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National Concert Hall, Dublin, Wednesday 16th January 2008

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Joined: 30 Oct 2004
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Location: Worcester

PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 11:43 pm    Post subject: National Concert Hall, Dublin, Wednesday 16th January 2008 Reply with quote

National Concert Hall, Dublin Wednesday 16th January 2008
Bryn Terfel with the Ulster Orchestra conducted by Gareth Jones – a concert of opera arias and popular songs

Rossini - Overture: The Barber of Seville
Mozart - Non piu andrai (The Marriage of Figaro)
Mozart - Io ti lascio, o cara, addio
Wagner - Overture: The Flying Dutchman
Wagner - O du mein holder Abendstern (Tannhauser, Act III)
Borodin - Prince Igor’s Aria (Prince Igor, Act II)
Tchaikovsky - Polonaise (Eugene Onegin)
Gounod - Vous qui faites l’endormie (Faust, Act IV)
Verdi - Eh! Paggio! L’onore! Ladri! (Falstaff, Act I)

Mendelssohn - Lord God of Abraham (Elijah)
Austrian Carol - Still, still,still
Elgar - Chanson du Matin
Three Traditional
Celtic Songs - Loch Lomond Cariad Cyntaf Passing By
Rodgers - Carousel Waltz
Rodgers - Some Enchanted Evening (South Pacific)
Schonberg - Stars (Les Miserables)

Molly Malone & Impossible Dream

The National Concert Hall has a beautiful interior and I was lucky enough to have a fantastic seat in the dead centre of the 5th row directly opposite the spot that Bryn performed from.
A quick perusal of the programme revealed an exciting and varied selection of arias and songs which would showcase Bryn’s remarkable talent for mastering song in a variety of languages, interspersed with popular orchestral pieces, all of which were played with enthusiasm and verve by the talented Ulster Orchestra.

The concert started with a rousing rendition of the overture to The Barber of Seville, which the orchestra played with verve and panache. There was a tangible frisson of anticipation and excitement amongst the audience during the overture as the audience waited for Bryn to make his entrance. As I listened to the overture I noticed Bryn intermittently peering through the small rectangular window in the door stage right, surveying the audience he was soon to entertain.
Bryn made his entrance to thunderous applause; although he has only performed in Dublin a couple of times it was apparent that he is a firm favourite and highly revered by the Dublin concert goers. Bryn quickly broke into his first offering, a lively ”Non piu andrai”, complete with appropriate gestures, which along with his wonderful diction and the colour he imbues into songs really brought the aria to life and showed what a wonderful talent he has as an expressive storyteller, not only through song but also through acting. The applause when Bryn finished singing and the whooping calls from the 4 ladies in the row immediately in front of me indicated that Dublin had very quickly taken Bryn to their hearts.
Bryn then sang the concert aria “Io ti lascio, o caro, addio”, which always moves me to tears, as Bryn always sings it with such great sensitivity, and this time was no exception and I found myself, surreptitiously trying to dry my wet cheeks.

The orchestra then treated us to the stirring overture from “The Flying Dutchman”, which I had hoped would be followed by Bryn singing the Dutchman’s monologue; that was not to be, but I was not disappointed as Bryn sang another of my Wagner favourites, “Oh du mein holder Abendstern”, another piece which left me very moist-eyed. Bryn as usual sang it so beautifully and with such intense feeling, staring out over the heads of the audience, seemingly transported by the emotion of the aria.
Bryn’s next aria was a real treat, Prince Igor’s aria; this he sang with intensity and passion; his voice rich toned and expressive and full of colour. At the end of the aria Bryn said that he was very chuffed with himself as this was the first time that he had sung in Russian, live, and an excellent job he made of it; I was in awe of his ability to clearly enunciate fiendishly difficult tongue-twisting words with such superb diction. This was followed by the Polonaise from Eugene Onegin, and then Bryn returned to the stage and explained the context of his next aria, “Vous qui faites l’endormie” from Faust, saying that a serenade is usually a love song, but that in this instance Mephistopheles is using it to taunt Faust; he then proceeded to sing with great relish a wonderful diabolically evil aria, accompanied by devilish facial gestures and fiendish laughter.

