This concert at the Iceland Symphony is a genuine feast for lovers of Mozart, as it juxtaposes many of his most popular works with two that are heard less often. The concert begins with the overture to The Marriage of Figaro and arias from Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Così fan tutte, as well as a stunningly beautiful aria from The Shepherd King, written when Mozart was only 19 years old, and a magnificent number from the opera Idomeneo.
The second half of the programme features Mozart’s Symphony no. 40, written towards the end of his life. One of his most dramatic pieces, the symphony bears witness to Mozart’s maturity and courage as a composer. At the time he was in dire straits financially and wrote a poignant letter to a friend, asking for a loan.
Soprano Hallveig Rúnarsdóttir has won the hearts of Icelanders with her crystal-clear voice. She has sung lead roles in numerous operas, including the Icelandic Opera Company’s staging of Don Giovanni, and is equally in demand as a singer of oratorios and lieder. After her especially nuanced performance of Sigvaldi Kaldalóns’ Ave Maria at the Iceland Symphony’s Our Classics concert in autumn 2018, there was hardly a dry eye in the house. Hallveig was named Female Singer of the Year at the 2018 Icelandic Music Awards.
Jonathan Cohen is one of Britain’s foremost young conductors of Baroque music. He conducts his own orchestra, Arcangelo, whose highly praised recordings include Bach’s Mass in b minor. Cohen first conducted in Iceland at the Iceland Symphony’s 2017 Advent concert, in a performance so inspired that he was immediately invited back.