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Wednesday, 23 January, 2002, 16:04 GMT
Terfel takes on the dark side
Bryn Terfel as Don Giovanni
Bryn Terfel is said to be at the height of his powers
Bryn Terfel is delighted to be back at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden in the title role of Don Giovanni.

The popular Mozart opera is one the 36-year-old bass baritone from Faenol near Caernarfon, north Wales, knows well.


That's the kind of Jekyll-and-Hyde character I want to play

Bryn Terfel
He served his apprenticeship in the roles of Mazetto and Leporello before starring as the ageing libertine in productions in Paris and New York.

Terfel is also pleased to lead a strong Welsh contingent with Robert Lloyd as the Commendatore and Rebecca Evans as Zerlina.

He said he plays Don Giovanni as a man whose powers of sexual conquest are waning.

"His sexual virility has come to an end - I put all my efforts into having a Don Giovanni that really fails from the moment you hear those chromatic chords in the overture.

Bryn Terfel as Don Giovanni
Bryn Terfel has a powerful physical presence
"His downfall is there in front of everybody's eyes - that's the kind of Jekyll-and-Hyde character I want to play on the stage."

Bryn Terfel admits that having the powerful stature of a rugby player means that he cannot play the shrinking violet.

"You have to play it to your physicality - people might describe me as a number eight, who might play in the back of the scrum.

"I'm a big fellow so I have to use this height.

"But also I have this beautiful little Zerlina - Rebecca Evans from Wales.

"She is really tiny so we can really play with that difference in height."

Rebecca Evans plays a peasant girl whose purity attracts Don Giovanni.

She believes that the female characters add some light to a very dark production.

Rebecca Evans
Rebecca Evans enjoys working with Bryn Terfel
Like the rest of the cast she admits she is physically overawed by Terfel's Giovanni.

"I am a physical foil but I think out of the three women I become the strongest, which is very interesting as I'm the tiniest as well," she said.

"But I'm absolutely opposite to him."

For Bryn Terfel, it is a pleasure to return to the Royal Opera House, now fully re-opened following a period of major refurbishment.

"When I opened the Opera House with Falstaff (in December 1999) nothing was finished, only the performing spaces and the opera house itself.

"But now to see it in its glory ... the technical capabilities we are tasting now ... in the next ten years I think productions will become very exciting in this opera house.

"I'm glad I'm a part of it."

Don Giovanni can be seen at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, until 28 February 2002.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Wales's Jon Gower
"Bryn Terfel has been described as an artist at the height of his powers"
Bryn Terfel
"You have to play it to your physicality"
See also:

11 Jan 01 | Entertainment
BBC's Hall takes top opera job
11 Jan 01 | Entertainment
A year in Covent Garden
26 Aug 00 | Wales
Opera star's festival success
26 Nov 99 | Entertainment
Bryn's House party
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