Harpa, Iceland's shiny new concert hall

a private concert in the big red room of Vikingur rehearsing Grieg's Piano Concerto

It really is quite new and shiny, with those stories and stories of diagonal glass panes and only officially opened since Saturday. It has a kind of rocky history, with funding issues and construction halted for months following the economic collapse, but elves had nothing to do with it so no need to worry about any of that bad stuff from the past. There was also a bit of confusion with the first concerts, since the ‘opening’ concert was May 6th, but it sold out so quickly that they added two more shows May 4th and 5th. So, May 4th, its arguable´opening date´blew the crowd away with a Grieg piano concerto performed by Juilliard´s Vikingur and Beethovens 9th Symphony conducted by no other than Valdimir Ashkenazy himself, but gave spectators only a sneak peak of the barely functional, half finished Harpa.

Then, last Friday there was another ‘opening concert´, and Saturday May 14th was the ´open house,´ and so now after a lot of openings, its open alright, as well as all its bars and restaurants and halls functional, but still not complete.

May 3rd, the bar and restaurant not quite ready for opening night #1

From inside, you can still scrape your feet along construction dust and the entire front hall is still hidden behind plank wood instead of the glorious, multi-coloured glass panes. From outside, gravel and heavy machinery surround the building and the massive dug out pit to its left, yet, somehow none of this takes away from the excitement and excessive beauty Harpa represents.

24 hours before the house opened

I can´t wait to see local bands and world-renowned artists take the brightly-lit stages and big, red concert hall by storm; once the surrounding space and cultural amenities are all complete, it will be an epic extension of cozy little downtown Reykjavik to the grandeur new east harbour.


On my personal to-do list this summer: watch as many concerts as financially possible, eat nordic tapas at Munnharpan, and wine and dine at the fine Kolabrautin.

Join me?

Head chef Þráinn at Kolabrautin "then"; check out "now" at facebook.com/kolabrautin

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s