Hugi Gudmundsson’s chamber opera Hamlet in Absentia is captivating and full of contrasts. Hugi combines clearly defined form with the unconventional by using leitmotifs and recitatives, arias, and choruses in his highly original music. The music captures both the drama and comedy of the libretto by Jakob Weis and the instrumentation compliments the voices superbly. The opera keeps the listener excited and entertained to the end in its liberating and informal staging.
In Gudmundsson’s mind opera is a form where contemporary music is able to connect to a broad range of listeners while the composer is still writing original music at a high artistic level and therefore has the potential to expand the territory of contemporary music.
Hugi Gudmundssson (1977) received the Icelandic Music Award in 2017 for Hamlet in Absentia.