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Bryn Terfel

Sue Lawley's castaway is bass-baritone singer Bryn Terfel.

This week Sue Lawley's castaway is the Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel. Still only in his 30s, he's sung at the world's biggest opera houses and can pick and choose where he works and the productions he wants to star in. He began singing in his first competitions at the age of three. Born into a farming family in the tiny village of Pentglas in North Wales which has only a handful of houses, one shop and one church, he was brought up singing at Chapel and regularly competed and won the National Eistedfodd cultural event.

His first language was Welsh and as a young child he had to communicate with English children camping on his parents land in the summer holidays with sign language. It was from those children he eventually learnt the language and by watching television. As a teenager, he considered being a fireman or a policeman, but he won a scholarship to the Guildhall in London and the rest is history. Since then, he's performed and recorded all the great operatic works as well as a number of 'cross-over' CDs of hits from musicals and also an album in Welsh.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: Return to Sender by Elvis Presley
Book: Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
Luxury: Millenium Centre in Cardiff

Available now

45 minutes

Music Played

Add music you love and enjoy it with My Tracks
  • Frank Sinatra

    One For My Baby

    • Frank Sinatra - The Reprise Years.
    • Reprise.
  • Mynddog-Parry


    Choir: The Treorchy Male Choir Conductor: John Cynan Jones

    • The Pride of Wales.
    • HMV.
  • Johannes Brahms

    Denn alles Fleisch (from German Requiem)

    Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor: Eric Erison

    • Brahms: German Requiem Op.45.
    • Deutsche Grammophon.
  • Lionel Richie


    • The All Time Greatest Love Songs.
    • Columbia.
  • Sting

    An Englishman In New York

    • Nothing Like The Sun.
    • AM & PM.
  • Johannes Brahms

    Symphony No. 1 in C minor - 2nd movement

    Orchestra: Boston Symphony Orchestra Conductor: Seiji Ozawa

    • Brahms Symphony No. 1.
    • Deutsche Grammophon.
  • Karl Jenkins


    Soloist: Miriam Stockley Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor: by Karl Jenkins

    • Adiemus - Songs of Sanctuary.
    • Venture Records.
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Elvis Presley

      Return to Sender

      • Elvis Presley-16 Top Tracks.
      • RCA.
  • Book Choice

    • Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt

  • Luxury Choice

    • Millenium Centre in Cardiff


Role Contributor
Presenter Sue Lawley
Interviewed Guest Bryn Terfel


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