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Bryn Terfel Choir

He’s a big man, with a red beard (dusted with grey), a mane of hair (sometimes cropped), a big, mobile mouth, and a huge bass baritone voice that could knock you careening across the room if his tenderness hadn’t already knocked you out and sent you to paradise.

I am preaching to the vast and global choir of Bryn Terfel fans.

Called “a voice in a billion,” Terfel is a Brit and a Welshman who can sing with love or comic mischief in English, Italian or German. His ardent musicianship is stunning.

In March he was awarded the Shakespeare Prize, awarded for “outstanding contributions to European cultural heritage in English-speaking countries in Europe”. In July the Queen presented him with the Queen’s Medal for Music, established to honour musicians who have made a profound contribution to Britain’s musical life. In August he held his annual bank holiday festival at beautiful Faenol in North Wales, where he grew up. In November he will tour Singapore, Australia, and Hong Kong.

"I started singing because I come from Wales," says Bryn, who is married to his childhood sweetheart and is raising three children. He throws himself into his roles – Figaro, Falstaff, Wotan, Don Giovanni, Papageno – and sings German lieder, English songs by Vaughan Williams and Butterworth, show songs by Rodgers & Hammerstein and Lerner & Loewe, and, naturally, Welsh songs.

A fan, seeing him in a music store, fainted. When she came to she realized she had been bowled over by his life-sized cut-out. To be bowled over by his voice, go here, and turn your volume up. These are the songs he released in September – Tutto Mozart, Mozart Forever.