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date: 18 October 2019


  • Martin Dreyer
  •  and Charles Pitt


Capital of Iceland. Regular professional opera in Iceland dates only from the foundation in 1950 of the National Theatre in Reykjavík, which seats 661 and can accommodate 40 in the pit; it is legally required to produce at least one opera a year. Its first production was Rigoletto, sung in Icelandic; Tosca (1957–8) was the first opera given by an all-Icelandic cast, though most of the singers had received training in Scandinavia or Italy. The first performance by local musicians was Carmen in 1975. Iceland Opera was formed in 1979, with the tenor Gardar Cortes as director; it opened with Pagliacci. A sizable bequest from Sigurlidi Kristjánsson in 1980 enabled the company to purchase the Gamla Bíó, a cinema built in the 1920s. Modifications were carried out and new lighting installed, leaving a capacity of 505 and excellent acoustics. The house opened on 9 January 1982 with Der Zigeunerbaron...

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