The first half closed with Bryn singing “Eh! Paggios! L’onore! Ladri!”
Bryn’s singing of this aria was the highlight of the evening for me; his love of this role and the total enjoyment he receives from performing it palpably emanated from him as he sang; in front of my eyes with his use of gesture and expression he metamorphosed into the character of Falstaff (without the padding!!), and revealed himself once again to be an intelligent and intuitive actor with precise comic timing. At the point where Falstaff sings “Puo l’onore riempirvi la pancia?” (Can honour fill your paunch?) Bryn grabbed hold of Gareth Jones, the conductor and vigorously rubbed his belly, and on “Ne un capello?” (Or a hair?), plucked one of Gareth’s strands of hair, to which Gareth retaliated by swinging out and punching Bryn’s left arm.
Bryn’s performance of this aria was both a visual and aural treat, and I can’t wait to see him perform the whole role in March with WNO. The antics in this aria clearly illustrated the camaraderie between Bryn and Gareth and the mutual respect that they hold for each other.

Bryn opened the second half by singing “Lord God of Abraham” from Elijah, which made me wish that I had been one of those fortunate to see Bryn perform this whole work. This was followed by “Still, still, still” another song which made me tearful as Bryn sang this with such sensitivity and feeling, using pianissimo at the end to great effect. This carol marked the transition from opera and oratorio into song. Bryn followed this by singing three Celtic songs, “Loch Lomond”, “Cariad Cyntaf” and “Passing By”. Before he started to sing Bryn explained that Loch Lomond was a song about two of Bonnie Prince Charlie's men who were captured and left behind in Carlisle after the failed rising of 1745. One of the young soldiers was to be executed, the other released. The Spirit of the dead soldier travelling by the 'low road' would reach Scotland before his comrade, who would be struggling along the actual road over high, rugged country. Bryn sang this with a credible Scottish accent and after hearing Bryn sing these three Celtic Songs I can say that I am very much looking forward to the release of his Celtic Songs album’s later in the year.
This was followed by the Carousel Waltz, which set the scene for Bryn moving into musical song territory, with “Some Enchanted Evening”. As he reached the front of the stage, Bryn being the considerate man that he is, waved his hand in a gesture of goodbye to the main body of the audience and gestured that he was going to sing this particular song to those sitting in the seats behind him, which from the applause he received was a gesture very much appreciated by those seated there.
Bryn returned to face the main body of the audience to sing his final piece, “Stars” from Les Miserables. He said that this song was usually performed with the singer being miked but that he would use his Wotan voice in places to ensure he was heard above the orchestra. The orchestration was very loud for this particular song, but Bryn’s voice was more than a match for the orchestra and his voice easily soared above them, allowing every word to be easily heard. Such a stirring end had the audience loudly applauding and shouting for more.
Bryn did return to the stage and said that he would sing one more song, a song he thought the audience would know and he asked us to sing along to the chorus with him. The orchestra struck up with a flourish of a classical sounding intro, which I had not heard before, and left me puzzled as to what Bryn was going to sing, until the orchestra played the first bars of the song and Bryn started to sing “In Dublin’s fair city” and I knew that the song was “Molly Malone”; this spectacular intro for the Dublin song had the audience laughing and it was evident that the largely Irish audience were very touched by the fact that Bryn had chosen to sing a song relative to their city, and this further endeared him to them, and everyone without fail enthusiastically joined in the chorus each time. The Dubliners were not content with one encore and sustained applause resulted in Bryn returning to sing “The Impossible Dream”, which he sang with power and intensity, ending a fantastic evening on a wonderful high, which left me and I am sure everyone else who was lucky enough to have been there, feeling extremely happy and very privileged.
Jools xox
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Joined: 28 Oct 2004
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Location: Dallas, TX

PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 3:42 pm    Post subject: Bryn's Dublin recital Reply with quote

Hi, Jools,

Thanks so much for that wonderful review of Bryn's Dublin recital. I felt like I was sitting next to you when I read it. Wish that I had been there with you!

Phyllis Smile
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Joined: 15 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic review, Jools! I think you had a whole row of us sitting next to you in our imaginations!

Wonder what appropriate encore he'll come up with in Liverpool? You'll never walk alone? Or maybe a Beatles number?

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for that wonderful, eloquent, descriptive review, Jools! Laughing I, too, felt almost as though I was there - seeing and hearing what must have been an amazing performance! Laughing
Gillian Laughing
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 10:23 pm    Post subject: Dublin and Swansea Reply with quote

We were lucky enough to be in Dublin too. A superb programme and wonderful performance. It's good to see Bryn in concerts like this when we hear such a wide range of pieces.
We also were lucky to see him last Saturday in Swansea with the Morriston Orpheus Choir, Rebecca Evans and Shan Cothi. It was great and as Wales had just won the rugby Bryn led us in singing Bread of Heaven.
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