Bryn Terfel

All posts tagged Bryn Terfel

The success of Alfie Boe and Michael Ball continued last night as, on a star studded evening at the Classic BRIT Awards 2018, they won two (count em!) awards!  With a one hundred percent success rate, they won in each category they were nominated for:





As we know, Album of the Year was voted for by the public and it was clear that both Alfie and Michael were thrilled to win on this basis.  However, Group of the Year was decided by a BRIT award panel and I for one, felt so pleased that Alfie and Michael’s work was recognised by their industry peers.

It was an extra special night too, for Decca Records, for as well as the two Ball and Boe awards, they also won with Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Jess Gillam (Sound of Classical) and Renee Fleming, not to mention the lifetime recognition for Dame Vera Lynn.  Both Kanneh-Mason and Gillam joined Tokio Myers and Andrew Lloyd Webber in calling for greater recognition of the value that music education in schools brings to children’s lives, a subject that Alfie has also commented on in the past, through his work with Nordoff Robbins.

The musical performances throughout the evening were superb, with the stand outs being the opening West Side Story medley with Alfie and Michael, Katherine Jenkins’ Never Enough and Bryn Terfel’s two performances of If I Were A Rich Man and the Pearl Fishers duet with Andrea Bocelli.

Thank you to everyone who voted and shared the Classic FM voting site over the last few weeks – give yourselves a pat on the back because you did it!

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…the Pearl Fishers Duet with David Kempster:

Although this duet, Au Fond Du Temple Saint, is a concert staple for baritones and tenors, the song is of course from Bizet’s 1863 opera, The Pearl Fishers.  It is this opera, in the 2009/10 ENO season that gives us the memorable opening from Alfie’s autobiography: “Bizet nearly killed me.  I don’t blame him, it’s not his fault.” Alfie was talking about the chlorine poisoning he suffered whilst preparing for the show, which became, as it happens, one of his last for ENO – Les Miserables 25th anniversary concert was just around the corner.

Set in ancient times on the island of Sri Lanka, the opera tells the story of how two men’s vow of eternal friendship is threatened by their love for the same woman, whose own dilemma is the conflict between secular love and her sacred oath as a priestess.  After the initial premiere, The Pearl Fishers was not performed again until 1886 and since the mid twentieth century has become one of the most popularly staged operas worldwide.  ENO has restaged twice more since Alfie took the role of Nadir.

Lovers of Alfie Boe’s classical repertoire will also be familiar with his South Bank Award performance of this, with Bryn Terfel in 2011.  Alfie has performed very little opera since then but as he caught us all by surprise on the Serenata tour of 2013, by singing Nessun Dorma, Recondita Armonia and Caruso, never say never to hearing it again one day.  With Alfie, you just never know what to expect.

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Some time last year thoughtsofjustafan ran a poll to find out the fan’s favourite Alfie Boe duet (the winner was of course Bryn Terfel with the Pearl Fishers duet) which threw up a variety of favourites ranging from the classical to Melanie C.  This poll came back to me recently when I saw the video (thanks Linda) of Rebecca Newman singing with Alfie on Come What May in Leeds.

This was a staple of Alfie’s repertoire on his Bring Him Home tour which enabled him to duet with his guest singer and promote his album at the same time but it fell out of favour until the Serenata tour of 2014, although Alfie sang it as a solo song.  I really like this song and have done since I first saw Moulin Rouge and have loved having it back in Alfie’s set so let’s see how many of you like it too, and which version do you like best?

To help you decide, I’ve created a Come What May YouTube playlist, click here.  If there is another version I’ve not included (and there is video) just let me know and I’ll add it!

Bring Him Home is available here:

Rebecca Newman’s chart topping album, Dare to Dream is available here:

rebecca newman

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….Au Fond Du Temple Saint, the baritone / tenor duet from Bizet’s opera The Pearl Fishers.  The baritone in this case was of course the wonderful Bryn Terfel and this rendition is rightly so a favourite amongst classical Alfie fans.  Thoughtsofjustafan’s favourite Alfie Boe duet poll last year saw Bryn and Alfie secure the top spot over Laura Wright and Barcelona.

As this opera nearly killed him*, you wouldn’t think that Alfie would have that much affection for it but he continued to sing it until relatively recently.  Je Crois Entendre Encore was a staple of his UK tour of summer 2012, albeit sung acapulco!  If you were there or seen the youtube videos, you’ll know what that means!

*And if you don’t know this story why not buy Alfie’s 2012 autobiography (click on the image below) – the first chapter tells all!

alfie autobio

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If you’ve read Alfie’s autobiography, My Story, you’ll know that The Pearl Fishers, which features Je Crois Entendre Encore, is probably not Alfie’s favourite opera.  You might recall that the first line of the book is “Bizet nearly killed me” (I don’t normally recall the opening line of biographies, but it’s a cracking opener).  As Alfie acknowledges, it wasn’t really Bizet’s fault; rather, Alfie suffered a bout of chlorine poisoning whilst filming a segment for the ENO production of the 1863 opera.

