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Get to know Bryn Terfel ahead of his two appearances at the 2017 International Festival.

Revered superstar Bryn Terfel returns to the International Festival this year for two contrasting performances. The bass baritone started his career singing Mozart and Verdi including Figaro and Falstaff but is now celebrated and well-known for his strong Wagnerian roles such as Hans Sachs and Der Fliegende Holländer. He will be playing Wotan in Wagner’s Die Walküre at the International Festival this year. He has a vast repertoire; from Mozart and Wagner, to musical theatre (he played the title role in Sweeney Todd with Emma Thompson in 2014) and Welsh folk song. You can hear some of this wide ranging repertoire in his recital with Edinburgh-born pianist Malcolm Martineau on the 9 August. Drawing from his wide ranging tastes, he also used to host his own festival. The Faenol Festival gathered thousands of people together on the Faenol Estate in Wales for both classical and Welsh pop music. BrynFest (as it was also known) was revived in 2012 for the Southbank Centre’s Festival of the World.

Read on to find out 5 other things you might not know about Bryn Terfel.

  1. His surname is pronounced ‘Tervel’
    As a Welsh native, he was brought up speaking the language. The Welsh pronunciation of one ‘f’ is actually ‘v’, whereas two f’s has the traditional sound.
  2. He’s a farmer’s son from North Wales
    But would never have chosen farming as a profession if singing hadn’t worked out; he thinks he would be terrible at managing his own farm.
  3. He started singing in church and school
    And attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. But his career was launched when he won the Lieder Prize at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition in 1989.
  4. He’s an award winning opera singer
    He is a Grammy, Classical Brit and Gramophone Award winner and has given recitals all over the world.
  5. He has been recognised for his achievements by the Queen
    He was granted a CBE in 2003, given the Queen’s Medal for Music in 2006, and most recently he was given a knighthood in the 2017 New Year’s Honours for services to music.

Photo credit:
Bryn Terfel © Nigel Hughes