Though 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; www.frikirkjan.is), 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 recently built 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; www.sinfonia.is), 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. Currently they perform at Háskólabíó, aka the University Cinema, on Hagatorg Square at the university complex, but in 2009 they move into Tónlistarhús, a flashy new performance complex by the old harbor.
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.
Reykjavík has no full-time jazz club -- the closest approximation, Cafe Rósenberg, burned down in 2007 -- so devotees will just have to scour the listings. The Reykjavík Jazz Festival (tel. 862-1402; www.reykjavikjazz.com) usually runs from late September to early October.
Dance & Theater
The Icelandic Dance Company, Listabraut 3 (tel. 568-8000; www.id.is), focuses exclusively on contemporary dance and performs at the City Theatre . The Reykjavík Dance Festival (www.dancefestival.is) includes choreographers from around the world and runs 4 days in early September.
The National Theater, Hverfisgata 19 (tel. 551-1200; www.leikhusid.is), hosts everything from Shakespeare and Chekhov to Rodgers and Hammerstein; but most productions are in Icelandic and the whole place shuts down in July and August.
The Reykjavík City Theatre, Listabraut 3, behind Kringlan shopping center (tel. 568-8000; www.borgarleikhus.is), is also unseen by most tourists, since most plays are in Icelandic and the season lasts from late September to May.
The Travelling Theatre Company, Vonarstræti 3, Iðnó Theatre, near City Hall (tel. 551-9181; www.lightnights.com), performs "Light Nights" for most of July and August, Monday and Tuesday nights at 8:30pm. The 90-minute mélange of Icelandic folk dancing, saga scenes, ghost stories, wrestling, and so on is aimed at tourists, and is a bit amateurish but genuine. Admission is 2,500kr ($40/£20) adults, 1,800kr ($29/£14) students, but attendance is deemed unsuitable for children under 7.
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.