Southbank Centre is one of the leading destinations for the world's top musicians and our iconic buildings in the heart of London regularly host the musical stars of today and tomorrow. Each year we are proud to welcome performers from around the globe, who share their passions and enthusiasms with our diverse and appreciative audiences.
Nowhere is that more apparent than in one amazing week in December 2012. Southbank Centre sees the likes of conductor Lorin Maazel, soprano Allison Bell, pianist Daniil Trifonov and opera superstar Bryn Terfel passing through its doors, checking into the Green Room and treading the boards of the Royal Festival Hall stage. That very same week Handel’s masterpiece Messiah is performed by one of our Resident Orchestras, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – an ensemble whose own reputation is admired around the world.
The welcome return of the Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel is a major highlight. He comes to sing the title role in a concert performance of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman. Described by The Times as ‘a born communicator who loves words as much as music,’ Terfel has won acclaim from audiences around the world for his rich and sonorous voice, magnetic stage presence and charismatic communication.
‘There is always a certain excitement in singing Wagner,’ says Terfel. ‘I always feel that The Flying Dutchman actually pushes me to my limits more than, say, the roles of Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger or Wotan in Das Rheingold. The role is very, very dramatic and uses every colour and nuance that the bass-baritone voice has.’
Terfel joins one of Europe’s most illustrious opera companies, Zurich Opera Orchestra and Chorus, for the performance. ‘Wagner operas are as difficult for the orchestra as they are for the singers and audience, and this shared experience adds to the excitement of each performance,’ explains Terfel. ‘There is a collective feeling that we are all accomplishing something together.’
‘This is a very exciting opportunity for audiences to hear a concert version of the opera. It’s always very dramatic to hear the voice in an acoustic that’s close and very intimate. You hear all the different voice categories in the performance: a tenor, a bass, a dramatic soprano – then add to that a choir singing in its fullest glory and a well-rehearsed orchestra, and it just intensifies the power of the concert performance. The Flying Dutchman is a very dramatic piece and encapsulates everything of Wagner’s writing – the dynamics, the sound, the textures. It promises to be a thrilling experience for everyone.’
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