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Wagner ·Terfel: Berliner Philharmoniker / Abbado
Richard Wagner, Claudio Abbado, Berliner Philharmoniker
Wagner ·Terfel: Berliner Philharmoniker / Abbado
Genres: Rock, Classical
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #1

Bryn Terfel brings a resonant voice and wide emotional range to Wagner's bass-baritone roles. He's a touching Flying Dutchman, a grief-laden Amfortas in two scenes from Parsifal, a wise, sympathetic Hans Sachs in the two m...  more »


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All Artists: Richard Wagner, Claudio Abbado, Berliner Philharmoniker, Bryn Terfel
Title: Wagner ·Terfel: Berliner Philharmoniker / Abbado
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 1
Label: © 2002 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Hamburg
Release Date: 2/12/2002
Genres: Rock, Classical
Styles: Opera & Classical Vocal, Instruments, Keyboard
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
Other Editions: Bryn Terfel Sings Wagner
UPC: 028947134824

Bryn Terfel brings a resonant voice and wide emotional range to Wagner's bass-baritone roles. He's a touching Flying Dutchman, a grief-laden Amfortas in two scenes from Parsifal, a wise, sympathetic Hans Sachs in the two monologues from Die Meistersinger, and at his best in a smoothly sung rendition of Wolfram's Evening Star aria from Tannhäuser. The only quibble is a degree of overemoting that can sectionalize scenes through an excess of passion where understatement often works better. The first part of "Leb' wohl," for example, is delivered with a surplus of anger where sad resignation would be more appropriate, since Wotan's fury has been spent by the time we reach this point. Such vocal heavy lifting sometimes reminds one of the old "Bayreuth bark" school of Wagnerian singing, but those moments pass quickly. It's doubtful you'll find anything amiss if you're not familiar with past masters like Hans Hotter and Friederich Schorr. Wagnerians and Terfel fans will snap this up. --Dan Davis

CD Reviews

Finally, a singer instead of a barker!
Gregory J. Diercks | Chicago, IL USA | 03/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I heard Mr. Terfel sign the "Leb wohl" scene at Ravinia two summers ago. So, when I heard he was putting out a Wagner CD I was very excited.Unlike a previous review, I find it refreshing that we have a bass-baritone who doesn't find it necessary to shout Wagnerian music. Remember when Placido Domingo first ventured into Wagner - many said his voice was too light. In fact he turned into one of the great Parsifals and Lohengrins of this generation because he actually sang the music instead of shouting the music. I believe Terfel will do the same. He is not only a gifted and singer, he is a highly intelligent man who will most certainly use his voice and talent wisely. I believe this disc is showing that already.I do agree that the characters need to be deepened - that will come with experience and time on stage. For now, I'm perfectly happening listening to beautiful sounds being made by a delightful human being."
Just a few years too soon, yet worth having
drvox | Nashville, TN | 04/07/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"So perfect in Mozart's Figaro and Verdi's Falstaff, it would seem Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel's vocal pedigree would be stamped for approval in the baritone roles of Richard Wagner's music dramas. What was so thrilling in his initial recordings of Schubert lieder, English art song literature and Richard Rodgers musical theatre melodies has accidentally fallen into the vocal palette with which this great singer has chosen to paint his Wagnerian characters, and in doing so, much is lost. In those earlier releases, Mr. Terfel's whittling down of his vocal resources to express caresses, whispers, and sighs brought colors which stood out greatly against his vocal declamations, cries and peals of laughter. However, in Wagnerian music these characteristics seem as out of place as might the use of Shakespearean cant in a television sitcom. Fortunately for the listener, Mr. Terfel does not limit himself to painting with these conversational brush strokes, but allows himself at moments of climax the type of full-bodied vocalism that one might expect from an operatic artist of his vocal eminence. These concerns aside, Mr. Terfel simply sounds too young for all of these roles, save Tannhauser's Wolfram, a role he has performed onstage. Perhaps hearing himself in this recording is what propelled Mr. Terfel to delay the assumption of Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger, a role he was slated to sing as early as 2003. Another decade of vocal maturity will do much to enhance the Wagnerian performances of a singer who has already proved himself to be a member of the vocal pantheon."
Klingsor Tristan | Suffolk | 09/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Here's a disc to get Wagnerians salivating at the prospect of great things to come. Despite numerous and, no doubt, lucrative offers, Bryn Terfel wisely resisted the lure of the big Wagnerian roles until he felt he and his voice were ready for them. Apparently we have, in part, to thank Solti's wise words of warning for that. There is no doubt that here is potentially one of the great Wagnerian bass-baritones in the making, worthy to be compared with van Rooy, Schorr and Hotter. Terfel has the ability and the taste to sing with the kind of bel canto line that Wagner always said he wanted but, alas, has so seldom received.

But! It is still early days and there are times in this collection when a lack of stage experience in these parts shows. Yes, the singing is consistenly beautiful with the characteristic Terfel traits of wonderfully floated mezza voces and ringing top notes (listen to the end of the Dutchman's aria).

However, the depth of characterisation is sometimes lacking. Amfortas' anguish is too generalised. Sachs' understanding of mankind's foibles in the Wahnmonolog derives from the specific text rather than the character as a whole. Wotan, who undergoes the great sea-change in his character that turns him into the resigned Wanderer of Siegfried at precisely this point in Walkure (the Farewell), is still too much the angry, bitter Wotan of Act II and the beginning of Act III. (Remember, this disc was made before he embarked on his first stage performances.) Compare Terfel at "der freie als ich, der Gott: one freer than I, the God" - a forte outburst of resentment from Bryn's god: with Hotter, an infinitely moving patina of resignation colours the voice. Nevertheless, Terfel's ban on fearful fire-invaders at the end is hugely stirring.

It is, perhaps, the earlier Wagner that fares best. The Dutchman's Monologue, which he has recorded before with Levine, is hair-raising in the best sense. Wolfram's Song to the Evening Star is sublime. Even Sachs' Fliedermonolog, part of Terfel's repertoire since the famous head-to-head with Hvorostovsky in Cardiff, is sung with sensitivity and a wonderful sense of line. Amfortas perhaps lies a little high for his voice. Gurnemanz will, I think, prove to be the Parsifal part for him - a pity maybe that he didn't give us the Good Friday Scene instead of the Amfortas monologues. The orchestral accompaniments from Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic are, like the voice, stronger on beauty of tone than characterisation, but they get the recital off to a rousing start with a fine live performance of the Hollander Overture.

All in all, then, an appetising taster of (hopefully) things to come, a must for Wagnerians and Terfelians alike, but I feel sure there are greater performances to come from Terfel in this repertoire (witness his recent Wotan at Covent Garden and the Proms) - especially when he tackles complete roles rather than 'bleeding chunks'.