland. We have put Svenska Teatern on the international map and strengthened the bridge to Sweden. It is difficult to stage a better musical,” he concluded.

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  • Great update about the final performance!
    I am so glad i Went twice to Helsinki to see it, a great cast and worth every penny!

  • Really great show. Helsinki itself was lovely and a place I’ll probably visit again as a result of going to see the show. Only disappointed that I only managed to see it once because of the timings of the shows. The fact that it was playing to nearly full houses for the whole run speaks volumes for the decision to show it there. Can we have it in full in the West End in Swedish? After all Krister Henriksson has done it with “Doktor Glass”. A different kettle of fish, I know, but oh how lovely it would be.

  • I agree totally with Adam and Alistair Thomas about the performance – and about Helsinki itself, which impressed me greatly. But I’m not sure about ‘Kristina’ internationally. The Helsinki show was the full version, running close to 4 hours (including interval). For me personally this didn’t seem a minute too long (‘How soon they pass, how soon they fly …’). But I’m a bit of a Kristina headcase: I’ve read (translations of) the Moberg books; owned the original Swedish CD set since the 1990s; seen the Albert Hall concert; and know every note and – though not a Swedish-speaker – every word. So, for me, it was easy to follow the story. Major surgery would be needed for West End or Broadway audiences. And, much as I would love to see it, I’m not sure there’s even a viable ‘fringe’ market. So, sadly, most of the world won’t know what it’s missing.

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