Wäinö Sola

Wäinö Sola is a Finnish tenor who lived from 1883 (January 8) to 1961 (October 12th). Sola was also one of the founder of the Finnish Opera. Sola had his first stage experience at he age of 15 in the choir and drama club of the Kilpi Temperance Society. Sola was soon invited to participate in other stage activities in a semi-professional activity capacity. In 1903 the author Jalmari Finne asked him to join a theatrical company, he was founding in Viborg. This company presented plays, operettas and operas. After a near fiasco as Canio with John Forsell as Tonio, Sola decided he needed more training. Sola studied with Ettore Gandolfi in Berlin in1908. Sola debuted in a concert in Helsinki on December 9th 1908 with Oskar Merikanto at the piano. Sola continued his studies in Berlin (1909-10), Paris (1910) and Milano (1911). In 1911, Sola founded with Merikanto, Eino Rautavaara, and William Hammar the first regular Opera Company in Finland. The opening night was on October 2nd 1911 with Pagliacci and Cavalleria Rusticana. Sola sang both tenor roles. In 1916, Sola spent time in prison for his role in the underground independence movement. The Russian revolution got him out of jail. From 1920, Sola held with the company regular positions both as tenor and stage director until his retirement in 1949. Sola appeared in more than 100 operas and operettas. Sola also continued his career as concert singer, promoting the songs of Merikanto, Kuula and Sibelius. Sola appeared in hundreds of recitals and made four tours of the United States. Sola started recording in 1909 with Pathé. In 1919, Sola recorded with the Gramophone Company. He made close to 100 sides with them. During his visits in the US, Sola recorded with Columbia and Victor. In 1944, Sola recorded for the last time with the Rytmi label. Sola recorded an aria of the opera Nummisuutarit by Emil Kauppi. The premiere of that work was of a fiasco. Apparently Kauppi disappeared forever as a result. He is thought to have drowned himself.

The Finnish Broadcasting Company published a CD of Sola's recordings from 1909 to 1944. The CD contains 24 items. Three are operatic: Pagliacci (Vesti la giubba), Cavalleria Rusticana (Vina il vino) and Esko's monologue from the ill fated Nummisuutarit. The rest are songs by Merikanto, Kauppi, Kotilainen, Kuula, Melartin, Maasalo, Järnefelt, Rubinstein, Nisonen, Arne, Tosti, and Ikonen. The voice is good. Particularly excellent and a new discovery for me are the Finnish songs. I liked very much the ones by Kauppi and Merikanto. This CD is recommended. We must thank the Finnish Broadcasting Company to have reissued Sola's recordings.

The CD (FUGA 9096) is available from:

Fuga
Mannerheimintie 68
FIN-00260 Helsinki
Finland
Fax: 3589 7001 8252

I wish to thank Pekka Gronow to have introduced me to Sola.

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