Olafur Sigurdarson


"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."

The Telegraph

"Sigurdarson sang Rafaello robustly and with bravura"

Planet Hugill

"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."

Livekritik zu

"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

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In the 2016-17 Season, Icelandic baritone Olafur Sigurdarson, currently a principal artist at Saarländisches Staatstheater Saarbrücken, sings the title role Rigoletto—one of his signature roles—at Staatsoper Hannover and following that in Saarbrücken and later in Darmstadt. He returns to Finnish National Opera for performances in the title role Der Fliegende Holländer, a role in which he was ecstatically reviewed in his debut last season and for which he received the rarely bestowed honorary membership of the Richard Wagner Association in Saarland (RWV).  A new role in Saarbrücken follows as he makes his debut in the title role Simon Boccanegra and he travels to Danish National Opera for a principal role in the world premiere of Brothers directed by Kaspar Holten. The artist also appears in his home company in revival performances of the title role Falstaff.

Last season 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.

Future plans include a new production of Rigoletto with a major European opera company.

This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.

Siegfried, Dortmunder Philharmoniker

June 2015

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

November/December 2014

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

June 2014

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

April 2014

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

January 2014

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

July 2013

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

October 2012

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

July 2012

... 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

BARTOK Bluebeard's Castle (Bluebeard)
BEETHOVEN Fidelio (Don Pizarro)
BERLIOZ La Damnation de Faust (Brander; Mephistopheles)
BRITTEN Peter Grimes (Balstrode)
DONIZETTI La Fille du Regiment (Sulpice)
GIORDANO Andrea Chenier (Gerard)
LEONCAVALLO Pagliacci (Tonio)
MASCAGNI Cavalleria Rusticana (Alfio)
MASSENET Don Quichotte (Sancho Panzo)
MONTEMEZZI L'Amore dei tre re (Manfredo)
MOORE The Ballad of Baby Doe (Horace Tabor)
OFFENBACH Les Contes d'Hoffmann (Lindorf; Coppelius; Mirakel; Dapertutto)
PONCHIELLI La Gioconda (Barnaba)
PUCCINI Il Tabarro (Michele)
La Fanciulla del West (Jack Rance)
Tosca (Scarpia)
ROSSINI Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Bartolo)
SALLINEN Kullervo (title role)
STRAUSS Die Frau ohne Schatten (Barak)
Salome (Jochanaan)
VERDI Falstaff (title role; Ford)
La Forza del Destino (Don Carlo)
La Traviata (Germont)
Macbeth (title role)
Otello (Iago)
Rigoletto (title role)
Un Ballo in Maschera (Renato)
WAGNER Der Fliegende Holländer (title role)
Lohengrin (Telramund)
Das Rheingold (Alberich)
Siegfried (Alberich; Wotan)
Götterdämmerung (Alberich)
Parsifal (Klingsor)
WOLF-FERRARI I Gioielli della Madonna (Rafaele)

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