A celebration of the timeless jewels that have been passed on from generation to generation, this recital offers beloved folk songs from three countries that are all connected by the Atlantic Ocean: Iceland, Ireland and Spain. The programme features such veritable poetic and musical treasures as “Down By the Salley Gardens“ to a poem by W.B. Yeats, Federico García Lorca’a arrangement of “Nana de Sevilla” and one of Iceland’s most cherished folk songs, “Vísur Vatnsenda-Rósu“ to poems by the country‘s favorite poetess Rósa Gudmundsdóttir. The Duo will also present folk songs in Castilian, Basque, Valencian and Ladino, the language of Spain‘s Jews before their expulsion in 1492. Many of the songs can be found on the Duo‘s CDs “Mine is Yours“ and “Secretos quiero descubrir“.
About the artists
Described as “a singer of a singer of high intelligence, feisty character and captivating vocal colour” (Hilary Finch, the Times), the Icelandic mezzo-soprano Gudrún Ólafsdóttir has performed across Europe and in Latin America in such halls as Bozar’s Henry le Boeuf Hall in Brussels, Auditorio Nacional de Música de Madrid, Teatro Real, the Buenos Aires Coliseo, St. Petersburg’s Philharmonia’s Glinka Hall and the Royal Festival Hall in London. Known for her “wonderful stage presence” (Warwick Thompson, Metro Life) and direct communication with the audience, she has performed with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Sonor Ensemble, Caput, La Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid, the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. She has sung the title role in Montsalvatge’s opera El Gato con Botas for Teatro Real in Madrid. Other operatic roles include Cenerentola, Dorabella, Rosina, Romeo, Lazuli, Prince Orlowsky, Purcell’s Dido, Mozart’s Sesto and Der Komponist.
Gudrún 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 Joaquín Rodrigo Prize in Madrid, the Lieder Prize in the Zamora International Singing Competition in Spain, the Miriam Licette Scholarship at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, third prize in Concorso Vocale Internazionale di Musica Sacra in Rome and the Kathleen Ferrier Song Prize at the Wigmore Hall in London.
An exponent of new music, Gudrún has offered world premières of works by a number of composers of different nationalities, who have composed their works especially for her. She created the role of Ingibjörg in the acclaimed opera Ragnheiður by Gunnar Thórdarson. Her numerous CDs include Grieg-Schumann, Mine is Yours – Icelandic and Spanish Songs, Unto Us, Sigvaldi Kaldalóns: Ég lít í anda liðna tíð, Grannmetislög, Apocrypha (Classical CD of the Year, Icelandic Music Prize), Iepo Oneipo – Sacred Dream (Editor’s Choice Gramophone Magazine), Áskell Másson Ymni (Naxos), English and Scottish Romantic Songs for Voice and Guitar (EMEC Discos) and Secretos quiero descubrir – Spanish Music for Voice, Violin and Guitar.
Born in Oxford (England), Francisco Javier Jáuregui began to study classical guitar at the age of seven with Kenton Youngstrom at the Community School of Performing Arts (today known as the Colburn School of Music in Los Angeles, California. After moving to Madrid he continued his studies with Agustín Maruri and later with Óscar López, also attending master-classes with teachers like Pepe and Celedonio Romero.
After obtaining his Licenciate Diploma from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music he went to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, supported by the Leverhulme Trust, where he obtained a Masters Degree of Music in Performance (Advanced Instrumental Studies). At Guildhall he studied guitar with Professor Robert Brightmore, theorbo and chamber music with David Miller and improvisation with David Dolan.
Francisco Javier has played many recitals both as a solo performer and with different chamber combinations in Spain, England, Italy, France, Iceland, Russia, Scotland, Germany, Austria, Malta and Southeast Asia in venues such as the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Society Chamber (Glinka) Hall, St Martin-in-the-Fields, the Linbury Studio Theatre Royal Opera House, Covent Garden), St. James’s Palace (London), the Royal Palace of El Pardo and the Auditorio Nacional de Música de Madrid. He has performed guitar concertos by Vivaldi and Rodrigo (Concierto de Aranjuez) with the Schola Camerata orchestra conducted by José María Mañero and Semioesferas by Delfín Colomé with Sonor Ensemble (a group formed by members of the National Orchestra of Spain and conducted by Luis Aguirre). He has also collaborated with the Saint Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra conducted by Alexis Soriano in Agustín Castilla-Ávila’s Ceres.
A large part of the music the Francisco Javier performs is music that he has arranged or composed himself. He has transcribed a number of works for different chamber combinations with guitar and has made a large number of original arrangements based around folk melodies from different parts of the world. The bulk of his work has been for ensembles of which he is a member but he has also written music for groups like Sonor Ensemble, a Madrid-based ensemble made up of members of Spain’s National Orchestra, pianist Sebastián Mariné and Conductor Luis Aguirre.
His interest in expanding the guitar’s reprtoire, particularly with respect to chamber music has led him to collaborate with composers such as Agustín Castilla-Ávila, David del Puerto, Hugi Gudmundsson, Karl Nicklas Gustavsson, Marisa Manchado-Torres, Þóra Marteinsdóttir, Polina Medyulyanova, Alfonso Molina, Eduardo Morales-Caso, Þorkell Sigurbjornsson, Hideyuki Takemoto, and Haukur Tómasson.
He has recorded three CDs with mezzo-soprano Gudrún Ólafsdóttir: Mine is Yours – Icelandic and Spanish songs (12 Tonar, 2008), English and Scottish Romantic Songs for voice and guitar (EMEC Discos, 2013) and Secretos Quiero Descubrir (Abu Records, 2014) which also features violinist Elena Jáuregui. Mine is Yours and Secretos Quiero Descubrir include a number of Jáuregui’s own arrangements and compositions.