Arts and Entertainment

Very occasionally you are lucky enough to encounter a performance in which a sort of mystical transformation takes place: when the music and the way it is performed simply embody the emotion that underlies it.

Album: Bryn Terfel, Bad Boys (Deutsche Grammophon)

As a bass-baritone, Bryn Terfel regularly has to wear the metaphorical black hat in the standard operatic value-system, so this anthology of great bad-guy roles, from Iago and Mephistopheles to Sweeney Todd and Mack The Knife, is custom-built to showcase his dark, brooding qualities.

Monty kicks out luvvies and liggers

Ryder Cup captain insists 2010 back-up team will be strictly from world of golf

Observations: All hail Sir John Tomlinson, opera's king of bass

Help! – is there a bass-baritone in the house? When one of these rare beasts falls sick, as has just happened at Covent Garden, the search for a replacement becomes a nail-biter, particularly when the role is as demanding as that of King Marke in Tristan und Isolde. It just so happened that the perfect replacement was indeed in the house, just singing another role on other nights. Step forward Sir John Tomlinson, the Wotan of many critics' dreams – "magnificent", "towering", and "majestic" being the commonest epithets – and therefore the dream King Marke too. His magnificent etc performance as the Grand Inquisitor in Covent Garden's current Don Carlos will, from 29 September onwards, be complemented by this tormented royal victim.

Isles of light: Croatia's Dalmatian coast

Setting a course around Croatia's lesser-known islands, John Walsh makes a voyage of discovery – encountering beautiful surroundings, sheer luxury and overassertive locals

A rookie at the Ring cycle

Valery Gergiev's Mariinsky production of Wagner's epic at the Royal Opera House didn't excite all of the critics, but 'Ring' newcomer Ivan Fallon left the auditorium after 18 hours hooked on this classic

Welsh jeweller is 'running out of gold'

Clogau Gold is a roaring success, but it has one big problem; it can't reopen its mine.

Kathleen Ferrier Awards, Wigmore Hall, London

Singing competitions are inherently dramatic, whether it’s Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Bryn Terfel slugging it out for the title of Cardiff Singer of the World in 1989 (Terfel got the consolation prize), or an obscure young Chinese textile worker named Guang Yang winning the mezzo title, and becoming an international star overnight.

Doctor Atomic, Coliseum, London<br/>Der fliegende Holländer, Royal Opera House, London<br/>Five:15, Oran Mór, Glasgow

One great aria is enough to make John Adams's new opera a blast. But the rest is a fascinating failure

The Flying Dutchman, Royal Opera House, London

You knew from the palpable fizz of those open fifths in tremolando violins and the cut and thrust of the horns that conductor Marc Albrecht was very much at the helm of Wagner's Flying Dutchman and that he'd started exactly as he meant to go on. Add to that the flying Welshman, Bryn Terfel, weighing anchor in a performance of thrilling intensity more than matched on this occasion by a soprano, Anja Kampe, who simply knows no fear; throw in the Royal Opera Chorus on blistering form and a stage director, Tim Albery, for whom less is always more, and you have one of those rare evenings in the opera house that has you sitting so far forward in your seat that every muscle in your body is aching by close of play.

Wagner Der fliegende Hollander, Royal Opera House, London

You knew from the palpable fizz of those open fifths in tremolando violins and the cut and thrust of the horns that conductor Marc Albrecht was very much at the helm of Wagner’s Flying Dutchman and that he’d started exactly as he meant to go on.

Bryn Terfel: 'I haven't been pushed to the limit yet'

The Welsh bass-baritone megastar is aware of his jovial, genial image - but offers some words of caution

You Write The Reviews: Gower Festival, Various venues, Gower Peninsula

Can there be a more charming and intimate chamber-music series anywhere in Britain than the Gower Festival? It takes place on the beautiful peninsula west of Swansea in the last fortnight of July, and has just completed its 32nd year. The concerts are all given in the local medieval churches and discovering these is a treat in itself: from Ilston, with its bat colony and kingfisher streams, to Oxwich, hidden in woods on a point almost out to sea.

Royal Opera welcomes back Bryn Terfel for Wagnerian reprise at Covent Garden

When Bryn Terfel pulled out of Wagner's Ring cycle last year, the Royal Opera House issued an unusually terse statement, expressing "shock and surprise" at his decision.

Falstaff, Millennium Centre, Cardiff<br/>Five: 15, Oran Mor, Glasgow

Oh, what a knight! The drinking, the laughter, the flirtations, the yawns...
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