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Bryn Terfel CBE
File:Bryn Terfel.jpg
Background information
Birth name Bryn Terfel Jones
Born 9 November 1965 (1965-11-09) (age 44)
Pantglas, Gwynedd, Wales
Genres Opera,
Bass-baritone
Occupations Singer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1990–present

Bryn Terfel Jones CBE (Welsh pronunciation: [ˈbrɨn ˈtɛrvɛl]; born 9 November 1965) is a Welsh bass-baritone opera and concert singer. Terfel was initially associated with the roles of Mozart, particularly Figaro and Leporello, but he has expanded his repertoire to include heavier roles, especially those by Wagner.

Contents

Biography

Bryn Terfel Jones was born in Pant Glas, North Wales, the son of a farmer. He knew of another Welsh baritone named Bryn Jones, so Terfel chose Bryn Terfel as his professional name. Terfel had an interest in and talent for music from a very young age. A family friend taught him how to sing, starting with traditional Welsh songs. After winning numerous competitions for his singing, Terfel moved to London in 1984 and entered the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he studied under Rudolf Piernay. (He has recorded that he initially applied to the music college in Cardiff but when the reply was addressed to ‘Miss Terfel’ he was so annoyed a Welsh College did not know Bryn was a man’s name he switched to London). He graduated in 1989, winning both the Kathleen Ferrier Memorial Award and the Gold Medal. He came in second behind Dmitri Hvorostovsky in the Cardiff BBC Singer of the World Competition the same year, though he won the Lieder Prize.

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Career

In 1990, Terfel made his operatic début as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte at the Welsh National Opera, and later in the same season he sang the title role in The Marriage of Figaro, a role with which he made his debut with the English National Opera in 1991. His international operatic career began that same year when he sang the Speaker in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels and made his United States début as Figaro at the Santa Fe Opera.

In 1992, he made his Royal Opera House, Covent Garden début as Masetto in Don Giovanni, with Thomas Allen in the title role. That same year Terfel made his Salzburg Easter Festival debut singing the role of the Spirit Messenger in Die Frau ohne Schatten. This was followed by an international breakthrough at the main Salzburg Festival when he sang Jochanaan in Strauss's Salome. Terfel went on to make his début as Figaro at the Vienna State Opera and his debut at Covent Garden as Masetto in Don Giovanni. That year, he also signed an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon, and returned to the Welsh National Opera to sing Ford in Falstaff. In 1993, he recorded the role of Wilfred Shadbolt in The Yeomen of the Guard, by Gilbert and Sullivan and sang Figaro to acclaim at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.[1] Terfel has said that he would like to record "an album of Gilbert and Sullivan arias".[2][3]

In 1994, Terfel sang Figaro at Covent Garden, and made both his Metropolitan Opera and Teatro Nacional de São Carlos débuts in the same role. He also sang Mahler's Eighth Symphony at the Ravinia Festival under the baton of James Levine. However, back surgery in 1994 (and again in 2000) prevented him from performing in several scheduled events. In 1996, Terfel expanded his repertoire to include Wagner, singing Wolfram in Tannhäuser at the Metropolitan Opera, and Stravinsky, singing Nick Shadow in The Rake's Progress at the Welsh National Opera.

In 1997, Terfel made his La Scala début as Figaro. In 1998, Bryn had a recital at Carnegie Hall which included works by Wolf, Fauré, Brahms, Schumann, Schubert, and others. In 1999, Terfel performed in Paris the title role of Don Giovanni for the first time and sang his first Falstaff at the Lyric Opera of Chicago; the latter of which he reprised in the inaugural production at the newly refurbished Royal Opera House.

In 2007, Terfel performed at the opening gala concert for the re-dedication of the Salt Lake Tabernacle with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on April 6-7. Later, Terfel performed the title role in a concert version of Sweeney Todd that had four performances from July 5 to July 7 at London's Royal Festival Hall. This was the idea of he and his fellow bass-baritone and friend, the Irishman Dermot Malone.[4]

Terfel has not shied away from popular music either. He has recorded CDs of songs by Lerner and Loewe and Rodgers and Hammerstein. In 2001 he commissioned and performed Atgof o'r Ser ('The Memory of Stars') in the National Eisteddfod with the composer Robat Arwyn.

In September 2007, Terfel withdrew to severe criticism from Covent Garden's Ring Cycle when his six-year-old son required several operations on his finger. But the singer did successfully return to the Met in November 2007 to sing the role of Figaro.[5] He told reporters in New York that he will now retire Figaro from his repertoire.

