Bad Boys (Deutsche Grammophon)
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!