Carmen at the Met
Serse at Berkeley West Edge Opera

Und kichern und huschen vorbei

Bryn-terfel * Notes * 
Bass-baritone Bryn Terfel is currently in California for performances at LA Phil this week, but he stopped by Berkeley for a recital presented by Cal Performances last night. The first half of the program was devoted to Schumann, and Terfel sang Belsatzar, Liederkreis, "Die beiden Grenadiere" from Romanzen und Balladen, and Mein Wagen rollet langsam. Accompanied deftly by Malcolm Martineau, Terfel exuded generosity and charm as a performer. The Liederkreis was particularly telling, Terfel sang with ease, the dynamic contrasts were beautiful, and his every word was clear. The last Schumann piece, Mein Wagen rollet langsam, was quite funny, and Terfel made is way off stage as Martineau continued to play.

Terfel and Martineau were likewise evocative and engaging in Finzi's Let Us Garlands Bring. The Quatre Chansons de Don Quichotte from Ibert was lovely, especially the "Chanson de la Mort." The last part of the program was a tribute to the Welsh-American baritone John Charles Thomas. Terfel proved rather droll here, singing various pieces and telling stories about John Charles Thomas. He started with Joyce Kilmer's poem "Trees," moved on to the Welsh folksong "Ar Hyd y Nos," and sang Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Ghosts' High Noon" with much spirit. Terfel had us join him for "Home on the Range," and even joked the audience was better than the one at Carnegie Hall, where he gave essentially the same recital last Wednesday. The tribute ended with The Lord's Prayer set by Albert Hay Malotte.

The three encores were "Trade Winds" by Frederick Keel, "Green-Eyed Dragon With the Thirteen Tails" by Wolseley Charles, and "Tally Ho!" by Franco Leoni. Terfel sang the second piece with music, since it was only given to him last week after the aforementioned recital in New York.

* Tattling * 
Bryn Terfel commanded the rapt attention of the audience, which was unusually quiet. The young woman next to me did impatiently urge an usher to get out of her line of sight at the very beginning of Liederkreis. There was quite a lot of screaming during the ovations, someone even was moved to ululate.