There’s a strong bond between Bryn Terfel and London’s Royal Opera House. The world renowned Welsh bass-baritone made his debut at the prestigious venue 24 years ago and still recalls it.
“I remember the first role that I sung was Masetto in “Don Giovanni” in a production by Johannes Schaaf with Sir Thomas Allen singing Giovanni and Claudio Desderi singing Leporello,” said Terfel. “All these magnificent performers whom you shared the stage with but also learned about this magnificent art form and I always been one who’s quite eager and hungry for nuggets of information. Therefore I would watch rehearsals. I would be on the side of the stage.”
“Antonio Pappano the first time I met him was in Chicago nearly 17 years ago when he conducted Falstaff. He’s been at the Royal Opera House for 15 years now and I should think that most of my debut roles have been under his careful guidance. He is undoubtedly a singer’s conductor. He breathes with the singers, you can even hear him breathing from the pit. He has this incredible encouragement for people, enthusiasm. You can actually have a little banter with him as well, a joke here and there, talk about wine and he’ll forget about Boris Godunov, mostly Italian wines by the way.”
“This house for me is undoubtedly the most important opera house in the world, the top echelon. Everybody wants to sing here, everybody wants to play here, everybody wants to direct here, conduct here. I think the Royal Opera house can carry that name and that distinction with aplomb,” said Terfel.
Sir Antonio Pappano, music director of the Royal Opera House is equally enthusiastic about the Welshman: “Bryn is a mysterious artist I think. He brings things out of himself that you almost don’t expect to be there and yet he has an unending capacity to reinvent himself. He never sings the same phrase twice, ever, so even when we do something three, four, five, six times in a rehearsal he will always do it differently. That keeps you on your toes of course and those around him.”