"Sigurdarson was born to sing Falstaff, both his voice and his body language are ideal for the part. And while he is able to fill the venue with sound, he can also bring the timbre of his singing down, almost to speaking ..."
Gavin Dixon, Seen and Heard International
"Olafur Sigurdarson wins the singers' palm on opening night, he has the power and expression and a noble baritone colour to allow his Don Carlo to emerge vividly"
Eckhard Britsch, Opernnetz
"Olafur Sigurdarson is a gloriously comic and personable lead in Opera Holland Park's new production of Falstaff."
"Sigurdarson sang Rafaello robustly and with bravura"
"As Rigoletto, baritone Olafur Sigurdarson is truly a star singer. Both his full, penetrating voice and his acting skills have probably moved every member of the audience this evening."
"The evil one is by far the best; in a pinstriped suit, full of vengeance, the Icelandic baritone delivers a beautifully sung Don Carlo. A feast for the ears."
Stephan Schickhaus, Frankfurter Rundschau
"A vocal highlight was Olafur Sigurdarson who delivered a clear and powerful Don Carlo."
Frederike Holewig, Entscheidende Unentschiedenheit
In the 2017-18 Season, Icelandic baritone Olafur Sigurdarson sings the title role Rigoletto – one of his signature roles – at the Finnish National Opera. Following great success in the role of Telramund Lohengrin at Prague National Theatre, Mr. Sigurdarson is invited back this season for further performances. He travels to his native country for the role of Scarpia Tosca at Icelandic Opera and reprises this role at Staatstheater Braunschweig. Sigurdarson makes his US debut in the title role of Falstaff at Opera Omaha followed immediately by Rigoletto at Minnesota Opera and then further performances in the title role of Falstaff at Opera Colorado.
Last season’s highlights included Rigoletto at Staatsoper Hannover, following that in Saarbrücken and later in Darmstadt. He returned to Finnish National Opera for performances in the title role Der Fliegende Holländer, a role in which he was ecstatically reviewed in his debut in 2014 and for which he received the rarely bestowed honorary membership of the Richard Wagner Association in Saarland (RWV). A new role in Saarbrücken followed as he made his debut in the title role Simon Boccanegra. At the Danish National Opera he appeared in the role of The Colonel in the world premiere of Brothers directed by Kaspar Holten.
Previously a principal artist at Saarländisches Staatstheater Saarbrücken, past highlights include the role of Balstrode Peter Grimes, which he sang previously with great success at the Reykjavik Arts Festival with Stuart Skelton, and the title roles of Falstaff and Rigoletto; his many concert appearances included Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Wuppertal Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana with Vladimir Ashkenazy for the inauguration of the city’s new cultural centre, LAC; on tour in Japan with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, and also at the Stuttgarter Liederhalle with the Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra. Other concert appearances include Kindertotenlieder with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and Iago Otello under Richard Farnes in Cambridge.
This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.
Falstaff, Opera Colorado
Led by Icelandic baritone Olafur Sigurdarson’s adroitly caricatured vocal largesse and the paunchiness to go with it, Falstaff took larger than life form in Sigurdarson’s experienced grip...Sigurdarson entertainingly makes us laugh with him and at him...And Sigurdarson always looked at ease in the title role’s weighty and complex demands, bringing a cheeky comic agility to an otherwise slovenly lump. And how the voice projected with resonant strength and bucolic depth as if supported by the great mass below. The use of text was superb and the expression to match made a gourmet performance. Then there was the fine falsetto to cap off his character’s own derisive comments. Here was a fully-studied and naturally drawn interpretation that has years of delight to give.
Blogspot, OperaChaser, 8 May 2018
Edwards [director] made sure that everything revolved around Sir John Falstaff, who emerged, in Icelandic baritone Oalfur Sigurdarson's committed portrayal, as a lovable, endearingly naive old sot. Well padded and properly bearded, Sigurdarson looked exactly as we would imagine Falstaff - a bit short and round and bouncing with energy. Sigurdarson captured Sir John's unstoppable bravado, emphasising his cuddly, quixotic separation from reality. One charming moment captured the essence of this comic characterisation: on his way to woo two of his latest conquests, the elegantly dressed suitor slowly made his way down a staircase (a la Sunset Boulevard), pausing to hoist a leg on the handrail as if to display his supreme self-confidence - and flexibility. He was equally agile vocally, whether in the blustery exclamations of "L'onore!" or the self-pitying musings of "Mondo ladro," the latter delivered while seated forlornly, recovering from a cleverly staged splash in the Thames.
