facebook pixel
SFO Innocence

Performances Begin June 1


By Kaija Saariaho, Sofi Oksanen and Aleksi Barrière



Kaija Saariaho

Original Finnish Libretto

Sofi Oksanen

Multilingual libretto

Aleksi Barrière


June 1-21, 2024


English, Finnish, Czech, Romanian, French, Swedish, German, Spanish and Greek


Starting at $26

Run Time

1 hour, 45 minutes (no intermission)

Healing at the Edge of Tragedy.

A joyous wedding celebration takes a shocking turn when the darkest of secrets is revealed and a young bride faces an impossible decision. 

Stela, Lilian Farahani, believes she’s found love with her new husband, played by Miles Mykkanen. But amid the joy of their wedding reception, a waitress recognizes the groom as the brother of a gunman in a school shooting ten years ago. And the bride doesn’t know.

Among the community of surviving students, teachers and families is the waitress, Ruxandra Donose, haunted by the memory of her slain daughter, ethereally rendered by Finnish multi-genre artist Vilma Jää.

Acclaimed by the New York Times as a “masterpiece,” Innocence takes us into the complex emotional journey of a group of people recovering from inconceivable trauma. In a gripping drama, the work of Kaija Saariaho, Sofi Oksanen and Aleksi Barrière unfolds a harrowing story of emotional shock and surprise in which our understanding of innocence and guilt is continually upended.

Saariaho’s score, rich in translucent textures, is an extraordinary arc from the raw and visceral, to the otherworldly in which time moves in altered states. Simon Stone’s cinematic production propels us through our response to tragedy, leaving us with hope for the resilience of the human spirit.

Premiered in Aix-en-Provence in 2021 and making its highly-anticipated American premiere in San Francisco, Innocence makes clear the power of the opera stage to explore critical stories in uniquely impactful ways. Saariaho specialist Clément Mao-Takacs leads an international cast of singers and actors in this towering work sung and spoken in nine languages, co-commissioned by San Francisco Opera.

See a Performance

Join us 55 minutes before every performance for an engaging 20-minute overview of the opera.  Click on the below Learn More button for more information.

Pre-opera talks

OperaVision, HD video projection screens featured in the Balcony level for the first three performances.

In connection with the production of Innocence, San Francisco Opera is working with local and national partner organizations to create opportunities for discourse about the effects of gun violence on individuals and communities. More information will be announced closer to the performance period.

Creative Team

Kaija Saariaho


Kaija Saariaho

Sofi Oksanen


Sofi Oksanen

Aleksi Barrière

Multilingual Libretto & Dramaturg

Aleksi Barrière

Set Designer

Chloe Lamford *

Costume Designer

Mel Page *

Lighting Designer

James Farncombe *

Sound Designer & Mixing Engineer

Timo Kurkikangas *


Arco Renz *

* San Francisco Opera Debut

June 1, 7, 12, 16, 18, 21, 2024

Co-Commission and Co-Production of Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, San Francisco Opera, Dutch National Opera Amsterdam, Royal Opera House-Covent Garden London, Finnish National Opera and Ballet Helsinki


Made Possible By

This production is made possible, in part, by the Phyllis C. Wattis Fund for New Productions; Keith and Priscilla Geeslin; Louise Gund; Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem.

This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Logo for the National Endowment for the Arts