Opera singer. Born in Northern Iceland as Stefán Guðmundsson, he is considered the country's greatest tenor singer of the 20th century. He was the oldest of three children of a poor farm worker and his wife. When the boy was nine years old his father died in an accident, and he was brought up on a nearby farm. It was soon discovered that he was endowed with an exceptional singing voice, and when he came to Reykjavík at the age of nineteen he began taking singing lessons. A wealthy trawler owner volunteered to pay for his musical education in Italy where he studied in Milan from 1930 to 1933. In 1933 he made his debut as Cavaradossi in "Tosca" impressing the audience with his warm voice and his artistic temperament. The Italian press gave him the name Stefano Islandi. The following years up to WWII he toured his home country and many European countries. In 1940 he was engaged at the Royal Opera House in Copenhagen, Denmark, and became a Royal Court Singer in 1949. In the years after the war he also performed in the United States and Canada and appeared in the first operatic production of the National Theatre in Reykjavík in 1951 as the Duke in "Rigoletto". In 1966 he settled down in Iceland after having lived abroad for more than 35 years.
Bio by: Erik Skytte