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Now we are five... THIS weekend sees the Wales Millennium Centre start its fifth anniversary season with a three-day gala of opera from Bryn Terfel and the Mariinsky Theatre. Matt Thomas meets the main movers and shakers and discovers exactly what has been going on behind the scenes.

Byline: Bryn Terfel

HE may be singing just a single act of Wagner's Die Walkre at tonight's Mariinsky Opera Gala, but Bryn Terfel says he's treating it like a full Ring Cycle. "You can't really approach it any other way," says the bass-baritone.

"It's not going to be a full operatic production , of course, but a concert recital. However you can't view the performance as being of a different quality or intensity.

"Also, it's going to be great having the orchestra up out of the pit and on stage with Valery Gergiev conducting. S

It does give quite a different perspective on things."

Although this will be the first time that Gergiev has conducted Terfel in the UK, the pair have worked together before - during Terfel's sojourns at the St Petersburg base of the Mariinsky Opera.

"Actually, the association goes back a lot longer than that," explains the Caernarfon-based singer.

"Funnily enough, he worked with the Cardiff Singer of the World Dimitri Hvorostovsky, who won the year I took the Lieder Prize 1989, on his first two albums, so he has a very long association with Wales, you know."

Known for an intense conducting style and equally furious work rate, Gergiev even managed to impress Terfel, no slouch himself when it comes to performing and releasing albums.

"He's a fiend for conducting," says Terfel. "He never rests. His energy is boundless. He works in more countries, in morS major opera houses, on more productions than almost anyone else in the world of classical music. It's a delight to have him here."

While working with Gergiev at the WMC will be one of Terfel's highlights of the year, he says he always enjoys the time he spends there, whether it's on the stage or in front of it.

"I'm a bit jealous of the people in Cardiff, having such a fantastic venue," he says.

"Living up here in North Wales it's very easy to see just how impressive the place is, and looking at all of the things they have coming up next year, the new production of Les Miserables for example, things don't seem to be changing any time soon."

Terfel will be back at the WMC himself soon enough, doing Wagner next year, taking on the role of Hans Sachs in the WNO's Die Meistersinger von Nrnberg.

"What's the biggest challenge? Just getting through it," he laughs.

"It's going to be directed by Richard Jones, who has a very solid track record with the company, and I'm looking forward to it intensely."

CLICK ON For more info on the celebrator y season, watch the Arts Show at WalesOnline.co.uk /video

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 9, 2009
Words:446
Previous Article:fivelive on this week's to-do list.
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