Terfel intended to take 2008 as a sabbatical from opera performances, but broke this to take the title role in WNO's revival of Falstaff. He had sung in this production in 1993, when he played the role of Ford.[6]

In 2009 Terfel will sing Scarpia and the Dutchman for the Royal Opera House.[7][8]

Personal life

He is married to his childhood sweetheart, Lesley; the couple have three children: Tomos, Morgan, and Deio Sion. In September 2007, Terfel drew criticism after pulling out from Covent Garden's Ring Cycle when his six-year-old son Deio had to have three operations on a badly broken finger.[9]

The family lives in Bontnewydd, near Caernarfon, Gwynedd. Terfel was a leading petitioner in the creation of Bontnewydd railway station on the rebuilt Welsh Highland Railway, and in part sponsored its construction.

Honours and awards

Terfel has been awarded the honour, by the Eisteddfod, of becoming a member of the Gorsedd of Bards. Created in 1792 as celebration of Welsh heritage, Gorsedd inductees are considered to have contributed to Welsh culture.

In 2003, Terfel became a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, receiving the honour from the Prince of Wales. In 2006, he became the second recipient of the Queen's Medal for Music (the previous recipient was conductor Sir Charles Mackerras). In 2008, he was appointed an Honorary Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford.[10]

Terfel is also President of the Welsh homelessness charity Shelter Cymru and is Patron of Bobath Children's Therapy Centre Wales, a registered charity based in Cardiff which provides specialist Bobath therapy to children from all over Wales who have cerebral palsy.

Faenol Festival

Starting in 2000, Terfel started the Faenol Festival near Snowdonia in Wales. Billed as "Bryn Terfel's Faenol Festival" (often referred to as "BrynFest" or known locally in Welsh as "Gŵyl Y Faenol"), it turned into an annual music festival featuring internationally famous opera singers as well as popular Welsh artists. In the same year he released We'll Keep a Welcome - The Welsh Album, an anthology of favourite traditional songs.

Operatic repertoire

These are roles that Terfel has performed on stage[11]

Composer Opera Role In repertoire Recorded
Britten Peter Grimes Balstrode 1995 No
Donizetti L'elisir d'amore Dulcamara 2001 Yes (dvd)
Gounod Faust Mephistopheles 2004 No
Mozart Così fan tutte Guglielmo 1991 No
Mozart Don Giovanni Masetto 1992 Yes
Mozart Don Giovanni Leporello 1991 Yes
Mozart Don Giovanni Don Giovanni 1999 – Yes
Mozart Die Zauberflöte Speaker 1991 No
Mozart Le nozze di Figaro Figaro 1991 – 2007 Yes
Offenbach Les contes d'Hoffmann Four male roles 2000 Yes (dvd)
Puccini Gianni Schicchi Gianni Schicchi 2007 No
Puccini Tosca Scarpia Yes
Puccini Madama Butterfly Sharpless 1996 No
Richard Strauss Die Frau ohne Schatten Der Geisterbote 1992 Yes
Richard Strauss Salome Jochanaan 1993 Yes
Sondheim Sweeney Todd Sweeney Todd 2002 – No
Stravinsky The Rake's Progress Nick Shadow 1996 – 2000 Yes
Stravinsky Oedipus Rex Creon 1992 Yes
Verdi Falstaff Falstaff 1999 – Yes
Verdi Falstaff Ford 1993 No
Wagner Das Rheingold Donner 1993 No
Wagner Das Rheingold Wotan 2005 – No
Wagner Die Walküre Wotan 2005 – No
Wagner Tannhäuser Wolfram 1998 No
Wagner Der fliegende Holländer Holländer 2006 – No

References

External links


Bryn Terfel CBE
Birth name Bryn Terfel Jones
Born 9 November 1965 (1965-11-09) (age 45)
Pant Glas, Gwynedd,
United Kingdom
Occupations Opera singer (Bass-baritone)
Years active 1990–present

Bryn Terfel Jones CBE (Welsh pronunciation: [ˈbrɨn ˈtɛrvɛl]; born 9 November 1965) is a Welsh bass-baritone opera and concert singer. Terfel was initially associated with the roles of Mozart, particularly Figaro and Leporello, but has subsequently shifted his attention to heavier roles, especially those by Wagner.

Contents

Biography

Bryn Terfel Jones was born in Pant Glas, North Wales, the son of a farmer. He knew of another Welsh baritone named Bryn Jones, so Terfel chose Bryn Terfel as his professional name. Terfel had an interest in and talent for music from a very young age. A family friend taught him how to sing, starting with traditional Welsh songs. After winning numerous competitions for his singing, Terfel moved to London in 1984 and entered the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he studied under Rudolf Piernay. (He has recorded that he initially applied to the music college in Cardiff but when the reply was addressed to ‘Miss Terfel’ he was so annoyed a Welsh College did not know Bryn was a man's name he switched to London). He graduated in 1989, winning both the Kathleen Ferrier Memorial Award and the Gold Medal. He came in second behind Dmitri Hvorostovsky in the Cardiff BBC Singer of the World Competition the same year, though he won the Lieder Prize.