Opera News, Marc Shulgold, May 2018
Rigoletto, Minnesota Opera
For raw power, no voice on stage can match that of baritone Olafur Sigurdarson, who fills the hall with his anguished arias but also provides this production’s most moving moments in tandem with Munger on three beautiful duets. When he has shadowy exchanges with … a hired assassin, there’s some marvelous low-range menace afoot.
Twin Cities Pioneer Press, Ron Hubbard, 18 March 2018
The Icelandic baritone Olafur Sigurdarson brought an oak-like steadiness of voice and considerable nobility of demeanor to his depiction of Rigoletto…
Minnesota Star Tribune, Terry Blain, 18 March 2018
Icelandic baritone Olafur Sigurdarson, making his Minnesota Opera debut, is magnificent as Rigoletto.
Minnpost, Pamela Espeland, 20 March 2018
Rigoletto was sung by Icelandic baritone Olafur Sigurdarson. His rich voice cascaded through the hall, and he gave a very sympathetic performance. He clearly showed a man who had been abused his whole life, and had deep love and affection for his daughter.
Schmopera, Callie Cooper, 25 March 2018
Sigurdarson is capable of conveying Rigoletto’s tortured angst through his gorgeous baritone.
Bugaboo Musings, Kyle Kepulis, 17 March 2018
Olafur Sigurdarson, making his Minnesota Opera debut, is glorious as Rigoletto. His full baritone fills the house at the Ordway with smooth, aching tones in his solos, and he harmonizes beautifully in the opera's duets, trios and quartets. Not only is his voice perfectly attuned to the role, but he imbues Rigoletto's character with the emotions of a man haunted, first by his disability, and then, belatedly, by the tragic consequence of his own behavior.
Talkin' Broadway, Arthur Dorman, 22 March 2018
Olafur Sigurdarson was masterful...
Minnesota Playlist, Brian Lenz, 27 March 2018
Rigoletto, played with well-earned confidence by Icelandic baritone Olafur Sigurdarson.
The Growler, John Garland, 23 March 2018
Sigurdarson, making his company debut, is perfectly cast as the malignant jester, played here with a limp and leg brace rather than a hunchback. Sigurdarson’s heavy, brooding voice and manner convey Rigoletto’s twisted nature, while hinting at a kind of nobility and grandeur. They’re just hints; even in “Tutte le feste al tempio” and other tender moments with daughter Gilda, Rigoletto's character defects and emotional lameness come shining through...Sigurdarson and Munger are devastatingly effective in the final scene, one of the great moments in opera.
Postbulletin, Jay Furst, 22 March 2018
Falstaff, Opera Omaha
Icelandic baritone Olafur Sigurdarson made a splendid U.S. debut as Falstaff himself. In addition to a fine voice, he was tremendously effective swinging back and forth from vanity to self-pity, and from revelation to debauchery.
Omaha World-Herald, Drew Neneman, 10 February 2018
Tosca, Icelandic Opera
Ólafur Kjartan Sigurðarson, familiar to London audiences for his roles with Opera Holland Park, made a strong Scarpia. A born manipulator, this Scarpia clearly enjoyed using the power of his position for his own ends. Sigurðarson's voice easily rode the orchestra at the end of Act One, as it should, and in Act Two he and Claire Rutter really did make the air crackle, and it was clear that this Scarpia was relishing manipulating her.
Planet Hugill, Robert Hugill, 8 November 2017
Olafur Kjartan Sigurdarson portrayed Scarpia as an urbane executive with a taste for torture, singing with a crisp and steely baritone.
Opera, Amanda Holloway, February 2018
Sigurdarson, an Icelandic Opera stalwart, has a splendid voice and is a fine actor and ensured that the whole performance didn’t end up as a two-horse race.
