Set-designer Yrjö Tapper studied at the Ateneum Academy of Fine Arts 1955-58 and at the Finnish Theatre School 1959-60, after which he worked as a trainee set-designer at the Gothenburg City Theatre in Sweden 1960-62. He joined the Tampere Theatre 1962-67 and 1973-92. In the intervening years he worked at the Finnish National Theatre 1967-70 and at the Pori Theatre 1970-73.
Yrjö Tapper has designed sets for over 300 productions, including Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Macbeth and Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as Ibsen’s Enemy of the People, Weiss’s Marat, Demy-Legrand The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Kálmán’s Circus Princess, Christie’s Mousetrap, Canth’s Työmiehen vaimo, and Jotuni’s The Rib of A Man (Miehen kylkiluu). He has designed opera sets for Puccini’s La Bohème, Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Schönberg-Boubil’s Les Miserables. He also designed the sets for the performances by Tampere Opera in Tampere Hall of Verdi’s Don Carlos in 1990 and 1992 and Wagner’s Der Fliegende Holländer in 1997.
Yrjö Tapper was awarded a prize for his set designs for Lauri Leskinen’s play Ruskie neitsyt at the Tampere Summer Theatre Festival in 1986. In the summer of 2003 an exhibition of Yrjö Tapper’s work was held in Saarijärvi, in which his paintings and his opera sets were on display, especially his set designs for The Last Temptations.