Sebastian Fagerlund – portrait of a composer from Europe in 2017

Composer Sebastian Fagerlund’s new opera Höstsonaten (Autumn Sonata) got its premiere at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet.

Composer Sebastian Fagerlund saw many years of work come to fruition when his new opera Höstsonaten (Autumn Sonata) got its world premiere at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet. 

The opera Höstsonaten is based on the screenplay for the eponymous film by Ingmar Bergman, released in 1978. Opera and cinema are very different forms of expression, and in fact the original screenplay underwent a considerable transformation en route to becoming a libretto. Fagerlund is full of praise for Gunilla Hemming about how well the libretto turned out. “The main thing with an opera libretto is that it must not have too much text, so that there is room for the music to convey events and emotions,” says Fagerlund.

Sebastian Fagerlund has a composer residency in Amsterdam, an opera premiere in Helsinki, commissions all over the world. An exploration of the work and music of Sebastian Fagerlund paints a portrait of a composer in Europe 2017: aiming high, probing deep, with a bold and open mind.’

Is Fagerlund at the top of his career now, or does he still have things on his bucket list? “I feel very fortunate to be able to choose what to do next and with whom. But I always feel that there’s so much more still to do. I mean in terms of composing and musical growth. With every new work, I set my sights higher. Hunger grows while eating, to quote a Finnish proverb.”