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Esa Ruuttunen and Craig Randal Johnson/Pine Mountain Music Festival

Ruuttunen to perform Monday

June 23, 2011
By ZACH KUKKONEN - Features Editor/DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - One of the lead singers in the upcoming "Rockland" opera will give a sneak peek of a few songs from the opera as well as other selections in a recital Monday.

Esa Ruuttunen, a well-known Finnish baritone, will perform along with pianist Craig Randal Johnson at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Portage Lake United Church in Houghton as part of the Pine Mountain Music Festival.

"He's a leading Finnish baritone as well as a lovely person," PMMF Executive Director Peter Van Pelt said. "He is also the artistic director that put on the old world 'Rockland' (in Finland recently)."

Ruuttunen sings the role of Alfred Laakso, the real person who wrote a first-hand account of the events in "Rockland," and Ruuttunen will perform three of Laakso's arias at the recital. He will also sing a number of other songs, including many by Finnish composers.

"There's a fair amount of Finnish music by Sibelius and others," Van Pelt said. "There are also two composers featured that aren't Finnish - Vaughn Williams and Mendelssohn."

Ruuttunen and Johnson performed a similar recital at Finn Grand Fest in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, last July, and it received rave reviews.

"The silky resonance of Ruuttunen's baritone, underscored by the luminous piano accompaniment of Johnson, was really moving," Candace Koski Janners, a PMMF trustee, said in a press release. "It was a stunning performance."

Van Pelt, among many others, is looking forward to Ruuttunen and Johnson's performance.

"I love this production," Van Pelt said. "Ruuttunen has a lovely voice."

For more information, visit the web at or call 888-309-7861. Tickets are available through the Rozsa Center Box Office, 877-746-3999 or at the door if space permits.



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