Yesterday evening, more than 15 years after Mamma Mia! first opened in London’s West End, Björn Ulvaeus, accompanied by his wife Lena, attended the premiere of the latest production of the musical at Helsinki’s Svenska Teatern.
As he arrived for the performance, Björn spoke of his astonishment at Mamma Mia!’s ongoing success: “It is very strange to be here when I think of ABBA’s early years, and what it was like. We never thought that our popularity would last more than one year, but we got 40!” he said.
The show was well received by last night’s theatre goers who were on their feet, singing and dancing throughout the finale. When Björn joined the cast on stage for a curtain call, he was met with rapturous applause. “This is such a fantastic production of which I am extremely proud,” he told the audience.
The critics too were unanimous in their praise for Mamma Mia!, many giving their review a full 5 star rating, with Mia Hafren and Lineah Svärd receiving particular acclaim in their roles of Donna and Sophie.
When Kristina från Duvemåla was staged at Svenska Teatern in 2012/13, it was seen by over 100,000 people, making it the most successful production in the theatre’s 150 year history. However, with advance ticket sales hitting almost 80,000 seats and its run now extended to the autumn of 2015, Mamma Mia! looks on course to leave Kristina från Duvemåla in its wake in terms of both audience size and box office receipts.
Although the production is in Swedish, as with Kristina, Airscript tablets with either English or Finnish sub-titles are available from the theatre.