Singer Gardar Thor Cortes on his perfect Surrey weekend
PUBLISHED: 17:30 07 January 2011 | UPDATED: 15:30 20 February 2013
Described as 'the James Bond of Classical Music', Gardar Thor Cortes, who hails from Iceland, has had a phenomenally successful year with a number one album, sell-out tours and a Classical Brit Award nomination. Now based in Esher, here he rev...
Originally published in Surrey Life June 2008
Described as 'the James Bond of Classical Music', Gardar Thor Cortes, who hails from Iceland, has had a phenomenally successful year with a number one album,
sell-out tours and a Classical Brit Award nomination. Now based in Esher, here he reveals how he likes to relax in the county when he has a rare weekend to himself
I originate from Iceland but I am over in the UK most of the year due to work commitments. I have actually been spending time between Iceland and the UK for most of my life as my mother is British. When I am in the UK, I reside in Esher as it is close to friends and family I have over here and I absolutely love the area! I feel right at home here; it is a beautiful county.
As I am a singer, my job is not a typical nine to five. It requires a lot of travelling around the country, and often the world, doing various performances and promoting my music, which means I very rarely get a chance to enjoy my weekends in Surrey, but when I do I relish them! I have been quite lucky over the last month as I have been putting the finishing touches to my second album, When You Say You Love Me, in Esher so have been able to enjoy the delights of the area.
Because of the nature of my music, I need to rest my voice as much as I can so if I am not performing or travelling, weekends are a chance for me to wind down and rest rather than partying - even though it is tempting sometimes! I enjoy spending time with my wife as we don't often get a chance to see each other as we are so busy.
A typical weekend in Surrey for me would definitely have to include a meal at Yoshi Sushi in New Malden. I love Japanese food and I like the fact that Yoshi Sushi isn't a restaurant chain and the food is really healthy. It really is a hidden gem - it is tucked away on the first floor of an office building and serves the best Japanese food I have ever had; it is definitely an authentic experience. I also enjoy cooking at the weekend (if I get a chance!), especially traditional Icelandic food. When I am over in the UK, I like to prepare Icelandic cod with fresh potatoes and veggies - it reminds me of home.
When the weather is nice (not that often over here!), I like doing a spot of sightseeing and I never tire of visiting Hampton Court Palace. The palace and its gardens are absolutely breathtaking, a great inspiration for my music. The history of the palace is also fascinating - it is where Henry VIII lived with his many wives. It's hard to imagine the emotions and memories associated with the palace. I was actually meant to perform at the Hampton Court Festival last summer with Lesley Garrett but unfortunately fell ill. I am delighted to have been asked to perform there again this summer in a special open air production of Carmen and I am really looking forward to it.
Sundays are one of my favourite days of the week: it is a perfect excuse to completely relax and sleep in - but not too late! I find boating on the Thames is a great activity to clear your head after a hard week at work. I try to coincide this with a lunch break at a lovely country pub: two particular favourites are The Weir and The Anglers in Walton-on-Thames.
I am going to be really busy over the summer but am definitely looking forward to my next Surrey weekend!
My Surrey Weekend is a monthly guest column in Surrey Life magazine, where we discover how some of the county's high profile characters spend their weekend. To catch up with the series, click here.