Rockland: The Opera was commissioned by the Pine Mountain Music Festival with major support and fund-raising efforts from John and Pauline Kiltinen and the late Gloria Jackson. It was John Kiltinen who first mentioned the story to Finnish composer Jukka Linkola when he was here for the Marquette Finn Fest in 2005. Jukka took an immediate interest in the story and its significance for not only Finnish immigrants, but the many Finnish people who are still connected by family and history to the area today.
The opera had dual premieres at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts on the Michigan Tech campus in Houghton, Michigan, and in Nivala, Finland. It was also live-streamed to an audience of over 60,000 in 28 different countries.