Photo Marica Rosengård/2024                                            Photo  Rijks Musem library

- “I said somewhere that it was not enough to hear the music, but that it must also be seen.”
Igor Stravinsky, The poetics of music (1939) -

- Gubaidulina's music traces an impassioned commitment "to restore a sense of integrity" to both art and life. In this sense, her music is unabashedly re-ligious: it finds and binds the fissures which mark human solitude, with a brazen honesty rare in music even today. As she described herself, "I am a religious person... and by 'religion' I mean re-ligio, the re-tying of a bond... restoring the legato of life. Life divides man into many pieces. There is no weightier occupation than the recomposition of spiritual integrity through the composition of music." -

Music Stage Director Kristiina Helin studied acting at East15 Acting School in London, England during 1989-1991. During her final year, she was accepted to study with the  Odin Teatret, found by the legendary theatre director Jerzy Grotowski and decided to leave the school before graduating.  Engouraged by the Odin group,  she followed her intuition to work with the body and left to United States, Los Angeles to study butoh dance. Butoh was more than dance, it was a way of living.  After a year she was reccomended by her teacher to move to Japan and study  choreography with a Japanese butoh dancer Min Tanaka and his group. The work and the study at the Body Weather farm in Japan, turned out to be a turning point in her life. At the farm she also met a long time friend to be Lemi Ponifasio,  a choreographer and influencer of our time.

Returning to Finland in 1994, to the middle of regression and unemploiment she was drawn back to her youth passion, classical music and singing. By share need to survive she applied a job as an assistant director treinee   from Sibelius Academy opera faculty and got it.  She was trained to become an opera director by working as an assistant director in Sibelius Academy and later the Finnish National Opera. In year 2000 she found her own opera company Graal Opera and produced her first work as a stage director in collaboration with Mariinsky Opera Academy. Suprisingly the esthetics and surrealism of a very minimalist art form, butoh,  seemed to link with opera, at least in her own mind and imagination.

Kristiina Helin has worked as an independent artist, director, choreorgapher, videoart- and lately also a costume designer and co-producer close to 30 years. She has consistently sought out the margin instead of mainstream music theater, partly because  she found working with independent and original groups (and most of all, rare performing spaces) inspiring and revarding.

Within the past decade,  the collaboration with the Helsinki Baroque Orchestra and other independent orchestras, making concert visualisations and semistaged productions, have formed an increasingly important part of Helin’s work. She find’s the productions outside institutions essential for the healthy development of the art of opera and music theater, for her this is not a threat to traditional opera at opera houses, since they tell their own interesting stories, in their grandiose way. 

Helin has worked with the conductors of older generation like Esa-Pekka Salonen and Hannu Lintu, as well as with the young newcomer and influencer,  conductor Lorenzo Viotti. She’s  been collaborating with modern and inspiring  composers like the brittish Jamie Pui Ling Man.
Helin has been teaching at Sibelius Academy and in ENOA (European Network of Opera Academies)  and she’s a passionate recearcher of voice, psychology and spirituality. She has been working for Save the Children Finland to support and advocate the rights for women and children world wide. 


The teachers under whom I trained during the 1980’s and early 1990’s and to whom I’m much indebted to, have all been radical thinkers and critical of society to a point of what in their time was considered heretical. Jerzy Grotowski, the polish theater maker and founder of the “Poor Theater”, Min Tanaka, who’s teachings descended directly from Tatsumi Hijikata, the founder of Butoh (perhaps the most radical performance artist of his time), and my first spiritual teacher Jiddu Krishnamurti who, like the others, was self-taught. Krishnamurti, despite being against ‘spiritual leadership’, became a leading icon of freedom from conceptual thinking. Krishnamurti did not ridicule, but denied the world all together, the way we experience it.

They all had this in common: not to go along with the system but to wake up from the hypnosis of separation. During the work and study under the teachings of these remarkable beings, my experiences of shifts in perception were so revolutionary and striking, that they marked the life I was to live.

Opera-art can offer a wonderful platform to express, not only entertainment but the poetry of life, because it’s so surreal. The dialogue is slow, nobody speaks as slow as they do in opera. Opera is also a stage for extream contradictions like the highest skill in singing and innocent, non trained acting. Opera is  flexible to become theatre, meditation or installation. 

I’m wittnessing the coming of a form of opera, that is a syncronization of classical music, video- and sound art, artificial intelligence and performance art in a most unknowable way.  The combination is challenging  and the live performances very rarely  reaches the artistic standard I’m looking for.  The technigue is developing so fast that the performance  becomes a place for practise, not a result of well rehearsed work.

My mission as an artist,  is not to deliver the wonders of technigue, but to facilitate the flow of feelings connected to the body together with the awareness, to hold space for a moment of release. 


The main problem in Eastern philosophy (and nowadays also in IFS psychotheraphy that sees a person not one but multiple)  is so called “wrong identification”. In other words: we take ourselves to be something we are not. We feel we can disappear like objects. Things seem to exist on their own, without depending on awareness in any way. They seem to exist objectively and can be discovered and verified by separate “subjective” perceivers.

When we investigate objectivity and discover that it’s not to be found, we do not fall into its opposite, into subjectivity or solipsism. Instead, we become free from this pair of opposites. Non-dual experience is neither objective nor subjective. What happens is freedom from the very structures that enforce this distinction.

Through art I hope to explore ways to open the fleeting moments of clarity and expanding consciousness. I want to explore the absurd and unreasonable. I’m investigating how ones body and mind can hold interest in an invisible intensity of which seek the meaning and not the mere appearance. I hope to show the importance of the action of making art in order to stay in a constant movement of inquiry, avoiding the fall into pre-existing thought forms.



Tel. +316-16896774

Kristiina Helin © 2024