An enchanting afternoon with Sir Bryn Terfel

We don’t have to tell you twice  Sir Bryn Terfel is one of the most beloved artists of our time. The Welsh bass-baritone is known internationally for his magnificent voice and captivating personality. This February, Sir Bryn will make his grand return to Lyric in a solo recital after almost 15 years.

Sir Bryn has always been known for his breathtaking Mozart roles, but has also made the seamless shift to heavier roles by Wagner and Puccini. No matter the role or composer, Sir Bryn commands the opera stage with effortless elegance. He was awarded Male Artist of the Year in the Classic Brit Awards in 2000, 2004, and 2005, and has a 2013 Best Opera Recording Grammy for the Metropolitan Opera’s recording of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen.

When it comes to his Chicago appearances, Lyric audiences most recently saw Sir Bryn’s performance in the title role of Don Giovanni in 2004 and in Lyric’s 50th Anniversary Gala that same season. He made his Lyric debut in the 1992|93 season in the role of Donner in Das Rheingold during the initial staging of Lyric's first full Ring cycle production, but he might be the most recognizable to Chicago audiences for his portrayal of the title role in Sweeney Todd in 2003. In a season with both Don Giovanni and the Ring cycle, Sir Bryn’s return this year seemed quite serendipitous.

Terfel (left) as Leporello in Don Giovanni in Lyric’s 1995|96 season.

Terfel (center) as the title role of Don Giovanni in Lyric’s 2004|05 season.

Hear what critics have been saying about Sir Bryn for the past few decades:
There are good singers, there are good actors, and there are good performers. But it is a miracle of the arts when you can find all three of them combined in the same artist, as is the case with Bryn Terfel.

- OperaWire

Terfel with Susan Graham backstage at Lyric’s 50th Anniversary Gala in 2004.

“There is a potent heft to his voice; it possesses a momentum that makes it seem as if it will keep traveling without further effort, long after it hits the ear. It is rotund and weighty, with a baritonal ring that gives it an urgency...this firmly supported sound is laden with meaning and sense.” - The New York Times

“His voice seemed to have been designed by a higher power to sing this music.” - Los Angeles Times

“In performance he's serious but casual, strong but vulnerable, sentimental but not sappy; in his hands opera never seems elitist, fey, silly, or foreign.” - Chicago Reader

Terfel as Falstaff in Lyric’s 1999|00 season.

“Is Bryn Terfel touched with genius? There's certainly something God-given about the match of his richly masculine bass-baritone and instinctive musicianship to such a heroic physical appearance and unquenchable vitality….If it isn't genius, it's a quality very like it – the stuff of legend.” - The Telegraph

“[An] electrifying display of range, power and subtlety from opera superstar Bryn Terfel.” - The Daily Post

“The Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel may have been born to sing a lot of roles… [but] it would be difficult to imagine a more perfect marriage of role, voice and stage personality than his performance of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” - The New York Times

Terfel as Sweeney Todd in Lyric’s 2002|03 season.

“[The] richness and power of his voice brought their own natural intensity to his interpretation. His singing was everything one could wish for.” - Variety, 2003


Join us in welcoming Sir Bryn Terfel back to Chicago and to Lyric on February 2nd with pianist Natalia Katyukova. Get your tickets today!

Sir Bryn Terfel in Recital

His magnificent voice, penetrating interpretive insight, and extraordinary stylistic versatility combine with a matchlessly communicative personality that captivates any audience. 

Photos: Dan Rest, Robert Kusel, Peter Thompson, Mitch Jenkins/Deutsche Grammophon