In our creative process we have relied on the nature of the human voice to recreate ideas and themes that we identified (and identified with) in the original novel. We decided very early on that this musical performance would use only voice, but no words. We have attempted to investigate the implications of the intuitive and habitual perception of the human voice and the different ways that this can help, but also deflect the listener.

In her novel, Karin Boye presents truth as a neurochemical state of mind, as a myth and as a tool of power. Leo Kall's rise and fall, his search for Truth – first among the conspiring enemies of the state and, as a central turning point, in his own life – and his steady progression from naiveté to clear-sightedness, are all the ingredients of an intensely poetic story. Nonetheless, we have chosen not to dwell too much on this story. And although we have retained many references to the novel, we have chosen to examine on stage the many and varied disguises of Truth – ranging from a seductive goal to a violated lover.


During an ideologically black and white period of our history, Karin Boye attempted to restore to the concept of truth some of its multitudes of colour. She wanted to remind us that any truth is at best a tenuous and dynamic proposition. In our own troubled times, truth has become a market force, invoked as a solution to all our problems. From the colour of our nails to that of the president – Truth is the Easy Way Out.

Kallocain is our attempt to redress the balance between what we humans believe and what we can know. Using two voices, the opera scans the many different roles Truth has acquired in our modern and truth-liberated society.

Originally the brain-child of Girilal Baars, who read the novel in his youth, the stage opera Kallocain is the result of a two-year long collaboration between Juha Valkeapää and Girilal. In May 2009, Kalv Festival chose Kallocain as its Project Lab 2009 – a project-in-residence. At this point the director Kaja Kann was recruited into the process. The premiere of Kallocain was on the 14th of August 2010 at the Kalv Festival.