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Future Plans: Boris and Schubert

 
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TER1310
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 5:59 am    Post subject: Future Plans: Boris and Schubert Reply with quote

Bryn in Verbier.

The great Welsh singer Bryn Terfel, for instance, was paired up this year with a compatriot, the pianist Llyr Williams - as Terfel told the audience at their recital on Wednesday, there’d never been two Welshmen at Verbier before. And after the serious Schubert and Schumann, he proceeded to sing first “Ar hyd y nos” and then a silly song about a green-eyed dragon that entailed ferocious dragony growls and deafening wolfwhistles. Suddenly, the very well-heeled and veteran Swiss audience started wolfwhistling back.

I asked Terfel afterwards about the appeal of Verbier. He’d made us all laugh so much in the recital - which we’d expected from the artist of Bad Boys - but he’d also reminded us with some cavernous bass notes of his present frequency appearing worldwide in Wagner’s epic bass-baritone roles. Terfel close up as a performer is truly extraordinary: a sheer entertainer of such intelligent wit and perfect handling of his audience, yet you don’t doubt for a second that this is the product of exceptionally hard work and not a drop of “festivalitis”.

Talking of which - a regular topic for critics of festivals - many people had been disappointed by Kirchschlager’s sloppiness in the Dido and Aeneas, hardly a word accurate despite reading it from a book, ducking the climactic notes of Dido’s final “Remember mes”, and blemishing the well-polished work of the Verbier chorus and orchestra and other soloists. Unpreparedness, cancellations and swaps tend to be frequent (Terfel filled in for Quasthoff on Thursday night) but so too are eclectic programmes not to be found in the Wigmore Hall. Terfel’s recital ranged improbably from Schubert to “Home on the Range”.
In Verbier, he told me backstage later, “it’s a totally different feeling, It’s very comfortable and family-oriented. so in a way the pressure’s off. The grand opera debuts are tinged with many different hurdles, things you’ve worked for six weeks to try not to encounter. So a bit of adrenalin rush is needed for performing, I think. This festival is all about collaboration. Tonight was the first time I’ve worked with Llyr, so that had its moments...”

“We hadn’t really met," explained Terfel. "We met in London a while ago, but I’ve been busy, and we had a session today, and I went to his recital this afternoon. But actually I was thinking during the concert tonight, ‘Why haven’t we worked together before?’ I usually work with Malcolm Martineau for recitals 90 percent of the time, but it’s nice to have the 10 percent different. Llyr is somewhat of a closed person in everyday terms but in performance he plays for people, and when he’s on the keyboard he becomes a completely different personality. He caught me in some of my mistakes in the concert - he breathed with me, he has a wonderful lot of colours, and great sounds coming out of that piano, even on a half-lid.”

I wondered if singing in French and German to a French- and German-speaking audience was daunting. Yes, Terfel said, “but it is anywhere, in whatever language. Even if I’m singing my own mother tongue you can forget your words.”

Although now 45, Terfel continues to work closely with his old mentor from his Guildhall college training 27 years ago, Rudolf Piernay. “He’s my final coaching polisher, he does the crossing of the Ts and dotting of Is. He has a good pair of ears, and an honest pair of ears.” Piernay helped Terfel finesse the ruminative Schubert and Schumann songs for this recital ("Liebesbotschaft" and "Auf dem Wasser zu singen", "Liederkreis"), a musical niche much more associated with other singers at Verbier this year, such as Goerne and Quasthoff.

Terfel is aiming to step more often onto this competitive turf. “Lieder is something I’ve been interested in working on, and maybe in the next 10 years I’ll do a bit more of it,” he said. “I think it’s a great technical change from the operatic stage to the intimacy of a Lieder abend.”
He plans, he told me, to do Schubert’s Winterreise for the first time: “I have this idea of making it slightly different - maybe having a visual quality, maybe in an interesting theatre that has those visual qualities around you, interesting places like the Frick Gallery in New York, or the British Museum.” He also intends to tick off the final Wagner role of the Wanderer in Siegfried this autumn at the Metropolitan Opera, then before long Musorgsky’s Boris Godunov and Borodin's Prince Igor. He reckons his Russian is good, he says, helped by being Welsh.

Still, from Boris to Schubert - it’s an astounding variety of delivery, responsiveness, colour that Terfel is demanding of himself. He finished his concert with tales of a Welsh Broadway and opera star of the Thirties, John Charles Thomas, who would give an encore after Aida of "Home on the Range", inspired by his love of his chickens and pigs on his farm. Terfel is a farmer's son, who developed his taste for character in singing by trying to get as much of a rise as possible out of his father's collies. If only that were all it took to be a great and inimitable star, just a few pigs and dogs about the place.





