At the successful opening weekend of the Festival of Sacred Arts 2015, the spirit of the baroque-era prevailed.
The opening ceremony on Friday was a most festive event, the church was cramfull of guests listening with interest to excerpts from Handel´s magnificent oratorio Solomon and taking a look at Helgi Thorgils Fridjonsson´s new paintings and sculptures that are exhibited in the annex and the apse of the church –some even floating in mid-air in the nave itself.
However, it was the baroque dancers that stole the limelight. All members of the Hallgrimskirkja Motet Choir, they danced an elegant hornpipe in full baroque dress to live music provided by a baroque orchestra and were well cheered.
The oratorio Solomon was Iceland-premiered on Saturday and Sunday under the conduction of Hordur Askelsson, cantor of Hallgrimskirkja. Again the church was jam-packed and it was hard to see who enjoyed the concert more, the performers or the audience. At least the standing ovation after Sunday´s concert goes down in Hallgrimskirkja history as probably the loudest one ever. It could not be heard that the audience was at all tired after a three-and-a-half-hour long concert!
British countertenor Robin Blaze´s delightful voice certainly contributed to this unforgettable performance, so did the supple and musical playing of wonderful The Hague International Baroque Orchestra, the Icelandic soloists all were brilliant in their roles and the choir was at once professional and radiating true joy over Handel´s glorious music.