Career

In 1990, Terfel made his operatic début as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte at the Welsh National Opera, and later in the same season he sang the title role in The Marriage of Figaro, a role with which he made his debut with the English National Opera in 1991. His international operatic career began that same year when he sang the Speaker in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels and made his United States début as Figaro at the Santa Fe Opera.

In 1992, he made his Royal Opera House, Covent Garden début as Masetto in Don Giovanni, with Thomas Allen in the title role. That same year Terfel made his Salzburg Easter Festival debut singing the role of the Spirit Messenger in Die Frau ohne Schatten. This was followed by an international breakthrough at the main Salzburg Festival when he sang Jochanaan in Strauss's Salome. Terfel went on to make his début as Figaro at the Vienna State Opera and his debut at Covent Garden as Masetto in Don Giovanni. That year, he also signed an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon, and returned to the Welsh National Opera to sing Ford in Falstaff. In 1993, he recorded the role of Wilfred Shadbolt in The Yeomen of the Guard, by Gilbert and Sullivan and sang Figaro to acclaim at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.[1] Terfel has said that he would like to record "an album of Gilbert and Sullivan arias".[2][3]

In 1994, Terfel sang Figaro at Covent Garden, and made both his Metropolitan Opera and Teatro Nacional de São Carlos débuts in the same role. He also sang Mahler's Eighth Symphony at the Ravinia Festival under the baton of James Levine. However, back surgery in 1994 (and again in 2000) prevented him from performing in several scheduled events. In 1996, Terfel expanded his repertoire to include Wagner, singing Wolfram in Tannhäuser at the Metropolitan Opera, and Stravinsky, singing Nick Shadow in The Rake's Progress at the Welsh National Opera.

In 1997, Terfel made his La Scala début as Figaro. In 1998, Bryn had a recital at Carnegie Hall which included works by Wolf, Fauré, Brahms, Schumann, Schubert, and others. In 1999, Terfel performed in Paris the title role of Don Giovanni for the first time and sang his first Falstaff at the Lyric Opera of Chicago; the latter of which he reprised in the inaugural production at the newly refurbished Royal Opera House.

In 2007, Terfel performed at the opening gala concert for the re-dedication of the Salt Lake Tabernacle with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on April 6–7. Later, Terfel performed the title role in a concert version of Sweeney Todd that had four performances from July 5 to July 7 at London's Royal Festival Hall. This was the idea of him and his fellow bass-baritone and friend, the Irishman Dermot Malone.[4]

Terfel has not shied away from popular music either. He has recorded CDs of songs by Lerner and Loewe and Rodgers and Hammerstein. In 2001 he commissioned and performed Atgof o'r Ser ('The Memory of Stars') in the National Eisteddfod with the composer Robat Arwyn.

In September 2007, Terfel withdrew, to severe criticism, from Covent Garden's Ring Cycle when his six-year-old son required several operations on his finger. But the singer did successfully return to the Met in November 2007 to sing the role of Figaro.[5] He told reporters in New York that he will now retire Figaro from his repertoire.

Terfel intended to take 2008 as a sabbatical from opera performances, but broke this to take the title role in WNO's revival of Falstaff. He had sung in this production in 1993, when he played the role of Ford.[6]

In 2009 Terfel sang Scarpia and the Dutchman for the Royal Opera House.[7][8]

In 2010, Terfel made his debut as Hans Sachs in Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in a production for Welsh National Opera, in Cardiff and on tour. On 17 July 2010, the cast of this production gave a "concert staging" at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the 2010 BBC Proms, which was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and on BBC Four television.[9] On 31 July, again at the Proms, he performed in a concert from the Royal Albert Hall celebrating the works of Stephen Sondheim, in his 80th birthday year.[10] On 27 September he led the opening of the Met's new season in New York singing Wotan in the premiere of the production of Das Rheingold that begins Robert Lepage's, and the Met's, new staging of the complete Wagner Ring; he continues with Die Walküre in spring 2011.[11]

Personal life

He is married to his childhood sweetheart, Lesley; the couple have three children: Tomos, Morgan, and Deio Sion.

The family lives in Bontnewydd, near Caernarfon, Gwynedd. Terfel was a leading petitioner in the creation of Bontnewydd railway station on the rebuilt Welsh Highland Railway, and in part sponsored its construction.

Honours and awards

Terfel has been awarded the honour, by the Eisteddfod, of becoming a member of the Gorsedd of Bards. Created in 1792 as celebration of Welsh heritage, Gorsedd inductees are considered to have contributed to Welsh culture.

