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First Knight: Bryn Terfel breaks a sabbatical year to sing at WNO (BK)




Bryn Terfel makes his only opera appearance in 2008, with Welsh National Opera in a revival of Peter Stein’s landmark production of Verdi’s Falstaff. The Welsh bass-baritone comes full circle in his career when he sings the role at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay, Birmingham Hippodrome and Venue Cymru, Llandudno, in Spring 2008.

Twelve years ago, fresh from winning the prestigious Lieder prize in the Cardiff Singer of the World competition, Bryn Terfel delighted critics and audiences with his performances as the wealthy young landowner Ford in WNO’s production of Falstaff, directed by Peter Stein. In 2008, he returns to the Company where he began his opera career, to take on the title role in the same production – which will again be directed by Stein, the acclaimed European theatre and opera director. Falstaff will be conducted by Carlo Rizzi, Music Director of WNO.

While Bryn Terfel has sung the role to unanimous praise in opera houses throughout the world, his return to his native country to sing with WNO will hold a very special resonance: he will be singing the role of Falstaff in a special Gala Preview performance on Saturday March 1st 2008 - St David’s Day. There will be four more performances of Falstaff in Cardiff on Monday 3 March, Wednesday 5th March, Friday 7th March and Sunday 9th March.

Additionally, Bryn will be singing the role in Birmingham (Thursday 13th March & Saturday 15th March, 2008) and in Llandudno, North Wales (Tuesday 18th March & Thursday 20th March, 2008).

“This promises to be an extraordinary event: an artist of Bryn’s calibre reunited with a director like Peter Stein to present Verdi’s magnificent  comedy,” says John Fisher, WNO’s General Director. “Bryn has shown great commitment to the Company where he began his amazing career, returning this year to celebrate our 60th anniversary with us by making his debut in the title role of The Flying Dutchman. We are looking forward greatly to Bryn singing Falstaff with the Company, particularly as 2008 was due to be a sabbatical year for him.”

“I so enjoyed Peter Stein’s production of this masterpiece when I sang Ford in WNO’s 1994 revival – to return as Falstaff is a dream come true,” Bryn Terfel says.

The cast will also include fellow Welshman Rhys Meirion, who makes his debut with WNO singing the role of Fenton. Rhys, a former head teacher, is widely acclaimed for his interpretation of roles in operas by Puccini and Verdi and he has also recorded a duet album with Bryn Terfel on the Sain Record label. Baritone Christopher Purves sings the role of Ford having made a huge impact at WNO already in recent performances of the title roles in Don Giovanni and the award-winning Wozzeck.

Soprano Janice Watson, a winner of the Kathleen Ferrier Memorial Award, sings the role of Alicia Ford. Janice last appeared with WNO in the Company’s production of Ariadne Auf Naxos in 2004.  Mezzo-soprano Imelda Drumm sings Meg Page: she has also forged a strong bond with WNO during her career, singing in Richard Jones’ acclaimed production of Hansel and Gretel and appearing as the Fox in The Cunning Little Vixen. She will also sing the title role in WNO’s Carmen this coming summer.

Tickets for performances of Falstaff in Cardiff, Birmingham and Llandudno go on sale as follows:

Cardiff and Llandudno: Public booking for WNO Subscriptions opens on Monday 5 February, 2007.

Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre: Public booking for WNO Subscriptions opens in late May, 2007.

Bill Kenny



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Contributors: Marc Bridle (North American Editor), Martin Anderson, Patrick Burnson, Frank Cadenhead, Colin Clarke, Paul Conway, Geoff Diggines, Sarah Dunlop, Evan Dickerson Melanie Eskenazi (London Editor) Robert J Farr, Abigail Frymann, Göran Forsling, Simon Hewitt-Jones, Bruce Hodges,Tim Hodgkinson, Martin Hoyle, Bernard Jacobson, Tristan Jakob-Hoff, Ben Killeen, Bill Kenny (Regional Editor), Ian Lace, Jean Martin, John Leeman, Neil McGowan, Bettina Mara, Robin Mitchell-Boyask, Simon Morgan, Aline Nassif, Anne Ozorio, Ian Pace, John Phillips, Jim Pritchard, John Quinn, Peter Quantrill, Alex Russell, Paul Serotsky, Harvey Steiman, Christopher Thomas, John Warnaby, Hans-Theodor Wolhfahrt, Peter Grahame Woolf (Founder & Emeritus Editor)