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Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

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Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Bryn Terfel: Live in Concert – Songs and Arias
Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990)
Overture: Candide (excerpt)
Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)
Tannhäuser: "Wie Todesahnung Dämmrung deckt die Lande; O du mein holder Abendstern" (Wolfram) (Song to the Evening Star)
Die Walküre: The Ride of the Valkyries; Wotan’s Farewell
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
The Marriage of Figaro: Overture; "Non più andrai farfallone amoroso" (Figaro)
The Magic Flute: "Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja" (Papageno)
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
Falstaff: "Ehi! Paggio!...L’onore! Ladri! (Sir John Falstaff)
Frederick LOWE (1901-1988)
Camelot: "How to Handle a Woman"
Richard RODGERS (1902-1979) and Oscar HAMMERSTEIN (1895-1960)
State Fair: "It Might As Well Be Spring"
Claude-Michel SCHÖNBERG (b.1944)
Les Misérables: Stars: "There out in the Darkness"
Mitch LEIGH (b.1928)
Man of La Mancha: "To Dream the Impossible Dream"
W.S. Gwynn WILLIAMS (1896-1978) (arr. Chris Hazell)
"My Little Welsh Home"

"Suo-Gân" (arr. Chris Hazell)
Bryn Terfel (baritone)
Radio Filharmonisch Orkest, Holland/Edo De Waart
Recorded live in the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, 1 June 2002
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON DVD 073 047-9 [78 mins concert + 62 mins features]


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A glance through the list above confirms that this is an unashamedly popular concert. Well, so what, when the performances are as good as these!

The proceedings open exuberantly with part of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide Overture as we accompany Bryn through a quick tour of Amsterdam before the concert opens with the Wagner items; items that Terfel admits place the greater demand on his voice.

The romance and delicacy of the Song to the Evening Star (Tannhäuser) contrasts with the bold dramatic gestures of Wotan’s Farewell. The DG engineers do a splendid job in capturing De Waart’s thrilling reading of The Ride of the Valkyries. I managed to hear it only in stereo, I am sure it must be stunning in Surround Sound.

Terfel’s Mozart arias are nicely expressive and he indulges in some amusing miming to the piccolo lines in Papageno’s aria. He realises a well-rounded Falstaff and it is clear from his comments in one of the promotional videos that accompanies the concert that he has an impressive understanding of Verdi’s opera and the character.

So many opera singers come to grief when they cross over to show music. Terfel is not one of these. There is no condescension, no reluctance to leave the operatic stage. I was impressed to learn, again from one of the additional features that he had actually gone to the trouble, with the help of Deutsche Grammophon, to track down one of the conductors of Rodgers and Hammerstein shows to study how to sing the songs ("Sing it naturally and don’t roll your ‘r’s’". As a result, his show songs are very successful and often most affecting – listen to him singing, "How to handle a Woman".

The bonus materials include a 22+- minute feature – ‘The Making of Bryn Terfel – Live in Concert’ and five promotional videos covering the songs and the Cavatina from The Marriage of Figaro taken from the John Eliot Gardiner recording and the finale of Verdi’s Falstaff from the Claudio Abbado recording. All in all, Bryn Terfel comes across as a warm, dedicated artist with a sense of fun. We learn much about him, and his technique, and little things like his habit of drinking honey to lubricate his throat at recording sessions.

An undemanding popular concert with something for everybody - splendidly performed and brilliantly recorded. Recommended.

Ian Lace



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