|Bryn Terfel CBE|
Terfel in September 2010
|Born||Bryn Terfel Jones
9 November 1965
Pant Glas, Caernarfonshire, Wales, UK
|Occupation||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 Don Giovanni, but has subsequently shifted his attention to heavier roles, especially those by Wagner.
Bryn Terfel Jones was born in Pant Glas, Caernarfonshire, North Wales, the son of a farmer. His first language is Welsh. He knew of another Welsh baritone named Bryn Jones, so chose Bryn Terfel as his professional name. He 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, he 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 Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff but when the reply was addressed to "Miss Terfel" he was so annoyed that a Welsh college did not know Bryn was a man's name that he switched to London.) He graduated in 1989, winning both the Kathleen Ferrier Memorial Award and the Gold Medal. The same year he came second behind Dmitri Hvorostovsky in the Cardiff BBC Singer of the World Competition, but won the Lieder Prize.
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 he made his United States début as Figaro at the Santa Fe Opera.
In 1992 Terfel made his Royal Opera House, Covent Garden début as Masetto in Don Giovanni, with Thomas Allen in the title role. That same year he 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. He 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. Terfel has said that he would like to record "an album of Gilbert and Sullivan arias".
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, he 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. These performances won him the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for the singer of the year.
In 1997 Terfel made his La Scala début as Figaro. In 1998, he had a recital at Carnegie Hall which included works by Wolf, Fauré, Brahms, Schumann, Schubert, and others. In 1999, he 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 6–7 April. Later, he performed the title role in a concert version of Sweeney Todd that had four performances from 5–7 July at London's Royal Festival Hall. This idea came from Terfel and his fellow bass-baritone and friend, the Irishman Dermot Malone.
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 he did successfully return to the Met in November 2007 to sing the role of Figaro. He told reporters in New York City that he will now retire Figaro from his repertoire.
He did sing the role of Wotan in Covent Garden's revival of the Ring Cycle in September to November 2012.
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.
In 2010 Terfel made his debut as Hans Sachs in Wagner's Die Meistersinger 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. 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.
Terfel took on the role of Wotan for the premiere performances of Robert Lepage's new Met staging of Wagner's Ring 2010-12. He sang the role in all three of the four Ring operas that feature Wotan: Das Rheingold, Die Walküre and Siegfried.
In September 2011 Terfel joined Andrea Bocelli in his concert at the great lawn of Central Park, New York, performing for over 70,000 people. In December 2011, he opened the season in La Scala as Leporello in Don Giovanni.
He was married to his childhood sweetheart, Lesley, until December 2012 when they separated. The couple have three children. 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
Bryn Terfel continues to be a patron of the Welsh language and Welsh culture, facets of his life which are largely unknown outside his native Wales. Terfel has been awarded the honour, by the National Eisteddfod, of membership of the Gorsedd of Bards. The Gorsedd was created in 1792 as a celebration of Welsh heritage, and 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.
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.
In February 2012 Terfel was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Music by Bangor University for services to music. On 6 July 2012 he received the degree of Doctor of Music honoris causa from the Royal College of Music, London during the College's annual graduation ceremony.
Terfel started the Faenol Festival, at the Faenol Estate near Snowdonia, Wales, in 2000. Billed as "Bryn Terfel's Faenol Festival" (often referred to as "BrynFest" or known 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 because of low public bookings, after having been voted a £250,000 grant by the Welsh Assembly.
Terfel has performed the following roles on stage:
|Donizetti||L'elisir d'amore||Dulcamara||2001||Yes (DVD)|
|Mozart||Così fan tutte||Guglielmo||1991||No|
|Mozart||Don Giovanni||Don Giovanni||1999–present||Yes|
|Mozart||Le nozze di Figaro||Figaro||1991–2007||Yes|
|Offenbach||Les contes d'Hoffmann||Four Villains||2000||Yes (DVD)|
|Puccini||Gianni Schicchi||Gianni Schicchi||2007||No|
|R. Strauss||Die Frau ohne Schatten||Der Geisterbote||1992||Yes|
|Sondheim||Sweeney Todd||Sweeney Todd||2002–present||No|
|Stravinsky||The Rake's Progress||Nick Shadow||1996–2000||Yes|
|Wagner||Das Rheingold||Wotan||2005–present||Yes- DVD and Blu-ray.|
|Wagner||Die Walküre||Wotan||2005–present||Yes- DVD and Blu-ray.|
|Wagner||Siegfried||The Wanderer||2011–present||Yes- DVD and Blu-ray.|
|Wagner||Der fliegende Holländer||Holländer||2006–present||No|
|Wagner||Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg||Hans Sachs||2010||Concert staging of Welsh National Opera production broadcast
by BBC Radio 3 and BBC Four television as part of BBC Proms
- "Bryn Terfel". Decca Records. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
- "Bryn Terfel". classicfm.co.uk. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
- The Marriner/Philips Yeomen
- Barnes & Noble.com Music - Classical Interview
- [dead link]
- "Westenra on bbc radio". 17 Sep 2003. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
- "Hayley Westenra International – That was the best festival ever in North Wales". Archive.hayley-westenra-international.com. 26 August 2003. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
- Gans, Andrew (13 June 2007). "Terfel, Friedman, Evans and Quast to Star in London Sweeney Todd". Playbill.com. Retrieved 14 June 2007.
- [dead link]
- Holden, Anthony (9 March 2008). "Don't mess with Bryn". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 27 April 2010.
- Opera Schedules from The Opera Critic
- Opera Schedules from The Opera Critic
- "Archive/Search—Event 2010-Prom 02 of 2010 season. Held at Royal Albert Hall, London on Saturday 17 July 2010 at 4:00PM.".
- "Saturday 31 July 2010". BBC Proms 2010 website. 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
- "Wagner's Das Rheingold and Die Walküre". Metropolitan Opera website. 2010. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
- Bertodano, Helena de(15 August 2013). "Bryn Terfel interview: 'Being an opera singer is easy'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
- Krebs, Lord (2008). "The Principal's Report". The Jesus College Record (Jesus College, Oxford): 7.
- BBC News - Bryn Terfel awarded Bangor University honorary doctorate
- "55th Annual GRAMMY Awards Nominees: Classical". Grammy.com. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- Breaking news: Bryn Terfel in festival crash
- "Bryn's Faenol Festival comes back... in London". bbc.co.uk. 24 January 2012. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
- "Global music festival for Faenol estate in Gwynedd". BBC News. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
- Bryn Terfel Opera Repertoire. Harlequin Agency Limited. 18 June 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2008.
- Bryn Terfel at Official Deutsche Grammophon site
- www.brynfest.com Faenol Festival
- Bryn Terfel biography from BBC Wales
- Bryn Terfel Interview at What's on in Wales