Aniara: fragments of time and space

August 30, 2023, Baltic Sea Festival, Berwaldhallen, Stockholm, Sweden
September 1, 2023, Temppeliaukio Church, Helsinki, Finland

June 20-23, 2019, Christ Church Neighborhood House, Philadelphia
July 3-4, 2019, Haarlem Choral Biennale, The Netherlands
September 17-21, 2019, The Finnish National Opera, Helsinki

A choral-theater work with The Crossing,
Helsinki’s Klockriketeatern,
and composer Robert Maggio.

Who are we? Where are we going?

I dreamt a life but forgot to exist

The last spaceship to leave a dying earth veers off course
and heads into eternity; her passengers are left to face
the emptiness within and without. Based on the epic poem
by Nobel Prize winner Harry Martinson, Aniara follows
the physical and emotional voyage of this group, headed
forever toward the constellation Lyra.

Combining theater and composed music, Aniara explores
the relationship between disparate practices and genres of art,
while asking questions about our relationship to one another,
to Earth, and to the passage of time. Sometimes cold and brutal,
at other times touching, it is a ruthlessly honest view
of human nature.


“We’re coming to suspect now that our drift
is even deeper than we first believed,
that knowledge is a blue naiveté
which with the insight needful to the purpose
assuming the Mystery to have a structure”


Aniara: Revisited

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Blogs from the team

Blog updates from the creative team,
documenting the process
of building this production


The structural fragmentation presents interesting challenges to us as we navigate the through line of this 90-minute work. We are creating a series of snap-shots ... a meditation on our purpose.



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Aniara is a cosmic tale about humanity at the grand crossroads


Librettist and artistic director

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I want to make pieces that help me make sense of the chaos.
I want to make pieces that remind us of the wonder of the Earth, even as we threaten that wonder.
I want to make pieces that allow me to see the world, and my emotional reactions to it, with greater clarity.
I want to make pieces that allow me to understand those emotions.

Aniara is doing – will do – these things.


Conductor and artistic director

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​Logbook – read archived blog posts ​Read archived posts

The Team

learn more about the creative partners
in this ambitious project

About the Team


“Catching the dewdrop
and reflecting the cosmos”


Text and Libretto

Dan Henriksson discusses Harry Martinson’s 1956
poem and our contemporary adaptation. With readings
from Klockriketeatern actor Matti Raita


Composing the Music

Composer Rob Maggio discusses the score
for Aniara, setting text from
Dan Henriksson’s libretto, and writing
for The Crossing


Production Design

Designer Joonas Tikkanen discusses
concepts behind the visual and scenic design,
focusing on the three core elements:
kinetic lights, video projections, and organic material.


“When we dance the Yurg it’s evident
That everything Yurg is magnificent”



Dancer and Choreographer Antti Silvennoinen,
Artistic director of Wusheng Company,
discusses dancing, choreography for singers,
and the Chinese influences on his work


Costume Design

Costume Designer Erika Turunen
on the inspiration behind the
Aniara costumes


Christ Church Neighborhood House

Christ Church Neighborhood House is an arts
incubator that supports artists and audiences
by providing a platform for the creation and
presentation of new work; in addition to housing the
Christ Church Parish and Preservation Trust offices,
Neighborhood House serves a core constituency of cross-disciplinary performing artists
who imagine new and experimental works in their
120-seat theater. Our production will utilize the space
to create an intimate and immersive experience,
as we journey from Philadelphia to Lyra.


Major support for Aniara has been provided by

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

The Arts Promotion Center Finland

The American-Scandinavian Foundation

This engagement is supported in part by Mid Atlantic Arts through USArtists International, a program in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Trust for Mutual Understanding.