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Home / Latest News / Review: Bryn Terfel, St David’s Hall, Cardiff

Review: Bryn Terfel, St David’s Hall, Cardiff

What can one say about our Bryn that hasn’t already been said a thousand times since he won the Lieder Prize at the Cardiff Singer of the World competition at this hall in 1989?

The blurb for this concert contended the bass-baritone is “now far more than a singer, he’s a national institution” and that’s just about right.

He is certainly more than a singer. He’s a fine actor, a comedian, a showman, a raconteur and a proud Welshman.

This sell-out concert demonstrated that his powerful personality enhances what is a very fine singing voice, producing a complete performance that entrances the audience.

This concert wasn’t all about Bryn. It also featured soprano Gwawr Edwards, mezzo-soprano Caryl Hughes and the Manchester Concert Orchestra under the baton of Gareth Jones.

But it was always clear that Bryn was the star of the show.

The evening began with an adequate performance by the orchestra of the overture from Mozart’s Don Giovanni. But there was a palpable change in atmosphere and quality of playing when Bryn walked onto the stage to perform the Madamina il catalogo e questo aria from the opera.

He showed that he has what one might call a genuine x-factor and is able to completely immerse himself in the character he is portraying while at the same time imbuing it with his own personality and sometimes idiosyncratic interpretation.

He was not particularly comfortable singing the Toreador Song, telling the audience: “I’ve never really liked it. I don’t look like a toreador.”

The Caernarfonshire singer is more at home in roles which have a darker intensity, a hint of menace and threat.

So it was his selections from Don Giovanni, Verdi’s Don Carlo and Wagner’s Tannhauser which really thrilled.

Gwawr Edwards and Caryl Hughes gave fine individual performances, coming together to give us a lovely interpretation of the Flower Duet from Delibe’s Lakme.

The weakest part of the evening came when we moved from opera to musicals. With the best will in the world they just don’t mix, although Bryn’s version of If I Were A Rich Man from Fiddler On The Roof drew the biggest cheer of the evening.

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