Lunchtime is tricky in Iceland. It’s not really a country known for having breakfast or being on time. Lunchtime is when you finally consume something that isn’t coffee, but many locals spend their lunches at their desk or skipping it all together. If you’re travelling on your own, you might not feel like having a complete sit down lunch by yourself, casually listening to fellow travellers discuss the dent eating out in Iceland has made to their holiday budget.
Here is my answer: The Icelandic Opera is offering “Lunchtime Recitals” at Harpa–and it’s free!
If you are new to, or clueless about, opera, like me, these recitals might seem a bit too far out of your comfort-zone. Trust me, it’s not. Opera music is dramatic and affecting. You don’t need to understand what they’re are saying. Most people don’t. You need to feel it. I close my eyes and picture dramatic movie shoot-outs in black and white. I picture lovers just missing each other on a busy street. I picture Bugs Bunny harassing Elmer Fudd. Basically, I just let my imagination take me where the music leads. Afterwards I go over the program and read a little bit about the selections sung and what they were really about. It’s a really great way to try out opera, without having to wear a tux or buy small bronze binoculars.
It’s also a great time to try out take-out, either on the way to the opera recital or on the way back. The recitals run from 12:15 to 12:45, so you have time before our after to eat. But where? Where is there quick and easy take-out? Well, I’ve devised a guide. Feel free to mix and match. The first “Lunchtime Recital” has already taken place (Agnes Thorsteins: mezzo-soprano, and Marcin Koziel: Piano). It inspired me to write this guide and, for the record, I ate a hotdog…before…and after.
Bylgja Dís Gunnarsdóttir, soprano, and Hrönn Þráinsdóttir, piano.
Take Out: Gló, Laugavegur 20b, you feel healthier just looking at the food here and it works well as a take-out meal. Don’t be intimidated by the description of it being “raw food” or “vegetarian.” It also has cooked food and chicken. It’s a fair-weather vegetarian, just like your co-workers.
Sveinn Dúa Hjörleifsson, tenor, and Hrönn Þráinsdóttir, piano.
Take Out: Dirty Burger And Ribs, Austurstræti 8, you don’t feel healthier looking at this, but it’s a burger that’s easy to take with you. They also offer “the best ham and cheese sandwich in town.” Let’s put that to the test.
Hanna Þóra Guðbrandsdóttir, soprano, Hrönn Þráinsdóttir, piano.
Take out: Bergsson Mathús, Templarasund 3, you will love this nice little place close to the pond. They serve quality food quickly and the place is so cozy you might end up staying. I recommend going after the recital so you’re not late for the show.
Well, that’s all the “Lunchtime Recitals” for this year. All of these places I recommend can be gone to sans opera. For that matter, you can go to the opera and not get take out. I’m just making a suggestion. Jesus.
If you’re looking for more opera, check out their website opera.is