Although overshadowed by Reykjavík’s popular music scene, classical music thrives here and even has its own celebrities: Vladimir Ashkenazy has been an Icelandic citizen since 1972, and best-selling operatic tenor Garðar Thór Cortes is regularly voted sexiest man in Iceland. As with popular music, concerts have unpredictable schedules and play in unpredictable venues, so check daily listings. A highly recommended experience is to see an organ recital or choral music in Hallgrímskirkja or the more intimate Fríkirkjan (Free Church), Laufásvegur 13 (tel. 552-7270), on the east side of Tjörnin Pond.
In July and August the Sigurjón Ólafsson Museum moves aside the sculptures in its main hall for a discriminating series of classical and jazz concerts Tuesday evenings at 8:30pm. Each concert is 1 hour with no interval. Salurinn, Hamraborg 6 (tel. 570-0400; www.salurinn.is), is a state-of-the-art classical venue in the nearby suburb of Kópavogur. The hall is made from Icelandic materials (driftwood, spruce, crushed stone) and has fabulous acoustics.
The Iceland Symphony Orchestra (tel. 545-2500), founded in 1950, is quite accomplished despite its short history. Sixty performances run each season from September to June. The most regular performance time is Thursday at 7:30pm. Since 2011, they have made Harpa, the flashy performance complex by the old harbor, their home.
The Icelandic Opera, Ingólfsstræti 101, between Laugavegur and Hverfisgata (tel. 511-4200; www.opera.is), was founded in 1978 and stages international and Icelandic operas. Unfortunately for summer tourists, the northernmost opera house in the world only opens its doors in the spring and fall.
Dance & Theater
Most drama in Iceland is in Icelandic, but occasionally shows are put on with a tourist audience in mind, and these performances often provide a great (and amusing) insight into Icelandic culture. Ask at the Tourist Information Office and check listings in the Reykjavík Grapevine.
The Icelandic Dance Company (tel. 568-8000) focuses exclusively on contemporary dance and performs at the City Theatre, Listabraut 3. The Reykjavík Dance Festival includes choreographers from around the world and runs for 4 days in late August/early September.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.