Together, Terfel and his Susanna, Cecilia Bartoli, generated matchless excitement onstage. They lived every second of their roles, with the appearance of complete spontaneity, and audiences had every right to think that they might be in for a new golden era of productions specially built around the two stars. [Figaro at the Met, 1998]
Terfel's performance as Scarpia was astonishingly real: all of the character's perversion came through, but he also generated real heat onstage. [Tosca at the Met, 2010]
. . . clear yet unaffected diction . . . Terfel and the ever-attentive Malcolm Martineau demonstrate that it's sometimes desirable to have to strain to hear something. [The Vagabond]
The directness of Terfel's communication hits you hard. It's as if he's saying "no,don't sit back thinking that is just another delightfully innocuous English song -- you must listen to this . . . this well-planned collection of music from across the border will surely enthral and enlighten a worldwide audience . . . One can't but admire such consummate control and artistry, such authority and presence . . . this is totally accomplished, totally satisfying music-making.
There is a touch of genius about this man . . . There is a breadth of phrase, variety of tone, alertness of rhythm, all the musical virtues are there . . . marvellously well guided by musicianship, intelligence and the genuine flash of inspiration . . . From the songs themselves I could not possibly wish anything more: hearing them performed like this I wouldn't swap them for half the German song repertoire or the whole of the French.
. . . it is not often that a young singer takes the songs of one's own youth and makes them new again. Bryn Terfel does just that in his rectial, "The Vagabond". Vaughan Williams's "Songs of Travel" are shown here quite clearly as having a place among the great song-cycles, with Butterworth's "A Shropshire Lad" not far behind, and Finzi's Shakespeare settings quite possibly the loveliest of all. Malcolm Martineau is the excellent accompanist.
Bryn Terfel sings with rugged beauty and brillant diction.
The program is truly a celebration, not just of Terfel's artistry, but of the power of the English language . . . to inspire such glorious musical results . . . what a joy Terfel is.
. . . there's something about this early cycle that never grows stale, its frequently heart-stopping melodic genius . . . always matched by a subtle harmonic resource and satisfying thematic integration. The great Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel has given us marvellously sympathetic readings of this enchanting repertoire.
Terfel's projection and dramatic detail of his Butterworth/Housman settings is exceptional.