Skip to Content
Total duration 45 min
With children
External venue
Performed in Finnish
Ihmepoika A, Mikko Sateila

Opera with professionals

The school opera Ihmepoika A (Wonder Boy A) is a production created jointly by pupils in lower-level comprehensive school and opera professionals. The lyrics are written by rap artist Karri Miettinen, aka Paleface, and music by Timo Hietala. The opera premiered in Almi Hall on 7 April 2017, and productions will be created at schools around Finland again from spring 2020.  Ihmepoika A is the seventh school opera project commissioned by the FNOB.

From spring 2020, the students can participate in projects all around Finland.

The best opera of the year 2017

ihmepoika_best opera

Award-winning opera for kids and teens

Ihmepoika A awarded the prize of best opera of the year 2017 in international Young Audiences Music Awards (YAMawards). YAMawards honours creativity and innovation in the field of musical productions for young audiences.

The judges looked at the quality of music and artistic material, the skill of performers, the degree of communication with the performers and the audiences, the revelance for young audience, the international touring potential and the quality of production’s staging.

The 8th YAMawards had 60 productions from 17 countries. Best opera award by JIM and RESEO.

Watch trailer (in Finnish)

Ihmepoika A, Riku Pelo, Saara Kiiveri

A lively story by Paleface

A small refugee boy loses his parents and ends up in Finland. His father once gave him a magic musical instrument that can stop time. At school, he comes up against a bully and Finnish prejudices. The school caretaker defends him, and the home economics teacher talks about the diversity of the world. But what happens when the school is threatened with closure? Does the caretaker have a crush on the home economics teacher? How will it all end?

Ihmepoika A is a lively story about the power of imagination and about never giving up hope. World music influences meet and mix with the aesthetics of opera and of rap music.


Ihmepoika A is the story of an unaccompanied underage asylum seeker who changes everything. The opera addresses issues such as prejudice and funding cuts. We also discuss whether we can exist without them. The moral is that without imagination nothing will ever happen.”

– Paleface

What is a school opera?

A school opera is an opera specifically designed to be produced at schools, with pupils in grades 5 and 6 working together with professional musicians and singers. The pupils will form the chorus and may have small solo roles. The production includes 2 or 3 professional singers, a pianist playing the part of the orchestra and a violinist from the local music institute.

At the preparatory stage, a group of 40 to 60 pupils explore the music and cast of the opera under a teacher’s guidance and do drama exercises. The director and pianist visit the school in advance to rehearse the music and make preparations for the staging.

Each participating school is given an extensive package of teaching materials. In addition to the class actually involved in the project, all other classes at the school can explore the project through assignments in various school subjects.

The dress rehearsal is performed to the school on the day of the performance, and the actual performance in the evening is for families and friends. The classes involved in the project market and sell tickets for the performances themselves and can keep the proceeds.

The cost to the school for the project is a fee of EUR 700. This covers the teaching material, an advance visit to the school, the artistic team’s fees for the day of the performance and the costumes and sets used in the performance. The project is available to all 5th and 6th grade classes. The teacher in charge does not have to be a music teacher, and the pupils do not have to be in a dedicated music class.

The FNOB has been producing school operas for 18 years. With Herman Rechberger’s Black Sabbath (2000), Markus Fagerudd’s Kerjäläiset (Beggars, 2003) and Sotajoulukuu (War December, 2007), Atso Almila’s Auringonkukkia (Sunflowers, 2009) and Jukka Linkola’s Hölmöläiset (The Dummies), more than 20,000 schoolchildren all over Finland have gained first-hand experience of staging and performing an opera.

Ihmepoika A

The FNOB has been producing school operas for 18 years. More than 20,000 schoolchildren from around 300 schools all over Finland have gained first-hand experience of staging and performing an opera.

Creative team

Timo Hietala
Riikka Oksanen
Sets, costumes
Anna Kontek


Guest soloist
Hedvig Paulig
Guest soloist
Petri Bäckström
Martin Segerstråle
Tuomas Juutilainen

Performances will be held at schools around Finland during the spring 2020, staged in auditoriums, at concert venues and at theatres. The schools sell tickets themselves; tickets for these performances cannot be bought at the FNOB box office. To find out about performances in your community, please e-mail us at tuula.jukola-nuorteva(at)