Baritone Bryn Terfel Launches Welsh Music Fest

Opera star joined onstage by Denyce Graves, Marcello Alvarez.

Welsh baritone Bryn Terfel launched his own opera festival this weekend on the Faenol estate near Bangor, Wales.

"This Festival at Faenol fulfills my long-cherished ambition to perform in North Wales and I am delighted that some very special guests will be joining me," Terfel said in a statement before the event. "We'll be performing some of my favorite music from opera to songs from the musicals, and there'll be some of the best Welsh bands. The setting is spectacular and I'm look[ing] forward to welcoming everyone to a wonderful weekend of music at my first Faenol Festival."

Terfel himself headlined the Friday night show and was joined by Denyce Graves — with whom he will perform at New York's Metropolitan Opera in September — and Argentinean tenor Marcello Alvarez.

The rest of the weekend was a mix of opera, show tunes — with Terfel singing alongside Welsh singers Michael Ball and Sian Cothi — and even rock music. Reportedly more than 14,000 advance tickets were sold and even more fans showed up at the country estate, despite scattered rainfall.

Terfel, who lives near Caernarfon, just a few miles away from Faenol, and who grew up in nearby Pantglas, told the BBC that he hopes to make the weekend festival an annual event. Terfel said if the event was successful, he would like to have fellow Welsh superstar Tom Jones perform next year.

Timed with the event, Deutsche Grammophon released a collection of Terfel singing favorite Welsh songs and hymns for choir. We'll Keep a Welcome features the Risca Male Choir and the Black Mountain Choir, with Gareth Jones conducting the Welsh National Opera Orchestra.