BiographyThe young Icelandic artist Álfheiður Erla Guðmundsdóttir earned a bachelor's degree with honors and crowned her studies in 2021 with a Master of Music at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music in Berlin.
She is a prizewinner of the International Haydn Competition and the International Perotti Singing Competition as well as has received multiple scholarships such as Britten-Pears Young Artist. Furthermore she has attended master classes with Anne Sofie von Otter, Véronique Gens, Susan Manoff, Piotr Beczała, Matthew Rose, Hartmut Höll and Emma Kirkby, among others.
From an early age she tries to break new ground and build bridges between music and the visual artIs. In 2019, together with pianist Eleonora Pertz, she was selected by the prestigious Academy Orsay-Royaumont fostering a new generation of Lied duos. The same year she participated in the SongStudio at Carnegie Hall in a master class for young musicians led by Renée Fleming, exploring innovative approaches to classical and contemporary Lied repertoire. This was followed by an invitation to perform in the 2020 Carnegie Hall Citywide concert series with pianist Kunal Lahiry*. In 2021 she was named Singer of the Year in the contemporary and classical music category at the Icelandic Music Awards and represented her home country in the world-renowned BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2021 competition.*
Already during her studies Álfheiður successfully worked with conductors such as Alondra de la Parra, Daníel Bjarnason and Fabio Biondi, and has made her debut at the Staatsoper Berlin in the title role of Snow White (Wolfgang Mitterer/Engelbert Humperdinck), followed by the role of Papagena in The Magic Flute. At the BAROCKTAGE 2019 of the Staatsoper unter den Linden, she sang with the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin under the baton of Fabio Biondi in A. Scarlatti's "La Vergine Addolorata".
Furthermore, she appeared in various productions such as the short opera "Tolleranzia" by Axel Chorny (Deutsche Oper Berlin/ Tischlerei), Poppea/ L'incoronazione di Poppea (Freiraum Berlin), Hannchen/ Vetter aus Dingsda (Theater Altenburg Gera), Susanna/ Le nozze di Figaro (Uferstudios Berlin), Marzelline/Fidelio (Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest), Flaminia/ Il mondo della luna (HfM Berlin) and Poppea/ Agrippina (Radialsystem Berlin).
In 2020 she sang Echo/ Ariadne auf Naxos * at L'Opéra National de Montpellier and debuted with the role of the Angel in the premiere at Theater Basel of Olivier Messiaens' Saint François d'Assise under Clemens Heil and directed by Benedikt von Peter. In 2021 she was invited to the Theater Dortmund for the premiere of the opera »Der Hetzer« by the Austrian composer Bernhard Lang.
Since the 21/22 season, Álfheiður Erla Guðmundsdóttir has been a permanent member of the ensemble at the Theater Basel, where she has performed, among others: in The Magic Flute and Don Carlos, in a staged version of J.S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion, Philip Glass's "Einstein on the Beach," and in a world premiere of a play-opera based on motifs from the Krabat saga.
In the 22/23 season she makes her role debut as Gilda/ Rigoletto, and she takes part in the premiere of »Persona« by the composer Anda Kryeziu based on a film by Ingmar Bergman at the Basel Gare Du Nord (Bahnhof für Neue Musik), and sings the soprano part in a staged version of Haydn's Creation under the baton of Jörg Halubek and directed by Thomas Verstraeten. At the end of May 23' the digital EP "From Afar Reworks" is released by the Deutsche Grammophon. Six contemporary composers and performers, including Álfheiður Guðmundsdóttir, take inspiration from Víkingur Ólafsson's album "From Afar" and adapt works from it. Álfheiður was inspired, among other things, by Brahms' Intermezzo.
In the 23/24 season she will take part in the Gintersdorfer/Klaßen new production of »Yopougon-Ring« at Theater Basel and a subsequent guest performance tour to Abidjan/Ivory Coast, which illuminates Wagner's Ring from a postcolonial perspective.
In autumn 2023 she will be heard in Italy in Bruneck and Brixen with the String Academy Bozen under the baton of Clau Scherrer in Beethoven's Mass in C major. She will also tour again with Philip Glass's anti-opera "Einstein on the Beach" in Paris, followed by the revival of Gilda/Rigoletto in Basel.
2024 starts no less exciting with two more premieres at the Theater Basel: Drusilla/ L'incoronazione di Poppea under the direction of Laurence Cummings and directed by Christoph Marthaler as well as the staged Mozart Requiem under Ivor Bolton and directed by Romeo Castellucci.
* cancelled due to COVID-19
Natascha van Randenborgh
Mobil: +49-173-7 76 88 20
|St Matthew Passion
|Mass in C Major
|La Vergine Addolorata
|Einstein on the Beach
|Il mondo della luna
|Der Vetter aus Dingsda
|L'incoronazione di Poppea
|St. Francois d'Assise
|Le nozze di Figaro
|Ariadne auf Naxos
|Une voix céleste
CD release "Poems" at Deutsche GrammophonOn November 10th 2023, "Poems", the debut album by Álfheiður Erla Guðmundsdóttir, is released on Deutsche Grammophon!
The album is a joint project with Icelandic composer, conductor and producer Viktor Orri Árnason and is an exploration of the cultural heritage of the two.
The album features ten pieces in which the poetry of Icelandic poets from the past and present is set to music, featuring also texts of their own.
The release on November 10th is celebrated with an intimate showcase event in Berlin on the release day, where the two artists will perform a selection of the songs live.
The album is released on CD, vinyl and digitally and is available directly from Deutsche Grammophon:
Photo: Hjördís Jónsdóttir
Photo: Valgeir Einarsson
Download availableEngel in Saint Francois d'Assise - Theater Basel (mit Nathan Berg)
Photo: Ingo Hoehn
Trailer "Saint François d'Assise" (Olivier Messiaen) am Theater Basel
Palais Lichtenau Session - Claude Debussy "Apparition"
Saint François d'Assise / Theater Basel / 16.10.20 / br-klassik.de
"Álfheiður Erla Guðmundsdóttir gibt einen wunderbaren Engel"
Saint François d'Assise / Theater Basel / 16.10.20 / sueddeutsche.de
"Guðmundsdóttir und Nathan Berg sind ein wundervolles Paar, denen die Liebe zu strahlender Selbstverständlichkeit und Musik geworden ist".
Saint François d'Assise / Theater Basel / 18.10.2020 Neue Zürcher Zeitung
Álfheiður Erla Guðmundsdóttir mit ihrem schlackenlosen Sopran und wunderbarem Legato
Saint François d'Assise / Theater Basel / 29.10.2020 / DIE ZEIT
"Der blausilbern fließende, schwerelos schlanke Sopran der Isländerin Álfheidur Erla Guðmundsdóttir wird einen immer wieder daran erinnern, dass in dieser Musik eine Verbindung zum Himmel erzeugt werden soll"