The Icelandic mezzo-soprano Gudrún Ólafsdóttir studied at the Reykjavík College of Music under Rut Magnússon, before moving to London, where she completed a Master of Music degree and the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, studying with Professor Laura Sarti. She then furthered her studies with mezzo-soprano Alicia Nafé in Madrid.
Gudrún has won numerous prizes for her singing, including The Miriam Licette Scholarship at The Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Schubert Lieder Prize at the Guildhall, a Madeline Finden Memorial Trust Award at the Royal Academy of Music, third prize in Concorso Vocale Internazionale di Musica Sacra, Rome, the Prize for the Best Performer of Joaquín Rodrigo’s Music in the Joaquín Rodrigo Competition in Madrid, the Lieder Prize in the Zamora International Singing Competition in Spain and the Kathleen Ferrier Song Prize at Wigmore Hall in London.
She has sung the title role in Montsalvatge’s opera El Gato con Botas (Puss in Boots) for Teatro Real in Madrid. In Spain, Ireland and the UK she has performed the title role in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Rosina in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Dido in Purcells’ Dido and Aenas, Dorabella in Mozart’s Cosí fan tutte, Arbace in Arne’s Artaxerxes, Joacim in Handel’s Susanna, Magdelone in Nielsen’s Maskarade and Lazuli in Chabrier’s L’étoile. In Iceland she has performed Prince Orlowsky in J. Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Sesto in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito, the title role in Bizet’s Carmen and the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss.
Gudrún has a special affinity with art songs and performs regularly in recital. She has offered world premières of new works by composers of different nationalities, who have composed their works especially for her. She has given concerts in Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Luxembourg, the Faroe Islands, Malta, Italy, the UK, Bulgaria, Belgium, Holland, Russia and Spain in such halls as the Teatro Real and Auditorio Nacional de Música in Madrid, Bozar Henry le Boeuf Hall in Brussels, the Philharmonia Glinka Hall in St. Petersburg and the Royal Festival Hall in London. She has performed with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, the Bach Ensemble, the Ísafold Chamber Orchestra, Caput, the orchestra Schola Camerata, Sonor Ensemble, the Symphony Orchestras of La Mancha and Albacete, Nordic Affect, Camerata del Prado, La Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid, the St Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra.
12 tónar has released two solo albums featuring Gudrún’s singing: Grieg-Schumann with pianist Víkingur Ólafsson and Mine is Yours – Icelandic and Spanish Songs with classical guitarist Francisco Javier Jáuregui. Other recordings include the oratorio “Unto us a child is born” by John Speight with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, a selection of songs by Sigvaldi Kaldalóns with pianist Jónas Ingimundarson, Apocrypha by Hugi Gudmundsson and various recordings for The Icelandic National Radio, The Icelandic National Television, BBC Radio 3, The Spanish National Television and The Spanish National Radio, Radio Clásica. Upcoming CD releases include Sir John Tavener’s Iero Oniro, Áskell Másson’s YMNI, Haukur Tómasson’s Grannmetislög and Hjálmar H. Ragnarsson’s Vocalise.