Bad Boys

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Beethoven,Boito,Donizetti,Gershwin,Gounod & Mozart,Ponchielli,Puccini,Rossini,Schoenberg,Sondheim,Sullivan,Verdi,Weber,Weill
LABELS: DG
WORKS: Arias by Boito, Puccini, Donizetti, Verdi, Weber, Gershwin, Weill, Sullivan, Sondheim, Schoenberg, Ponchielli, Rossini, Beethoven, Gounod & Mozart
PERFORMER: Bryn Terfel (bass-baritone); Swedish Radio Choir/Arne Lundmark; Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Paul Daniel
CATALOGUE NO: 477 8091

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 Here’s a bad boy on best vocal behaviour and doing what he’s always liked most: mixing the repertoire. So Iago rubs shoulders with Sweeney Todd and Pizzaro is on nodding terms with Sportin’ Life.

And just as you would expect, Bryn Terfel takes as much care with Sondheim and Gershwin as with Verdi and Beethoven. Even ‘There out in the darkness’, Javert’s sock-it-to-me number from Les misérables, is treated completely seriously.

The voice may be too soft-grained for Iago’s evil and tone perhaps too honeyed to catch the malice of Don Basilio’s hymn (in Barber of Seville) to the delights of spreading slander in ‘La calunnia’, but Terfel is a consummate singing actor.

Where some Scarpias spit out every note like a mouthful of gravel as the choir prepare to sing the Te Deum at the end of Act I of Tosca and the villain thinks he’s landed the diva, Terfel positively caresses the phrase ‘Va’, Tosca! Nel tuo cor s’annida Scarpia!’

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And what other artist could find such different voices for singing Il Commendatore, Don Giovanni and Leporello in the closing scene of Mozart’s opera. It might not be opera as we would want to hear it on stage, but it’s magnificent nonetheless. Christopher Cook