Monday, May 09, 2011

Harpa Inside-Out

Three concerts for the grand opening previews of Harpa Concert Hall & Conference Center are completed. And I didn't fall off of the risers! Though I was precariously perched high on the topmost ledge, singing in a giant choir for Beethoven 9. The hall is beautiful, the sound rich. I don't think there's really a bad seat in the house, at least sound wise! This picture was my first rehearsal with the orchestra, before I was moved to dead-center (and then was too intent on singing to remember to bring a camera).

I took a couple pictures from inside the lobby so you can see what Iceland will have to offer many a visitor in the upcoming years. The ceiling is covered in mirrored panels, with two layers of windows forming crystal-like facets on the outer wall. It's a hexagon-lover's paradise. The main staircase seems to come from an invisible point on the horizon and then open up like a wedge; it's a really cool optical illusion.

Some parts, even the day before, looked very much under construction:

But then at the last second, beautiful things appeared, like fountains outside, pavement, bridges, a store, furniture, shiny floors and walls. It was pretty incredible the transformation.

On the way out of the building after the final concert, I was just in time to catch an incredible sunset on the horizon. It seemed like luck to catch the light through these panes of glass but it was totally intentional, and brilliant, on the part of the artist and architects who designed the building's layout! Harpa looks so different in various times of day and light, and will certainly look different throughout the year as the sun changes angle dramatically. It will soon be the kind of place that stops people dead in their tracks to go oooo and aaah. I think even more fancy technical work is planned for the facade and interior of the building, to be completed in the months to come.

A grand opening weekend of celebrations is planned for Harpa, and you can check out the schedule and more information at

No comments: