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Hamlet in Absentia – Opera on big screen

European Opera Days

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The Icelandic Opera is proud to present an opera by the Icelandic composer Hugi Guðmundsson on a big screen during the European Opera Days.

The world premiere of the first-ever Scandinavian Hamlet opera took place at Hamlets Castle/ Kronborg in August 2016. Hamlet in Absentia is a grotesque, yet humorous reinterpretation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, in which madness is seen from the perspective of today’s diagnostic society.

Everyone says Ophelia is mad. She can no longer speak, but has started to sing. She seeks out a therapist to get a diagnosis. Together they release Ophelia’s inner demons. Her beloved Hamlet has killed Polonius and her brother Laertes is on a quest for vengeance. At the same time, Claudius and Gertrud are going through intense relationship counselling, where accusations fly in all directions.  Gertrud loves her son more than anything, but Hamlet is a thorn in the side of Claudius. While everyone else sorts out existential crises, the man at the heart of all this, Hamlet, is conspicuous by his absence.

The opera is performed by a strong team of eight Scandinavian opera singers, accompanied by the Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen, conducted by Jakob Hultberg. The music, by the talented Icelandic composer Hugi Gudmundsson, is both lyrical and dramatic in its interpretation of Jakob Weis’s poetic-cum-rap libretto, which grapples with the concept of normality.

The production is produced by NordicOpera and directed by one of Sweden’s leading opera and theatre directors, Åsa Melldahl, and designed by one of Denmark’s most esteemed opera, theatre and film designers, Marie í Dali.

Hamlet in Absentia is performed in Danish with English surtitles.

Hamlet in Absentia:

Music: Hugi Gudmundsson

Libretto: Jakob Weis

Director: Åsa Melldahl

Designer: Marie í Dali

Dramaturg: Nila Parly



Ofelia: Sibylle Glosted, soprano DK

Therapist: Martin Vanberg, tenor SE

Claudius: Johannes Mannov, baritone DK

Gertrud: Isabel Piganiol, soprano DK/SE

Polonius: Jakob Zethner, bas DK

Rosenkrantz: Mathias Hedegaard, tenor DK

Gyldenstein: Christian Damsgaard, tenor DK

Leartes: Sebastian Duran, baritone SE