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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 February 2008, 14:22 GMT
Opera star puts his family first
Bryn Terfel is rehearsing for a performance of Falstaff in Cardiff on 1 March

The Welsh opera star Bryn Terfel says he put his family first when he pulled out of a major Covent Garden production just weeks before the performance.

The Royal Opera expressed "shock and surprise" when the singer took the step last year citing a "stressful family situation".

It was later revealed that his son needed surgery for a broken finger.

But speaking to BBC Radio Cymru's Stiwdio programme, Terfel says he would do it again if his family needed him.

Speaking as he prepares for the Welsh National Opera's sold-out Falstaff performance, he added: "I tell you now, if something should happen to the family during this production of Falstaff in Cardiff, the decision would be the same.

"There was no dilemma at all. The decision was clear."

Bryn Terfel
There would also have been an angry six-year-old little boy if Dad wasn't there.
Bryn Terfel

Back in September 2007, his announcement to pull out of Wagner's Ring Cycle production at Covent Garden split opinions among opera critics, attracting some harsh criticism from some writers.

The Daily Telegraph's Rupert Christiansen said: "Opera is a cruel business and, even for those at the top, there are only limited chances and limited time.

"Terfel is playing a dangerous game, inasmuch as he seems to assume his balance is so heavily in credit that he is allowed a certain margin of error."


But Terfel staunchly defended his actions on the Stiwdio programme: "It may be the fact that it would've been the first time I had performed all of the three operas.

"But this unfortunate little accident happened to Deio who needed three operations, lasting four hours.

"I went to London and the two-day rehearsals for Siegfried were going perfectly.

"But there was something in the back of my mind saying 'this isn't the time' because you have to be there 100% for something."

On the final decision to pull out of the performance, he added: "Of course there was an angry opera house, but there would also have been an angry six-year-old little boy if Dad wasn't there."


Despite the furore at the time, it now appears any rift between the singer and the Royal Opera House is well and truly healed, with Terfel set to take up his role in the Ring Cycle again in 2012.

But when he is not performing, he remains firmly a family man at his home at Bontnewydd, near Caernarfon, Gwynedd, enjoying the company of his three sons.

"I rarely sing in front of them," he admits.

"Because to be honest, I'm a taxi driver once they come home from school, whether it be for the choir practice, football or rugby or swimming..."

The full interview can be heard on Radio Cymru's Stiwdio programme on Thursday 28 February at 1800 GMT

Terfel cancels Ring performances
03 Sep 07 |  Entertainment


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