In 2003, Terfel became a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, receiving the honour from the Prince of Wales. In 2006, he became the second recipient of the Queen's Medal for Music (the previous recipient was conductor Sir Charles Mackerras). In 2008, he was appointed an Honorary Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford.[12]

Terfel is also President of the Welsh homelessness charity Shelter Cymru and is Patron of Bobath Children's Therapy Centre Wales, a registered charity based in Cardiff which provides specialist Bobath therapy to children from all over Wales who have cerebral palsy.

Faenol Festival

Starting in 2000, Terfel started the Faenol Festival near Snowdonia in Wales. Billed as "Bryn Terfel's Faenol Festival" (often referred to as "BrynFest" or known locally in Welsh as "Gŵyl Y Faenol"), it turned into an annual music festival featuring internationally famous opera singers as well as popular Welsh artists. In the same year he released We'll Keep a Welcome - The Welsh Album, an anthology of favourite traditional songs. In 2009 and again in 2010, he was forced to cancel the festival due to low public bookings, after having been voted a £250,000 grant by the Welsh Assembly.[13]

Operatic repertoire

These are roles that Terfel has performed on stage[14]

ComposerOperaRoleIn repertoireRecorded
BrittenPeter GrimesBalstrode1995No
DonizettiL'elisir d'amoreDulcamara2001Yes (dvd)
GounodFaustMephistopheles2004No
MozartCosì fan tutteGuglielmo1991No
MozartDon GiovanniMasetto1992Yes
MozartDon GiovanniLeporello1991Yes
MozartDon GiovanniDon Giovanni1999 –Yes
MozartDie ZauberflöteSpeaker1991No
MozartLe nozze di FigaroFigaro1991–2007Yes
OffenbachLes contes d'HoffmannFour male roles2000Yes (dvd)
PucciniGianni SchicchiGianni Schicchi2007No
PucciniToscaScarpiaYes
PucciniMadama ButterflySharpless1996No
Richard StraussDie Frau ohne SchattenDer Geisterbote1992Yes
Richard StraussSalomeJochanaan1993Yes
SondheimSweeney ToddSweeney Todd2002 –No
StravinskyThe Rake's ProgressNick Shadow1996–2000Yes
StravinskyOedipus RexCreon1992Yes
VerdiFalstaffFalstaff1999 –Yes
VerdiFalstaffFord1993No
WagnerDas RheingoldDonner1993No
WagnerDas RheingoldWotan2005 –No
WagnerDie WalküreWotan2005 –No
WagnerTannhäuserWolfram1998No
WagnerDer fliegende HolländerHolländer2006 –No
WagnerDie Meistersinger von NürnbergHans Sachs2010Concert staging of Welsh National Opera production broadcast by BBC Radio 3 and BBC Four television as part of BBC Proms

References

  1. ^ The Marriner/Philips Yeomen
  2. ^ Barnes & Noble.com Music - Classical Interview
  3. ^ http://www.terfeliaid.co.uk/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=89
  4. ^ Gans, Andrew (2007-06-13). "Terfel, Friedman, Evans and Quast to Star in London Sweeney Todd". Playbill.com. http://www.playbill.com/news/article/108765.html. Retrieved 2007-06-14 
  5. ^ http://www.forumopera.com/concerts/nozze_met071201.html
  6. ^ Holden, Anthony (2008-03-09). "Don't mess with Bryn". The Guardian (London). http://music.guardian.co.uk/classical/livereviews/story/0,,2263640,00.html. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  7. ^ Opera Schedules from The Opera Critic
  8. ^ Opera Schedules from The Opera Critic
  9. ^ "Archive/Search—Event 2010-Prom 02 of 2010 season. Held at Royal Albert Hall, London on Saturday 17 July 2010 at 4:00PM.". http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/archive/search/event.shtml?id=7062&tab=search&sub_tab=season. 
  10. ^ "Saturday 31 July 2010". BBC Proms 2010 website. 2010. http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/2010/whatson/3107.shtml. Retrieved 13 May 2010. 
  11. ^ "Wagner's Das Rheingold and Die Walküre". Metropolitan Opera website. 2010. http://http://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/news/features/detail.aspx?id=11562. Retrieved 27 November 2010. 
  12. ^ Krebs, Lord (2008). [Expression error: Unexpected < operator "The Principal's Report"]. The Jesus College Record (Jesus College, Oxford): 7. 
  13. ^ http://www.artsjournal.com/slippeddisc/2010/08/breaking_news_bryn_terfel_in_f.html
  14. ^ Bryn Terfel Opera Repertoire. Harlequin Agency Limited. 2008-06-18. http://www.harlequin-agency.co.uk/index.php?page=12&action=repertoire&id=50&type=operatic. Retrieved 2008-06-18 

External links


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