V0705. BRYN TERFEL, w.Paul Daniel Cond. English Northern Philharmonia: Something Wonderful, incl. Rodgers & Hammerstein Songs and Scenes from Broadway Musicals. DG 449 163, recorded 1995. Final copy! - 028944916324
“Winner of the Lieder prize at the 1989 Cardiff 'Singer of the World' competition AND Gramophone magazine's 'Young Artist of the Year' for 1992, Welsh baritone Bryn Terfel has proven himself in a wide variety of repertoire, including all three baritone roles in 'Don Giovanni'; English songs and orchestral works; lieder; and many operatic rôles. SOMETHING WONDERFUL, which received a 1997 Gramophone Award, shows Terfel completely at home in the American musical theater by way of the songs of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.
The program is drawn from seven of Rodgers & Hammerstein's nine Broadway musicals and includes one selection from the film 'State Fair'. The result is a mix of the familiar—‘Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’ and ‘Edelweiss’--and the unknown—‘Come Home from ALLEGRO receives its first recording here. Terfel is in fine voice throughout, and his interpretations of the songs are perfectly suited. This is sensitive, thoughtful work by a singer who might well be at home on any of today's musical revival recordings . His commitment to the material is evident in every word, his comprehension of the characters complete.
The musicals of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II are neo-operettas that provide many opportunities for big baritone voices to strut their stuff. In the original productions, Alfred Drake (Oklahoma!), John Raitt (Carousel), and opera singer Ezio Pinza (South Pacific) made the most of those opportunities in songs like ‘Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin', ‘The Surrey with the Fringe on Top’, ‘If I Loved You’, ‘Soliloquy’, ‘Some Enchanted Evening’,"and ‘This Nearly Was Mine’, and it is reasonable to expect that these rangy, dramatic songs would also serve a contemporary opera singer like Bryn Terfel. They do, but the fun of this album comes when Terfel tries out songs not originally written for the big-voiced male leads and instead tries a lusty, uptempo number like ‘June Is Bustin' Out All Over’ or a comic one like ‘There Is Nothing Like a Dame’. His success with such material demonstrates an unusual versatility and a willingness to meet the material not typical of the spate of opera-singers-doing-show-music albums. And it makes this one of the best of the bunch.”
- William Ruhlmann, Program Notes