Bryn Terfel



Born: Nov 9, 1965; Wales  
The Welsh baritone Bryn Terfel rose with astonishing speed to the top ranks of international operatic stardom in the 1990s. He is known for a big, warm voice, intelligent and dramatically apt portrayals, a six-foot-three-inch frame and those intangibles that add up to star presence.
He was born Bryn Terfel Jones and was brought up in a small village near Snowdonia, speaking Welsh. Even as a small child he was busy singing; he went to
Read more various eisteddfods (singing competitions) throughout Wales, his supportive mother, Nesta, chauffeuring him around. He used the money he won to buy soccer shoes. The eisteddfods taught him to face the stage calmly. "When I went to college I was streets ahead of others because I was used to facing the public," he says. He was awarded a scholarship when he applied to London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His teachers there were Arthur Reckless and Rudolf Piernay. Since there was already a professional singer named Bryn Jones, he adopted his middle name, for his stage billing.
He won two of the main prizes for Guildhall singers: the Kathleen Ferrier Scholarship in 1988 and the 1989 Gold Medal Award. Also in 1989, he won the Lieder Prize at the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition and second prize all-around in that competition. This competition is broadcast Europe-wide, and he immediately began getting requests to sing from the leading conductors. Sir Georg Solti called him "one of the great talents of the last ten years."
Although he got offers for all sorts of repertory, he weighed them with care, with a view to preserving the voice through a long career. Although he was already being offered the role of Wotan in three of Wagner's Ring operas, he started singing such roles as Figaro, and Leporello (lighter and more lyrical roles) and Jokanaan in Strauss' Salome (a heavier, though still lyrical, one, but relatively short). He edged into Wagnerian territory in the lyrical part of Wolfram in Tannhäusser, a part known for the lovely "Song to the Evening Star." In 1992, he won the Gramophone Magazine "Young Singer of the Year" citation and the "Newcomer of the Year" award at the inaugural International Classical Music Awards in 1993.
He has added Dr. Miracle and Captain Balstrode (Britten's Peter Grimes) to his roles, moved over from Leporello to Don Giovanni, sung Nick Shadow in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, and has triumphed in Verdi's Falstaff, which he plays with notable humanity and restraint; his Falstaff is a braggart who overrates himself, but not the buffoon some other singers make him. He also sings the evil Scarpia in Tosca.
He is active on the recital and concert stage. Mendelssohn's Elijah is one of his mainstays. Songs of Handel, Vaughan Williams, Schubert, and Richard Rodgers figure in his recitals and recordings.
He remains a passionate fan of football (both soccer and rugby) and enjoys opening major international matches such as the Bledisloe Cup in Australia. When the Rugby World Cup was held in Cardiff, Wales, he opened it with a memorable duet with pop singing star Shirley Bassey of the Rugby theme song, "World In Union."
In 1999, the small Welsh island of Bardsey revived an ancient tradition (which died out in 1927) by inviting Terfel to become their honorary monarch. Even though he has conquered the world of opera -- even overcoming the dismal acoustics of the Sydney Opera House -- he remains centered on Wales, where, whenever he can, he still helps his father with the farming chores. Read less
Browse 151-156 of 156 Available Recordings
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  • 151.
    Vaughan Williams: Sancta Civitas, Dona Nobis Pacem / Hickox
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 54788 Release Date: 11/09/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Philip Langridge,  Yvonne Kenny,  Bryn Terfel
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Paul's Cathedral Choir,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 152.
    Britten: Gloriana / Barstow, Langridge, Kenny, Jones
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 440213 Release Date: 06/01/1993   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Jonathan Summers,  Bryn Terfel,  John Shirley-Quirk,  John Mark Ainsley  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Welsh National Opera Chorus,  Welsh National Opera Orchestra
    On sale! $34.98
    ArkivCD $31.99
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  • 153.
    Puccini: Tosca / Sinopoli, Freni, Domingo, Ramey
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 431775 Release Date: 09/15/1992   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Samuel Ramey,  Bryn Terfel,  Anthony Laciura,  Angelo Veccia  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra
    CD: $35.99
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  • 154.
    Handel: Messiah / Hickox, Terfel, Langridge, Rodgers, Et Al
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 522 Release Date: 07/29/1992   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Della Jones,  Joan Rodgers,  Philip Langridge,  Bryn Terfel  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Collegium Musicum 90
    CD: $34.99
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  • 155.
    Strauss: Salome / Sinopoli, Studer, Terfel, Rysanek
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 431810 Release Date: 10/11/1991   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Cheryl Studer,  Leonie Rysanek,  Horst Hiestermann,  Bryn Terfel  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
    On sale! $33.98
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  • 156.
    Monteverdi: Vespro Della Beata Vergine / Gardiner
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 429565 Release Date: 10/12/1990   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi
    Performer:  Michael Chance,  Mark Tucker,  Bryn Terfel,  Sandro Naglia  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  His Majesties Sagbutts and Cornetts,  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir  ... 
    CD: $35.99
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