Sallinen is perhaps the greatest living opera composer, and "The Red Line" has claims to be perhaps his most important work in the genre. It counterpoints National resurgence in Finland against the Russian Bear with the tragic privation suffered by many Finnish people at the time, and is both heartrending and uplifting - with a fantastic score worthy to rank with the best operas of Britten, Shostakovich and Tippett (though Sallinen has his own, very personal Nordic palette and style).
I was fortunate enough to see the original production, and it is marvellous to see the great Finnish baritone Jorma Hynninen still playing the leading role over thirty years later - his singing is still amazingly powerful, but now he has a physical fragility which conveys even more the contradictory elements of Topi's personality, and the opera gains power as a result.
The rest of the cast is marvellous, as is the conducting. The production is stylised, less social-realist than the original Finnish National Opera 1978 staging, but clear, pointed and imaginative.
The DVD picture and sound are both of very good quality indeed - blu-ray would of course have made the strong contrasts between light and dark clearer, but with such a compelling experience as this on offer, such niceties are really irrelevant. Don't hesitate!