A Nerd’s Paradise; - read more about the Verbier Festival.

http://www.theartsdesk.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=4174:theartsdesk-in-verbier-a-cable-car-named-inspire&Itemid=29
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rueroops
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, Bjorg,

So glad you are OK! Laughing
This is a wonderful read! Thank you!

Gillian Laughing Laughing
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TER1310
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Gillian,

Norway as a nation is shaken. We are numb and shocked. This is an attack on our core values. We are an open society, our police force are not armed and one will often meet members of government in the street without any guards.
I am proud of my fellow countrymen, they have handled the situation with such dignity. Our Prime Minister has stood tall like a rock and the King and the Queen have wept with the survivors, hugged the relatives. Tonight there is a huge gathering at the City Hall, everybody carrying roses. Similar gatherings will take place all over Norway.
The Norwegians are touched by the support of the international community. I was moved by the Norwegian flag on half mast and the flowers left at the Norwegian Church in Cardiff.
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Last edited by TER1310 on Mon Jul 25, 2011 6:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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chrys
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Much love to you and your country, Bjorg. And sincere thanks for all you do for us in the Terfeliaid.
Chrys
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sue
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

May I, too add my gratitude for all you do, Bjorg and say how saddened and shocked we, in Britain, are at such a callous and inhuman act to one of the gentlest, hardworking, and respected countries in this uncertain and troubled world. Our prayers and thoughts are with you . Much love, Sue.
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Ter1518
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would like to add my thanks to those posted before, it is amazing what you do for Terfeliaid and how much time you give us.
I was so shocked to hear the terrible news during the past days, Norway was always an easy-going, open-minded nation for me and to have something so horrible happen in your beautiful country is like a nightmare. My thoughts and prayers are with the Norwegian people.
All the best from Germany
Manja
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rueroops
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Bjorg,
I would like to add to what I wrote to you in the Personal Message last weekend while we were in North Wales.

Ivan and I were horrified and saddened by the appalling news from Norway. We spent wonderful holidays in Norway when our two sons were little, taking the car over and driving through your beautiful country, but more recently, we have visited most of the coastal towns from the North Cape round to Oslo on cruises. The last time we were in Oslo, during a cruise several years ago, was on May 17th - the Norwegian National Day. Before we left the ship to go ashore, we were given red, white and blue ribbons to wear to join in the overwhelming display of National Pride. We watched the procession of bands and flag-waving children and adults, mostly in National Costume and with banners proudly held high, as they paraded up the road to the Palace where King Harald and Queen Sonja were acknowledging them. We watched for nearly two hours and still the procession was passing by! It was marvellous - and humbling - to witness such a spectacle.

We have come to love Norway, not only for its beautiful scenery, breath-taking fiords, placid lakes and snow-capped mountains, but also for the wonderful friendliness of the peace-loving Norwegian people.

We heard the the shocking news with a feeling of horror and sorrow.
Now we have seen the TV pictures and are increasingly saddened by what we see and hear.

We grieve and weep with you, Bjorg, and with all your nation. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Gillian & Ivan
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TER1280
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, Bjorg,

I have been thinking about you and your country. So sad!! I will continue to have you all in my thoughts and prayers.

Phyllis
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TER1310
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your kind words and support. Bryn’s music has been comforting and balm for the soul these past few days. Extremism, fundamentalism and terrorism; - threats we face all over world. Left or right on the political scale; - we all have to make our stand.

To the Youth by the Norwegian poet Nordahl Grieg, killed during WW II.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hT7SMPxP0mE

Faced by your enemies
On every hand
Battle is menacing,
Now make your stand

Fearful your question,
Defenseless, open
What shall I fight with?
What is my weapon?

Here is your battle plan,
Here is your shield
Faith in this life of ours,
The common weal

For all our children’s sake,
Save it, defend it,
Pay any price you must,
They shall not end it

Neat stacks of cannon shells,
Row upon row
Death to the life you love,
All that you know

War is contempt for life,
Peace is creation
Death’s march is halted
By determination

We all deserve the world,
Harvest and seed
Hunger and poverty
Are born of greed

Don’t turn your face away
From needs of others
Reach out a helping hand
To all your brothers

Here is our solemn vow,
From land to land
We will protect our world
From tyrants’ hand

Defend the beautiful,
Gentle and innocent
Like any mother would
Care for her infant.

(English Translation Rod Sinclair)

200 000 people met at the City Hall last night.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34K8tX7LLDo
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TER1280
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, Bjorg,

In regard to receiving comfort through Bryn's music....when my husband died several years ago...... listening to Bryn sing helped me very much in my grief.

Phyllis
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