The Pearl Fishers is set in Ceylon and features a tenor (Nadir) and baritone (Zurga) both falling for the same soprano (Leila) who is having her own dilemma in choosing between secular love and her oath as a sacred priestess.  Although it was a not a brilliant success when it was first premiered, the music is often popular with modern audiences.  Indeed, Alfie’s duet with Bryn Terfel, Au Fond Du Temple Saint at the 2012 South Bank Show Awards topped the recent Alfie Boe Favourite Duet poll.

Je Crois Entendre Encore has been recorded by a number of tenors (inlcuding Alfie’s brother Michael on his recent album A La Voix), and also by other artists such as David Gilmour and Alison Moyet.  Gilmour’s interpretation was interesting but I liked Alison’s version.  The video below shows Alfie singing “acapulco” (watch the video if you don’t know what I mean) at Westonbirt Arboretum in 2012, but before you take a look, here is Janet Hudson’s story about her favourite Alfie Boe song:

My favourite Alfie song is Je Crois Entendre Encore as performed at Westonbirt Aboretum July 2012. My daughter had bought tickets and was taking me to the concert as a birthday treat. I was so looking forward to it and dared to hope Alfie would sing this song. Just a few days before the concert my then 12 year old grandson was rushed to hospital and diagnosed with Leukaemia. Needless to say we didn’t make the concert. Every time I hear Alfie singing this beautiful song I am moved to tears with all kinds of emotions. I am filling up now!! Happy to say Mikey is in remission and doing well x

Thank you Janet for sharing your Alfie story we all hope Mikey continues in remission xx

Thanks to Linda Wellington for sharing xx

If you don’t have the Classic FM album, click on the image below to order:

classic fm album


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And the winner is:

Yes, the winner is Bryn Terfel with 35% of the votes!  The vote was very close though, Laura Wright and Barcelona were a close second with 27% and Emilia Mitiku and Dimming of the Day was third with 25%.

Bryn led for most of the way although he was initially lagging behind Laura and Emilia.  I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised at the result, as classical won the previous Alfie Boe poll by a country mile.


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Bryn Terfel’s duet with Alfie at the South Bank Show Awards in 2011 is the only operatic aria to be nominated for the title of favourite duets with Alfie Boe.  Bringing the house down at the awards themselves, (and rendering Melvyn Bragg almost speechless in the process), the baritone / tenor duet from The Pearl Fishers continues to delight fans from around the world.

I have been aware of and listening to Terfel for almost his entire career; my Dad was a huge opera fan and being Welsh, Bryn was a special favourite.  Over the years, even though I listened to very little opera, I continued to follow Terfel’s career, albeit from a distance.  Terfel rose to prominence by winning the Lieder Prize at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition in 1989 and began his professional career the following year with Cost Fan Tutte (Guglielmo) with WNO.  Since then, he has performed in all the major opera houses around the world.  His repertoire includes Masetto (Don Giovanni), Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro), Jokanaan (Salome), Balstrode (Peter Grimes), Falstaff, Don Giovanni, Wotan (Der Ring des Nibelungen), Scarpia (Tosca), Gianni Schicchi and the Dutchman (Der fliegende Holländer).    He is due to play Scarpia in the Royal Opera House’s Tosca in June this year.

As well as working in opera, Terfel has been signed to Deutsche Grammophon for almost twenty years, re-signing with them in 2013.  Click here to buy his latest album, Homeward Bound.

Don’t forget to vote in the poll, if you haven’t done so already and then sit back and enjoy Alfie and Bryn:


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So, for a week now you’ve all been voting for your favourite Alfie Boe duet...and the results are now in!

Of course, if you subscribe, you’ll already be aware of the short list – if you want to get in on the action before anyone else, subscribe now!

The voting was very competitive and although there has been a clear leader right from the start, the singers bringing up the rear have changed over the week.

If your favourite made it through, fantastic, why not vote for them again?  If your favourite is missing, click on the new video short list to help you choose a new one!

Watch out for regular updates and profiles on the short listed singers – if you subscribe, you” also get sneak previews on the way the voting goes…before everyone else!


Last week, I asked you all for your nominations for your favourite singer to perform with Alfie, either live or recorded (click here).

Well, you responded in your numbers and the nominations are in and the vote is ready!

All the nominations are listed in the YouTube playlist below, to help you deicde – some clips are longer than others but they’re all there!

After you’ve voted, don’t forget to subscribe – you’ll get a sneak peek at the short list before everyone else!