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CV - Icelandic

Bjarni Thor Kristinsson is one of the best known Icelandic opera singers. His repertoire ranges from Mozart to Wagner and he has sung in many of the most important opera houses and concert halls of the world.
From a small Icelandic fishing village
Bjarni Thor Kristinsson 1996

Bjarni Thor was born and raised in a small village in Iceland called Garður, where fishing and the fish industry was the main occupation of the 850 inhabitants. As a child he played the flute and sang in a childrens choir and also participated in amature theatre in his hometown. At the age of 18 he started playing the guitar and soon after he took his first singing lessons.

     His first teacher was the Icelandic mezzosoprano Ragnheiður Guðmundsdóttir. He started studying in a local music school but later continued his studies with her in the capital at the Reykjavik Singing School. In the 1992 Icelandic Art Festival he sang parts of Handel's Messiah and later that year he joined the chorus of the Icelandic Opera in Reykjavík. A year later he sang his first role on stage: Saretzy in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. In 1994 Bjarni gratuated from the Reykjavik Singing School, having studied in the last semester with the Icelandic tenor Garðar Cortes senior.


Further studies in Vienna and first Engagements

In 1994 Bjarni moved to Vienna and continuted his studies at the opera department of the Hochschule für Music und Darstellende Kunst under the guidance of Helene Carusso and Curt Malm. While studying, he sung in some productions at the Wiener Kammeroper and Wiener Taschenoper. In the 1996 Reykjavik Art Festival he sang the role of the Old Man in the Icelandic opera Galdra-Loftur by Jón Ásgeirsson.

Volksoper Vienna.

     In 1997 he signed a three year contract as first bass at the Volksoper in Vienna. His debut was as Colline in Puccini's La Bohéme, followed by Sarastsro in Mozart's Magic Flute and van Bett in Lorzing's Zar und Zimmermann. His many other roles at his time included Bartolo in The Marrige of Figaro and Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni. His two greatest successes in his first season were the opening nights as Bottom in Britten's Midsummer Night's Dream and Pimen in Mussorgsky's Boris Godunow. In his second year Bjarni sang his first Wagner role: Pogner in The Meistersinger of Nürnberg on the 100th anniversary of the Vienna Volksoper to much aclaim. As of today he has already sung 11 Wagner roles.



In January 1998 Bjarni did his first "jump-in", the role of van Bett in Lorzing's Zar und Zimmermann. This was at the Berlin State Opera (unter den Linden) and marked the beginning of many performances there. In the following years Bjarni sung many new roles, both in Volksoper Vienna and in other opera houses all around Europe: Leporello in Mozart's Don Giovanni, Daland in Wagner's Flying Dutchman, Dulcamara in Donizetti's E'lisir d'amore, Geisterbote in Strauss's Frau ohne Schatten, Oroveso in Bellini's Norma and Kecal inThe Barted Bride by Smetana.


Osmin and Ochs - Bad Guys but good Roles
With Kiri Te Kanawa in the Rosenkavalier in a production in Cologne spring 2010.

Two of Bjarni´s most important roles are Osmin in Mozart's Abduction from the Serail and Baron Ochs in Strauss's Rosenkavalier. His first Rosenkavalier production was in Wiesbaden. The role of Ochs is a massive challenge for any bass. The singing range is very wide and a lot of the music is complicated to learn and difficult to sing. Bjarni has now sang over 80 performances of Ochs in Wiesbaden, Dortmund, Berlin, Dresden, Köln, Barcelona and Tokio.

     Another big challenge in the bass repertoire is the villain Osmin in Mozart's Abduction from the Serail. Bjarni's first production of this famous singspiel was at the Berlin State Opera in 2000. Other productions followed in Florence, Volksoper Vienna, Lissabon, Palermo, San Sebastian, La Coruna and in the Icelandic Opera in Reykjavik. For his performance there, Bjarni received "Griman" the Icelandic Theater Prize, as the "Singer of the Year 2007"


Many roles.... mainly Wagner
Daland and the Dutchman in Opera Rome. Bjarni and Franz Grundheber.

Over the last few years Bjarni has added many new roles to his repertoire, including Rocco in Beethoven´s Fidelio in Hamburg, Gurnemanz in Wagner´s Parsifal in Barcelona, Kaspar in Weber´s Freischütz in Tokyo and Fafner in Wagner´s Siegfried in Venice.

     As mentioned before, the first Wagner role Bjarni sang was the Goldsmith Pogner in The Meistersingers. He has now sung 11 roles from 9 opera's by the Master of Bayreuth. In the Ring he sang Wotan (in Rheingold), Fafner, Hunding and most recently Hagen. Other roles from Wagner's opera's are: Gurnemanz and Titurel in Parisfal, King Heinrich in Lohengrin, King Marke in Tristan and Isolde and Daland in the Flying Dutchman. Two roles on his "wish list" are Landgraf in Tannhäuser and Fasold in the Ring. Two Wagnerian roles for future consideration are Hans Sachs in Meistersinger and Wotan in Walküre.