Opera Now, Neil Jones, January 2018
Rigoletto, Finnish National Opera
Icelandic baritone Olafur Sigurdarson has been hailed for his Verdi roles and Rigoletto is possibly his signature role. He is an excellent actor and his sturdy, dark voice is both expressive and sonorously attractive. His Cortigiani in Act II is spine-chilling, even more so the revenge duet Si, vendetta, tremenda vendetta at the end of the act, and his desperation in the final scene when he realises that he has lost his daughter is deeply moving.
Seen and Heard International, Göran Forsling, 2 October 2017
Der fliegende Holländer, Finnish National Opera
‘And those voices! A powerful bass-baritone of the Dutchman – Olafur Sigurdarson’
The Eye of Music
Siegfried, Dortmunder Philharmoniker
Icelandic baritone Olafur Sigurdarson achieved an interpretation of Wanderer/Wotan that was full of character and which he filled with a warm and smooth yet dominant voice.
Julia Gass, Ruhr Nachrichten
Feltz has the Philharmoniker play with such mighty force that you can only wonder how the soloists are meant to get through against such a fulminantly playing orchestra. But Olafur Sigurdarson as Wotan / Wanderer with his steely bass-baritone shows straight from the first scene that he has no difficulty waking Erda from her long sleep. All the while Sigurdarson wows with crystal clear diction. ... Thus already the first scene of this third act becomes a musical highlight.
Thomas Molke, Online Musik Magazin
Der fliegende Holländer, Saarländisches Staatstheater Saarbrücken
Olafur Sigurdarson in the title role was enthralling; behind his sublime vocal performance all his partners faded into the background. This is a Helden baritone who does not simply approach the role of the Dutchman with pure power of voice, but also gives it the benefit of a most solidly founded singing of Italianate training. Superbly the appoggiare la voce and the sensitive phrasing of his sonorous and intensely expressive baritone voice. These aspects together with exemplary diction made for an outstanding portrait of the character. When will we finally be able to hear this magnificent singer in Bayreuth?
Ludwig Steinbach, Der Opernfreund
Yes, if the Dutchman of the phenomenal Olafur Sigurdarson were the pivot of this direction, a lot would fall into place. Sigurdarson let the audience hear music of the soul. Yearning, despair, desire: all of this becomes audible. What good fortune it is that the Staatstheater has this exceptional baritone.
Oliver Schwambach, Saarbrücker Zeitung
Die Frau ohne Schatten, Saarlandisches Staatstheater Saarbrücken
Olafur Sigurdarson ... sings his Barak not using the noble tones of a kavalier baritone, but allows the coarse roughness of the workman to come through in a full-bodied timbre. The voice flows lushly but is never too soft, and he has plenty of reserves left for a truly jubilant song of celebration at the end.
Bernd Stopka, Online Musik Magazin
Macbeth, Saarlandisches Staatstheater Saarbrücken
Olafur Sigurdarson proves to be a favourite of the audience; his title hero comes across like the mafioso who, having waited for a long time, has decided that his promotion up the ranks is long overdue. Impressive is his metamorphosis during the appearances of the witches and chorus: faced with those prophesising spectres, he anxiously holds on to his teddy bear. At the end we see not a mobster but a man who has lost not only his conscience but also his heart and his humanity. Vocally his bass baritone is round and full, secure and steady, noble and elegant. Both vocally and in his acting he presents a colourful, experienced and mature Macbeth.
Stefanie Braun, Opernnetz
La Forza del Destino, Staatstheater Wiesbaden
Olafur Sigurdarson sings his Carlos with a both powerful and light voice and deviates from the vocal cliché of the scoundrel, which usually shapes this role.
Rudolf Hermes, Opernfreund
I Gioielli della Madonna, Opera Holland Park
Olafur Sigurdarson’s bad-boy Rafaele ... finding a consistently powerful and beautiful place for his voice.
Alexandra Coghlan, The Guardian
Olafur Sigurdarson sang gangster Rafaele with considerable charm.
David Sutton, MusicalCriticism.com
Olafur Sigurdarson, with his resolute baritone instrument, provides a convincing portrayal of a figure who all the women know is a (potentially dangerous) rotter, but are happy to love and go for anyway. He does this by taking the audience with him for a surprisingly long way, although even they cannot fail to be shocked by the way in which he latterly treats Maliella.
