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The Icelandic Opera

The voices of Harpa

The Icelandic Opera regularly stages compelling performances, showcasing Iceland’s musical and theatre community. Recent shows include Ragnheiður in 2014, Carmen in 2013, La Bohéme in 2012, The Magic Flute in 2011 – which was the first opera staged in Harpa, Rigoletto in 2010, L’elisir d’amore in 2009 and La Traviata in 2008.

The Icelandic Opera offers its audiences an ambitious and versatile programme, and produces about 2-4 operas or other musical events each season. While the majority of singers and artists in its productions are Icelandic, foreign artists are also regular participants.

The history of the Icelandic Opera goes back to the beginning of the 1980s, so it is certainly young, at least by the standards of the long-standing opera houses of Europe, which have century-old traditions. But with the great ambition and energy of its artists and staff through the years, it certainly plays an established and important role in Icelandic musical life and has, in its almost 30 year history, staged over 60 operas, ranging from Verdi to Britten to new works by Icelandic composers.

Singing is a rich part of Icelandic culture and opera enjoys great popularity with Icelandic audiences. Most productions at the Icelandic Opera in recent years have been completely sold out with thousands of guests enjoying each production. The Icelandic Opera has from the beginning been a non-profit organisation, but up to 70% of the total budget now comes from government subsidy. Its current Artistic and General Director is Stefán Baldursson. The first opera staged by the Icelandic Opera in Harpa was Mozart’s Magic Flute which ran from October-November 2011 to great critical acclaim.