News Story

Bryn Terfel Joins Choir for Mendelssohn’s Elijah

Bass-baritone Bryn Terfel insisted on personally inspecting every “nook and cranny” of the restored Tabernacle for its acoustic qualities before stepping into the shoes of Elijah, the Old Testament prophet, as he joined the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square this past Friday and Saturday in the performance of Mendelssohn’s oratorio Elijah.

“Hearing the Choir sing a cappella in the Tabernacle gave me goose bumps,” said Terfel as he carefully studied the hall in order to perfectly adapt his voice to his surroundings. Terfel was joined by other guest artists including tenor Robert Breault, soprano Othalie Graham, mezzo-soprano Adriana Zabala and 12-year old Zachary Adamson.  Craig Jessop, music director of the Choir, conducted.

“It was the perfect evening,” said John Seastrand, a local banker who attended Friday’s concert. “You couldn’t ask for a more beautiful setting, the weather, the grounds, the renovated Tabernacle, those incredible voices, and frankly, I’ve never heard the Choir sound better.”

Terfel first performed with the Choir back in December 2003 at their sold-out Christmas concerts in the Conference Center to a combined audience of over 80,000. It was then, when Terfel was touring the Tabernacle with Craig Jessop that the seed was planted to someday return and sing “a certain oratorio.”

“When you sing with the Choir, it’s such an amazing atmosphere, not just a welcome of music but also a social element. It’s the love that’s alive in the room. The music transports that,” said Terfel of his experiences of singing with the Choir.  

The Choir felt the same way about singing with the world-renowned baritone.  “Bryn is such a consummate artist in so many ways.  The drama and enthusiasm he brings to the oratorio from his opera background is infectious.  He is like the tide that raises all the ships.  We all performed at a higher level as we performed with Bryn,” said Jessop after the performances.

The Choir and Orchestra are currently preparing for their upcoming summer tour which will feature performances in Toronto, Canada; Chautauqua, New York; Cleveland, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; Cincinnati, Ohio; Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee. The tour repertoire will feature a great variety of works, including selections from the choral classics, patriotic music, and famed songs from Broadway and Hollywood featured on the Choir’s latest release Showtime.

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