Bryn Terfel turns 50 this November; and on Saturday, 7 November S4C will dedicate a whole evening of programmes to celebrate the bass-baritone’s milestone birthday.
In Bryn Terfel: Bywyd Trwy Gân Bryn will have a chance to reflect on a successful career; singing in some of the world’s most famous opera houses. Bryn will be paying a tribute to those who’ve supported him throughout the years; we’ll also hear his magnificent voice as Bryn performs some of the songs and arias that have made him famous.
“Making this programme is a chance to reflect on my life,” says Bryn. “A chance to look back at events; singing in New York for the first time, singing at the National Eisteddfod at Porthmadog with Sir Geraint Evans as one of the judges; looking back at the places I’ve visited New York, La Scala in Milan, Paris; and remembering recording for the first time.”
“There will be a lot of surprises during the programme’; there will be a screen above the stage, screening various messages from my friends from around the world during the evening. My family will be in the audience, mum, dad and my brother, as well as close friends.”
Bryn will be in Monte Carlo on his birthday, performing Tosca by Puccini. There will be plenty of celebrating at Opéra de Monte-Carlo, in Monaco, with Bryn hoping that Prince Albert will be part of the party. And during Bryn Terfel: Bywyd o Gân there will be a chance to see how Bryn reached the grand heights of opera, by watching some of Bryn’s performances when he was a teenager.
“It will be a bit of a thank you, and a chance to look back at the years, when my parents used to take me around local Eisteddfodau. Who knew then where it all would lead. I had no problem in being in an Eisteddfod on a Saturday afternoon, while my friends were playing football, or watching rugby. I lost a part of my childhood because of the decisions that I made, but treading the boards of any stage would be a positive step towards my future.”
Thinking about his favourite ever present, a recent gift springs to mind.
“Without any shadow of a doubt the best present I’ve received is one that I bought recently, a gift for myself. I used to love chopper bikes, and I had a second hand red one. I was passing a shop in Penarth about a month ago, and saw a yellow chopper bike in the window, I just had to have it.”
But Bryn’s gift to the opera world is his powerful voice. His career is going from strength to strength, as the Pantglas born admits that his diary is full for the next five years.
“My diary is set for the next five years, and I’m certain that I’ll be working until 2019. My diary is full, it has to be, and I have to know my homework and what to learn. I’m normally last minute in doing everything, but I’m fast in learning work.
“So far my career has been a bit of a journey. The closing line in the anthem is ‘Bydded i’r heniaith barhau’ and I hope that’s true with my career too, I hope it continues!”
Also during the same evening S4C will broadcast a number of programmes to celebrate Bryn Terfel’s birthday, and there will be a chance to enjoy programmes from the archive, Dawn from 1988 with the young Bryn Terfel, and then Gala Operatig Gŵyl y Faenol. The announcer between the programmes will be John Ogwen, who’s also been great friends with Bryn, and has challenged him many times on the golf course.
“He’s got the best handicap! I’m his handicap!” laughs John. “I’ve known him since he was thirteen. I invited him, and tenor John Eifion to sing a duet on a programme that I was presenting, after they won a competition at the Urdd Eisteddfod.
“He’s a great man, and he deserves the highest possible acclaim. When a boy from Pantglas is one of the best singers in the world, that’s a fantastic thing isn’t it!”
You can watch Bryn Terfel’s birthday greetings here: www.s4c.cymru/brynterfel50