Recitals and Recordings

Although Bjarni has mainly sung in opera he has also given many recitals. He has worked with two of the leading Icelandic accompanists, Jónas Ingimundarson and Ástríður Alda Sigurðardóttir for many years, most recently Schubert's Winterreise with Mrs. Sigurðardóttir in the Salurinn Iceland. At the same concert hall in 2001 Bjarni produced and sang in a concert called "King, Fool and Villlain - the Bass and all his different roles". This concert, accompanied by the Austrian pianist Franz Carda, was a huge success in Iceland. To quote a review in Morgunblaðið (The Morning Paper),"...in the future people will remember this recital as one of the milestones in Icelandic music history (transl.)"

     As well as recitals and opera, Bjarni has sung many different masses and oratorios, both in Iceland and abroad. In Vienna he sang in Muskverein and Konzerthaus, in Paris in Salle Pleyel and in Berlin in the Philharmonie. His concert repertoire includes Mozart's and Verdi's Requiem, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis and Edda 1 by the Icelandic composer Jón Leifs. These last two were both recorded. In May 2011 Bjarni sang Beethoven's 9th in Harpa, the new Concert Hall in Reykjavik at the opening cermony under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy.


Future Engagements
Future Engagements include Sparafucile in Verdi's Rigoletto and Pogner in Wagner's Meistersinger in Cologne, Fafner in Wagner's Rheingold in Barcelona and Edda 2 with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra in Harpa Reykjavik.
Festspielhaus Baden Baden
TITUREL (Parsifal)
Staatsoper unter den Linden Berlin

BARTOLO (Le nozze di Figaro)

BARON OCHS (Der Rosenkavalier)

OSMIN (Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail)

van BETT (Zar und Zimmermann)



IL RE (Aida)

FRATE (Don Carlo)

BONZO (Madame Butterfly)

Staatstheater Dortmund
BARON OCHS (Der Rosenkavalier)
Semperoper Dresden
BARON OCHS (Rosenkavalier)
Deutsche Oper am Rhein Dusseldorf

ROOCO (Fidelio)

Oper Frankfurt
Hamburgische Staastoepr

ROCCO (Fidelio)

RIEDINGER (Mathis der Maler)

Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe
WOTAN (Das Rheingold)
Oper Köln

BARON OCHS (Der Rosenkavalier)

VEIT POGNER (Die Meistersinger)


DOKTOR (Wozzeck)

DULCAMARA (L'elisir d'Amore)

Bayerische Staatsoper Munchen

FAFNER (Das Rheingold)

FAFNER (Siegfried)

Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden
BARON OCHS (Der Rosenkavalier)
Opera Bari
HAGEN (Gotterdammerung)
Teatro Malibran Firenze
OSMIN (Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail)
La Fenice - Feneyjum
FAFNER (Siegfried)
Teatro Lirico di Cagliari

SARASTRO (Die Zauberflöte)

Teatro Massimo Palermo


OSMIN (Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail

SPRECHER (Die Zauberflöte)

Teatro dell' Opera Roma
DALAND (Der fliegende Hollander)
Teatro Filarmonico Verona
DALAND (Der fliegende Hollander)
Mozart Festival La Coruna
OSMIN (Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail)
Teatro Liceu Barcelona

BARON OCHS (Rosenkavalier)

GURNEMANZ (Parsifal)

TITUREL (Parsifal)

DALAND (Der fliegende Hollander)

Festival San Sebastian
OSMIN(Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail)
Teatro Maestranza Sevilla
EREMIT (der Freischutz)
Landestheater Salzburg (Festspielhaus)
DALAND (Der fliegende Hollander)
Volksoper Wien

ZETTEL (Ein Sommernachtstraum)

PIMEN (Boris Godunow)

POGNER (Die Meistersinger)

OSMIN (Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail)

KECAL (Die verkaufte Braut)

DULACAMARA (L'elisir d'amore)

DON ALFONSO (Cosi fan tutte)

BARTOLO (Le Nozze di Figaro)

LEPORELLO (Don Giovanni)


SARASTRO (Die Zauberflote)

FALSTAFF (Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor)

COLLINE (La Boheme)

van BETT (Zar und Zimmermann)

DON ANDREAS (La Perichole)


SELIM (Turco in Italia)


Wiener Konzerthaus
RIEDINGER (Mathis der Maler)
Kammeroper Wien

CRESPEL (Hoffman)


Wiener Taschenoper
CHARON (Orpheus)
Opera Nancy
Opera Bastille Paris
GEISTERBOTE (Frau ohne Schatten)
Opera Garnier Paris
Chicago Lyric Opera

SARASTRO (Die Zauberflöte)


TITUREL (Parsifal)

New Natonal Theater Tokio
KASPAR (Der Freischutz)
New Japan Philharmonic Tokio

KÖNIG MARKE (Tristan und Isolde)

BARON OCHS (Der Rosenkavalier)

Íslenska óperan Reykjavík

GAMLI MAÐURINN (Galdra-Loftur)

SARASTRO (Die Zauberflöte)

OSMIN (Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail

DULCAMARA (L'elisir d'amore)

ZUNIGA (Carmen)


ÓÐE MAÐURINN (Í óðamansgarði)

Teatro Sao Carlo Lissabon

OSMIN (Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail)


HUNDING (Die Walkure)

Teatr Wielki Warszawa


Royal Opera Liege

WOTAN (Das Rheingold)

Opéra Monte-Carlo