Bryn Terfel


Born in North Wales in 1965, Bryn Terfel entered London's Guildhall School of Music in 1984, studying first with Arthur Reckless and later with Rudolf Piernay. In 1988 he won the Kathleen Ferrier Memorial Scholarship and the following year graduated from the Guildhall, receiving the school's Gold Medal. Shortly after that he represented Wales in the "Singer of the World" Competition in Cardiff and launched his career by winning the lieder prize.

1990 - Opera debut as Guglielmo (Così fan tutte) and Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro) at Welsh National Opera; release of Monteverdi's Vespers of the Blessed Virgin conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner (Penguin Rosette Award, Record Academy Prize, Tokyo, Stella d'oro 1991).

1991 - English National Opera debut and US debut at Santa Fe as Figaro; release: Jochanaan in Strauss's Salome under Giuseppe Sinopoli (Edison Award, Grand Prix de la Nouvelle Académie, Orphée d'or, Stella d'argento 1992).

1992 - Breakthrough Salzburg Festival debut as Jochanaan; Covent Garden debut as Masetto (Don Giovanni); first artist to receive the Critics' Circle Award for the most important contribution to British musical life; release: Angelotti in Puccini's Tosca (Record Academy Prize, Tokyo, 1992, CD Compact, Barcelona, Stella d'argento 1993); named "Young Singer of the Year" by Gramophone magazine.

1993 - Signs exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon; triumphant Vienna State Opera debut as Figaro; sings Ford in Falstaff at Welsh National Opera; "Newcomer of the Year" at the International Classical Music Awards; participates in the Wagner Gala Concert on New Year's Eve with Claudio Abbado and the Berliner Philharmoniker.

1994 - Figaro at Covent Garden and at his Metropolitan debut; first recitals in London's Wigmore Hall, at the Salzburg Festival and in Florence; US recital debut in New York's Alice Tully Hall; soloist at the "Last Night of the Proms". Releases: Figaro with Gardiner (Edison Award, Grand Prix de la Nouvelle Académie 1995), Baron Mirko Zeta in Lehár's Merry Widow under Gardiner (Diapason d'or 1995); An die Musik - Schubert songs with pianist Malcolm Martineau (Gramophone Award 1995).

1995 - Leporello in Don Giovanni at the Met; Leporello and Figaro at the Salzburg Festival; Jochanaan at Covent Garden; recital debut at La Scala. Release of The Vagabond - songs by Vaughan Williams, Butterworth, Finzi and Ireland (Penguin Rosette Award, Prix Caecilia, Brussels, 1995, Edison Award, Gramophone Award 1996).

1996 - Debut recital at New York's Carnegie Hall; releases include opera arias under James Levine (Penguin Rosette Award, Grammy® 1996) and Something Wonderful with songs by Rodgers & Hammerstein (Gramophone Award 1997).

1997 - La Scala opera debut as Figaro; release of Handel arias under Sir Charles Mackerras.

1998 - Hollywood Bowl debut. Releases: Leporello (Don Giovanni) under Abbado, Mephis topheles (Berlioz's Damnation de Faust) with Myung-Whun Chung, requiems by Fauré and Duruflé also under Chung (Classical Brit Award 2000) and If Ever I Would Leave You, a collection of famous Broadway songs.

1999 - Falstaff at Sydney Opera House, Chicago Lyric Opera and the re-opening of Covent Garden; debut as Don Giovanni in Paris; title role in Handel's Saul under Mackerras at the Edinburgh Festival; release: Nick Shadow in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress under Gardiner (Grammy® 2000).

2000 - Met appearances in Les Contes d'Hoffmann (four roles) and as Don Giovanni; Nick Shadow at San Francisco Opera; Mephistopheles at the Edinburgh Festival; first Faenol Festival (his own festival held annually in North Wales). Releases: his Welsh Album We'll Keep a Welcome and Schumann lieder.

2001 - Don Giovanni in Vienna, Figaro in Tokyo, Figaro and Falstaff in Munich, Falstaff at the Salzburg Festival; tour of the Far East. Release: Falstaff with Abbado (Record Academy Prize, Tokyo, 2001, Echo Award 2002).

2002 - Don Giovanni at Covent Garden, Falstaff at the Met and Bavarian State Opera, four roles in Les Contes d'Hoffmann in Paris, Sondheim's Sweeney Todd (debut) in Chicago; his Faenol Festival wins the Welsh Tourism Award as "Greatest Show in Wales - Event of the Year 2001". Release of arias by Wagner (Prix Caecilia, Brussels, 2003).

2003 - Concert with Abbado at the Lucerne Festival; Faenol Festival includes an opera gala with José Carreras. Awarded a CBE for services to opera in the Queen's New Year Honours list. Release of his platinum-selling album Bryn Terfel Sings Favourites with Sissel and Andrea Bocelli (Classical Brit Award "Album of the Year" 2004). DVD release: Bryn Terfel Live in Concert.

2004 - "Male Artist of the Year" at the Classical Brit Awards. Debut as Wotan in Das Rheingold in Covent Garden's new Ring production.

2005 - Debut as Wotan in Die Walküre at Covent Garden; appears with Plácido Domingo in Die Walküre (concert version) at the BBC Proms. Falstaff in debuts in Houston and Los Angeles. Releases: Silent Noon, a second anthology of English songs, Simple Gifts (Grammy® 2007 for the "Best Classical Crossover Album"); on DVD: Don Giovanni from the Met under Levine.

2006 - Title role in Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer with Welsh National Opera and Scarpia in Tosca at Covent Garden. Appears at the BBC Proms Concert where he is awarded The Queen's Medal for Music by Elizabeth II. Receives the Shakespeare Prize from the Alfred Toepfer Stiftung, Hamburg for his "outstanding contributions to European cultural heritage in the English-speaking countries in Europe" and an Echo Award as "Singer of the Year". Releases include Tutto Mozart! - favourites with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Mackerras.

2007 - Title roles in Don Giovanni and Falstaff in Vienna and Puccini's Gianni Schicchi at Covent Garden; Sweeney Todd at London's Royal Festival Hall (concert performance); Figaro at the Met. Opera arias with soprano Barbara Krieger and the Dresdner Sinfoniker in Munich, Hamburg and Dresden; a concert at the Tower of London. 2008 - One of the main highlights of the year is his appearance at the Last Night of the Proms in London's Royal Albert Hall, which is broadcast live around the world. Release of Terfel's recording Scarborough Fair featuring favourite folk songs of the British Isles with the London Voices, London Symphony Orchestra and Barry Wordsworth. 2009 - Engagements at Covent Garden as Scarpia and the Dutchman, the latter also at the Bavarian State Opera; performs opera arias with Rolando Villazón and the Prague Philharmonia at the Paris Théâtre des Champs-Élysées; further concerts in the Czech Republic, the USA, UK and New Zealand; festival appearances include Bergen, Verbier and Edinburgh. His latest recording of "bad boy characters" from opera and musicals is planned for release in the autumn. 2010 - Plans include Falstaff in Monte Carlo and Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger for Welsh National Opera.
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