heaven and hell


Screening times will be announced during spring 2021.

HEAVEN AND HELL is a documentary about conductor and
composer Kari Tikka. In the documentary we follow the completion of Kari Tikka’s
latest opera “Love is Strong as Death” and we also look into the stages of his
55-year career as an artist. The documentary portrays a strong, music-devoted
artist who possesses an unyielding and warm-hearted personality. Kari Tikka is
a fighter who managed to complete the production of his latest opera in time
for the premiere date in October 2020, despite the obstacles brought by COVID-19
and battling off serious illnesses.

Filming of the documentary began in 2020 and the work
will be completed during the spring of 2021, in time to celebrate Kari Tika’s
75th birthday. The premiere of the documentary will be held in the summer of
2021, taking into consideration the current COVID-19 restrictions. In addition
to live showings, the documentary will be featured online utilising the
LiveStage.fi platform.


We invite all societies and friends of Kari Tikka to participate in the joint birthday present for the award-winning conductor and composer; the artist documentary HEAVEN AND HELL about Kari. 

In order to finance the post-production and distribution phase of the documentary, we have launched a crowdfunding campaign. Through this campaign it is possible to support the completion of the film and leave an everlasting congratulatory memory for Kari Tikka.

Check out the crowdfunding campaign HERE!


The documentary HEAVEN AND HELL tells the story of 75-year-old Kari Tikka’s lifework as the conductor of the National Opera, founder and conductor of the Vivo Youth Orchestra, artistic director of the Organ Night and Aria summer festival and composer of six operas.

Kari Tika’s career as a conductor began at an early age, when at the age of 23 in 1973 he got a permanent position at the Finnish National Opera, which at that time was at the Alexander Theatre. In the documentary, Kari Tikka returns to the stage of his youth when his latest opera “Love is Strong as Death” premieres October 2020 at the Alexander Theatre. However, the completion of the opera threatens to be prevented when Kari Tikka faces a serious illness. However, the difficulties are overcome, the composer himself acts as the conductor and the opera premieres just before the new corona restrictions come into force.

The Finnish school SYK became an important part of the young Kari Tikka’s path when getting acquainted with the music industry and wind instruments. An encouraging teacher sent him to America for a music camp in which he got to play with a large orchestra, and this was a tremendous experience for the young boy. His own instrument is first a trumpet and then an oboe, which Kari goes to study in East Germany. The Sibelius Academy is a natural continuation for students interested in the music industry and it was here that Kari started studying to become a conductor and composer under Joonas Kokkonen and Eino-Juhani Rautavaara. His first marriage, which took place at a young age ends in divorce and the conductor plunges into a deep personal crisis followed by a serious car crash. These events pushed the young artist to rethink his life values. He finds a strong faith in the guidance of God and a new wife, Eeva. Life gets a new direction.

The documentary reminds us of the time when the National Opera in 1993 moved from the Alexander Theater to a new handsome building on Mannerheim’s Road. The smaller stage gets swapped to a huge stage, the 40-member orchestra turns into an orchestra of one hundred players and the audience capacity is boosted to over a thousand. Kari Tikka continues as the conductor in the new opera until 2011 and conducts numerous operas and ballets. The conductor’s and orchestra’s concert visits to the countries of the former Soviet Union at a time when several of its countries became independent are etched in history. Tikka was present when Georgia seceded, then Estonia, Lithuania and Serbia. There were tanks on the streets, as well as armed soldiers. When the Berlin Wall was torn down, Kari Tikka was on a conductor visit there as well and when the opera company goes on a visit to the USA with an opera about Luther, the twin towers are destroyed and access to the country is almost impossible. Eventually, the opera was performed in Minneapolis.

Dokumentin lopussa Kari Tikka pohtii kuolemaa ja kertoo valmistautumisestaan siihen. Lääkäri antaa kuitenkin positiivisen lausunnon: ei olekaan vielä aika järjestää hautajaisia, vaan ryhtyä vaimon kanssa suunnittelemaan yhteisiä 150 v. syntymäpäiväjuhlia hääpäiväksi toukokuussa 2021. ”Elämä voittaa!” riemuitsee päähenkilö. ”Ja kaikki kutsutaan, jos korona suo”.

At the end of the documentary, Kari Tikka reflects on death and talks about his preparations for it. However, the doctor makes a positive prediction: it is not yet time to have a funeral, but to start planning a joint 150th birthday party with his wife for his wedding day in May 2021. “Life wins!” rejoices the protagonist. “And all shall be invited, if covid permits.”


Screenplay and Directing: Riitta Rask
Cinematography: Tero Vihavainen
Editing: Maria Haipus
Sound Design: Christian Pulkkinen
Executive Producer: Kaisa Näreranta



Richard Wagners „Der Ring des Nibelungen“ für Kinder auf Grundlage der Kinderoper „Der Ring des Nibelungen“ der Bayreuther Festspiele 2018 in der Inszenierung von David Merz und im Bühnenbild von Julius Theodor Semmelmann mit freundlicher Genehmigung der Bayreuther Festspiele


Bayreuther Festspiele 2018
Wahner für Kinder – Der Ring des Nibelungen
© Bayreuther Festspiele / Enrico Nawrath

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