I don't know what Harpa means in Icelandic, maybe harp, but this place in the harbour, which the name sounds like has resonance with all of the country, clear skies, yellow sunsets, crysrtal waters, ice, waterfalls and music. Each time we saw it from the outside a different ship was reflected in its windows, like an ever changing masterpiece. There were countless reflections and refractions inside from its prismic glass walls and shining interior surfaces.
Every Icelandic we met criticised the government for continuing with this building when the finance disappeared during the recession. They felt it was not to serve the people, who were now footing the bill through their heavy taxes. One has to have sympathy with this view, as it is vastly out of scale and seemed such a magnificent empty space much of the time. Obviously it's free to visit but you pay for concerts, shows and the restaurant. We went there to see "How to be Icelandic in 60 minutes", which I can thoroughly recommend as a very humorous summary of the national psyche. It evidently resonated with the locals in front of us as well as the many foreigners in the audience as they laughed heartily at this picture of themselves. The superb auditorium was full, happily. I do hope that eventually the people will embrace this magnificent building, support it by going to concerts and use the space to better advantage. A capital city deserves a stunning building and this one has been so well designed inside and out.
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