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Tuesday, 31 December, 2002, 07:49 GMT
Terfel's road to opera glory
Bryn Terfel, opera singer
The singer has enjoyed a successful opera career
Welsh opera star Bryn Terfel CBE has enjoyed a meteoric rise to stardom since getting his first major break 10 years ago.

The Anglesey-born bass baritone was marked out for stardom after graduating from the Guildhall School of Music in London in 1989.

Bryn Terfel as Falstaff
Bryn Terfel: A great Falstaff

His first major taste of success came that same year, when he won the Lieder prize in the Cardiff Singer of the World competition, and he went on to be named as Gramophone magazine's Young Singer of the Year in 1992.

Further accolades followed, as Terfel won the International Classical Music Awards as Newcomer of the Year the following year.

But the singer was most comfortable away from the award ceremonies, performing on stage in early roles such as Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte and Figaro The Marriage of Figaro for the Welsh National Opera.

This was followed by roles as Masetto in Don Giovanni at the Royal Opera House and Figaro, a part he has become famous for around the world.

The 37-year-old has become a household name for performances at La Scala, the Royal Albert Hall, Vienna State Opera and other famous venues.

He debuted at La Scala as Figaro in 1997 and then went on to play Scarpia in Tosca before developing the recent roles of Don Giovanni and Falstaff.

La Scala, Milan
Bryn Terfel made his La Scala debut in 1997

As well as becoming one of the most sought after opera singers, the Welshman has remained passionately loyal to his singing roots.

While starring in the lead role of Don Giovanni and Verdi's Falstaff at the Royal Opera House, Terfel has also found the time and energy to create the successful Faenol Festival in the area where he grew up in north Wales.

Terfel has made the role of Falstaff his own and he performed in a gala show at the reopening of the ROH three years ago and is back in the role at the Covent Garden next February.

His passion for Faenol - which starred Martine McCutcheon and Claire Sweeney this summer - saw the event named Greatest Welsh Show of 2002 at the Welsh Tourism Awards.

He described the award as a big honour and stressed the importance of his Welsh heritage and musical traditions.

Martine McCutcheon
Martine McCutcheon closed the show

His recently released Welsh language album We'll Keep A Welcome has sold more than 100,000 copies worldwide, making it the biggest Welsh language release of all time.

Other proud moments for the Welshman include singing at the opening of the Rugby World Cup in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium in 1999, and the warm up to Wales' already famous 2-1 win over Italy in the Euro 2004 qualifiers.

See also:

31 Dec 02 | Wales
31 Dec 02 | Wales
31 Dec 02 | Wales
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