Sam Smith, MusicOMH
The shallow gangster Rafaele, played by Olafur Sigurdarson, was as frightening and intimidating as was expected, he delivered a very strong performance.
Elly Perry, The Upcoming
La Forza del Destino, Staatstheater Darmstadt
The shout-out for the best performance of the opening night goes to Olaf Sigurdarson: the powerfulness and expressiveness of his kingly baritone timbre sculpt the character of Don Carlo vividly in his hurt dignity and the unrelenting wrath that is founded in a perverse sense of family honour.
Eckhard Britsch, Opernnetz
Sigurdarson ... marvellously contributes to the dark ending of the piece.
Axel Zibulski, Frankfurter Neue Presse
Falstaff, Opera Holland Park
... an excellent knight in the Icelandic baritone Olafur Sigurdarson. ... He’s a terrific comedian – and a very physical one, executing cartwheels and pratfalls fearlessly. The fact that he is also quite personable, not at all a self-deluding fatso, hints that he’s in there with a chance, and, with all the surreal larking about, “Vecchio John” seems to be the only one marching in time. His appearance in full military fig, all set for a bit of wooing, was glorious, and his singing was warm and generous.
Peter Reed, The Telegraph
In an amazing central performance, Olafur Sigurdarson plays [Falstaff] not as a vastly corpulent lecher but an ageing, portly but still immensely attractive former soldier, surviving on his wits in peacetime as he did in war.
Tim Ashley, The Guardian
Olafur Sigurdarson steals the show as the pudgy Falstaff, belching and lolloping about the stage with a sort of slimy, infectious charm. As something of an Opera Holland Park veteran – performing in their 2007, 2008 and 2009 seasons – Sigurdarson’s rich baritone and virtuoso comic timing draws hysterical laughter and applause. His gleeful self-congratulation in Va, vecchio John is, quite simply, a belly-gripping, belt-snapping, hand-rubbing triumph of a performance, punctuated with a gravity-defying cartwheel and twinkle in the eye.
Maia Jenkins, The Upcoming
How refreshing then to hear Olafur Sigurdarson sing Falstaff with as much power and presence as the venue and the role demand. Sigurdarson was born to sing Falstaff, both his voice and his body language are ideal for the part. And while he is able to fill the venue with sound, he can also bring the timbre of his singing down, almost to speaking – a talent Verdi’s music often requires. And his roly poly slapstick was excellent, fitting precisely to the mood and pace of the music. ... But the real star of the show was undoubtedly Olafur Sigurdarson. If you get the chance to hear him sing Falstaff, here or anywhere else, make sure you go.
Gavin Dixon, Seen and Heard
Olafur Sigurdarson was a perfect incarnation of the title role: his Falstaff is a mix between a fat Beetlejuice (à la Michael Keaton) and a drunk Captain Jack Sparrow (à la Jonny Depp). Not only could he inhabit the character’s body physically, but also vocally—despite a few pressed and unfocused moments—he was able to communicate all the regrets and bitter humor of an old, dirty, pervert. It was simply fantastic.
Mike Migliore, MusicalCriticism.com
In the title role Olafur Sigurdarson is the perfect embodiment of the fat knight and his singing certainly hits the spot.
Keith McDonnell, Whats On Stage
Olafur Sigurdarson’s Operatic Repertoire
Bluebeard's Castle (Bluebeard)
Fidelio (Don Pizarro)
La Damnation de Faust (Brander; Mephistopheles)
Peter Grimes (Balstrode)
La Fille du Regiment (Sulpice)
Andrea Chenier (Gerard)
Cavalleria Rusticana (Alfio)
Don Quichotte (Sancho Panzo)
L'Amore dei tre re (Manfredo)
The Ballad of Baby Doe (Horace Tabor)
Les Contes d'Hoffmann (Lindorf; Coppelius; Mirakel; Dapertutto)
La Gioconda (Barnaba)
Il Tabarro (Michele)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Bartolo)
Kullervo (title role)
Die Frau ohne Schatten (Barak)
Falstaff (title role; Ford)
Der Fliegende Holländer (title role)
I Gioielli della Madonna (Rafaele)