History of the Espa Stage
The first music pavilion was built in 1881
The current form of the Espa Stage originates from the late 70s, but Esplanadi Park has been a venue for live music for much longer. Restaurant Kappeli opened its doors in the summer of 1867, on the day of Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim’s birth. The first, admittedly modest music pavilion was built in front of Restaurant Kappeli in 1881. Six years later, it was replaced with a new music pavilion designed by architect Blomqvist and adorned with towers and flower ornaments. The eastern end of the esplanade became a stylistically harmonious whole.
The current stage took form in 1975
Stylistically, the current performance stage sits somewhere between classicism and functionalism, as designed by the architecture agency Jung & Jung. There used to be glass pavilions on both sides of the audience area. Four flagpoles were placed symmetrically on both sides between the pavilions and the stage to give the setting more definition.
In the 1960s, the glass pavilions and flagpoles were removed as the Kappeliesplanadi area was reorganised. In 1975, the stage was expanded by building a protruding outdoor stage in front of the existing performance stage. The change work was completed in 1976, whereby two display cases on pedestals were placed asymmetrically on the right side of the stage: one on the south side, the other by the planting areas on the north side.
In 1987, the Espa Stage was transferred from the Helsinki Festival organisation to the cultural centre and Savoy Theatre.