Cajanus a giant opera


On the 24th of July 2019, Cajanus – a giant opera had its Finnish première in Paltaniemi, Kajaani, the place of birth of the giant. The Giant’s story came full circle since the original premiere of the opera was performed in St. Bavo church in Haarlem, where Cajanus is buried. At the Eino Leino House the Dutch cast from Zangstudio Haarlem performed Egon Kracht and Hetty Heytings beautiful opera in the open air, alternately in Dutch and in Finnish language. Up to 80 Dutch and Finnish singers, actors, dancers from Kajaani Dance participated in this spectaculary show!

Vaara Kollektiivi, Zangstudio Haarlem and Vincent van den Elshout brought back the body of the giant to his parents. You could hear the church bells ringing from the church where Father preached.

The Finnish giant Daniel Cajanus. born in Finland in 1704, traveled through Europe to exhibit himself in Royal houses and on Faincy Fairs. He held various positions as bodyguard and worked as a soldier for King August in Poland. Via England and France he finally reached Amsterdam, where he was exhibited in the Menagerie, amidst all sorts of exotic animal species. When his health deteriorated, he bought himself in at the Proveniershuis in Haarlem, to be cared for until his death. He was buried in St. Bavo church in Haarlem. His funeral was a real attraction; the whole of Haarlem seems to have been on its feet to see the gigantic carriage.

Libretto  Hetty Heyting
Music  Egon Kracht
Director  Vincent van den Elshout
Choreographers  Nick Fleuren | Frank Beurskens
Conductor Jos Vermunt
Sound design Clare Gallagher
Costumes design Ankie van de Meerendonk
Decor/stage  Vincent van den Elshout | Michel van der Prijt
Light /technical equipment Immo Kajaus

Producer Veikko Leinonen
Production manager Petra Karvonen
Production assistent Juho Hannikainen
Publicity Sara Saxholm

Costumes Piki Paananen | Soile Savela | työryhmä
Stage managers  Immo Kajaus | Jani Tuhkanen | Valtteri Tauriainen | Raimo Leinonen | Pekka Moilanen | Juho Hannikainen

Surtitles and video registration  Kyösti Karttunen
Assistent director  Emma van den Elshout

Choir conductor Finland Eija-Riitta Airo
Choir conductor children Pekka Rytkönen | Eija-Riitta Airo
Choreographer Finland  Minna Palokangas
Correpetitors  Thijn Vermeulen | Pekka Partanen | Katriina Laakso


Piano Thijn Vermeulen
Violin Noortje Braat
Drums and percussion Freek Kroon
Bass Egon Kracht


Daniel Cajanus Michel Poels
Roelof Sweris / Jan Hendrik Metz Gerben Houba
Anna Metz / Cajanuksen äiti Petra Ehrismann
Wybrand Lolkes Kier Kes

Koopman Jeroen Staal
Stadsomroeper Lodewijk Bosch van Drakestein
Notaris Rob van Schie
Dokter Rogier Meulenberg
Dominee Juho Leppänen

Naaikransje ensemble

Marianne Habermann
Simonne van Hout
Willy Wennen
Maaike Verboom
Eija-Riitta Airo
Sirje Karttunen

Kajaani Dance

Aino Toivanen
Elmiina Tornikoski
Saimi Keränen
Saana Pyykkönen
Kaisa Komulainen
Sanni Tervonen
Venla Karppinen