Plans to establish an Icelandic national opera have been a topic of discussion within the Icelandic art community for many years. Now, it appears that politicians are finally willing to move forward, spearheaded by the initiative of the appointed Minister of Culture.
This effort is being undertaken in close consultation with The Federation of Icelandic Artists (BÍL), which encompasses all unions and professional associations related to opera, theater, and music, including performers, composers, directors, and musicians. Throughout this process, BÍL has stressed the importance of prioritizing professional and artistic considerations.
The work leading up to this final phase of establishing a National Opera has been ongoing for three years and involves stakeholders from across the Icelandic opera, music, and performing arts scenes. All relevant professional associations and cultural institutions that could potentially contribute to the opera’s operations have been consulted. This extensive dialogue has generated multiple scenarios, all aimed at optimizing the artistic resources available in terms of both the number of artists and the strength of cultural institutions in music and performing arts.
It’s worth acknowledging that the Icelandic Opera, which is a private company, has played a significant role in Iceland’s opera scene for the past 45 years. However, it’s important to recognize that its excellent international reputation largely stems from the professionalism and artistic abilities of artists now striving for stability and a future in the Icelandic opera field. It is unfortunate that the Icelandic Opera (ÍÓ) has chosen to distance itself from these artists, many of whom have generously devoted their work and art for decades to build up this reputation.
The Federation of Icelandic Artists deeply regrets that a petition has been initiated on this matter at such a sensitive time. This will not benefit ÍÓ; rather, it will only fuel enough political skepticism to stall and weaken the long-awaited momentum for the establishment of a real National Opera company in Iceland.