On the Road with Ann — A Fabulous Evening at Harpa Hall

hallTonight far surpassed our expectations. Renowned soprano Lilja Gudmundsdottir and world-acclaimed bass Bjarni Thor Kristinsson, accompanied by a great pianist, sang a wonderful array of Icelandic songs. Many sounded very much like German lieder, and one sounded very much like Schubert/Goethe’s “Erlkönig,” a piece that figures prominently in the first book we will discuss, Haldór Laxness’s The Fish Can Sing.

What a curious and admirable place this island is. We are so used to having infinite human and geographic resources. Here they are limited by a tiny population, linguistic obscurity, nowhere to run, a harsh climate, and barren landscapes. Such beauty and resourcefulness. Lots of Scandinavia but also much reminiscent of Newfoundland.

After a delicious dinner, a bunch of us hung around the fireplace in the hotel lobby getting to know one another over a glass of brennnivín (Iceland’s locally produced caraway-flavoured spirit).



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