Tero Saarinen‘s Wedge (2022) is a group choreography commissioned by the Finnish National Opera and Ballet. The creation premiered on 6 May, 2022 as a part of a Triple Bill celberating FNOB’s centenary year. In Wedge, set to the Cello Concerto (2017) by Esa-Pekka Salonen, dance, sound and light are wedged together in the interface between chaos and order, defencelessness and safety, and the experience of the transience of existence. Produced in collaboration with TSC, Wedge was interpreted by the Finnish National Ballet Company, featuring TSC dancers Oskari Kymäläinen and Saida Solla.


Esa-Pekka Salonen’s compositions often appear to include a certain innate invitation for choreographic and performative narrative levels. His cello concerto has wonderful dynamics and cinematic elements. Simultaneously earthy, powerfully intimate and carnal, it also comprises transcendental layers. To me, it tells a story and inspires choreographic thoughts. The approach and eventual encounter between two people is a typical starting point to me, which gradually evolves into a conversation between an individual and the community – and eventually gives rise to the entire work.

Wedge alludes to changing and renewing elements, but also the growing feel- ing of disintegration and insecurity. Something is always wedged in the moment of serenity, disrupting the illusion of balance. At the other extreme, we have the pursuit of trust, the community, and co-creation.

In Wedge, people are in a kind of a transitional space on the highway of eternity. We quickly reached a consensus with costumer designer Erika Turunen and set and lighting designer Joonas Tikkanen about a colour palette of a myriad shades of grey. With Erika we also wanted every costume to bear subtle echoes and hints of different decades. Some of the costumes are in fact recycled. Wherever we end up, we carry memories in our bodies and clothes. In the lighting design, too, the movement of light and the continuous reshaping of these kind of “light islands” emphasises the transient nature of life and existence.

It is wonderful to perform with the symphony orchestra of the Finnish National Opera. Live music with the added flavour, sound and personality of two cello soloists enhance the rich narrative with yet another powerful layer. Live music intensifies the authenticity and density of time and space.”

Tero Saarinen (edited by FNOB)

6 May 2022, Finnish National Opera and Ballet, Main Stage, Helsinki, Finland
Finnish National Opera and Ballet in collaboration with TSC

”Tero Saarinen and Esa-Pekka Salonen's Wedge had a wow factor -- soul-stirring coexistence of music and dance”

- Teatter & Tanssi + Sirkus (Finland)

”With constantly changing group formations -- Saarinen creates richly and freely flowing choreography”

- Rondo (Finland)

”A celebration of movement, visuals and lights -- Saarinen's Wedge listens to Esa-Pekka Salonen's Cello Concerto with respect -- Joonas Tikkanen’s wonderful lights open up the space as if there were parallel realities on stage”

- Helsingin Sanomat (Finland)

”A total work of art -- Choreographically, Wedge was massive -- the cast included 18 dancers, who constantly met and then parted ways, individually and as a group, in the multi-faceted weave of Saarinen's movement language.”

- Demokraatti (Finland)

Choreography Tero Saarinen
Music Esa-Pekka Salonen, Cello Concerto (2017)
Costume design Erika Turunen
Lighting and set design Joonas Tikkanen
Sound Design Timo Kurkikangas
Choreographer’s Assistants Satu Halttunen, David Scarantino
Repetiteur Samuel Števik (FNB)

Finnish National Ballet (14 dancers) featuring TSC dancers Oskari Kymäläinen and Saida Solla plus the Orchestra of the Finnish National Opera and Cellosoloist Samuli Peltonen / Jussi Vähälä

Photos: Finnish National Opera and Ballet / Sakari Viika