BRYN TER­FEL

Bad Boys (Deutsche Gram­mophon)

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos - — Ar­lene Ju­dith Klotzko

In the world of opera, tenors get the girls, and bari­tones and basses get to be a lot more in­ter­est­ing. In his lat­est CD, bass-bari­tone Bryn Ter­fel em­bod­ies a cav­al­cade of 17 un­for­get­table char­ac­ters, rang­ing from the malig­nant to the merely mis­chievous. Without the time and con­text an opera or mu­si­cal the­ater pre­sen­ta­tion af­ford, Ter­fel con­jures up fully formed dra­matic and mu­si­cal be­ings. He has a large, richly col­ored voice, a range from deep bass to bloom­ing top, and minute con­trol over dy­nam­ics. He also has a lieder singer’s sen­si­tiv­ity to text. This CD in­cludes roles he has per­formed: Gounod’s Méphistophélès (in drag); Dul­ca­mara (as Elvis); Sweeney Todd (with Sond­heim looking on); and Scarpia. Mostly, how­ever, there are roles Ter­fel won’t sing on stage, such as a be­fud­dled Sir Roderic from Rud­dig­ore, Boito’s sul­furous Me­fistofele, a de­li­ciously nasty Don Basilio, wax­ing rhap­sodic on the joys of slan­der, and a ter­ri­fy­ingly ni­hilis­tic Iago. Since his Amer­i­can de­but as Fi­garo with the Santa Fe Opera in 1991, Ter­fel has sung Fi­garo and Don Gio­vanni all over the world. He says he will now leave Mozart to the younger singers and has largely moved on to Wagner. He sang his last Don Gio­vanni in July. Say­ing farewell to the opera in grand style on the last track, Ter­fel sings all three roles (Don Gio­vanni, Le­porello, and the Com­menda­tore) in Mozart’s mag­nif­i­cent fi­nal trio. What a way to go!

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