Mustering up his most menacing grimace for the front cover image -- and looking a little like the way Victor McLaglan looked in John Ford's The Informer -- bass-baritone Bryn Terfel delivers his latest DG offering, Bad Boys, a collection of arias drawn from the repertoire of the bad guys in opera: Mephistopheles, Scarpia, Iago, Sportin' Life, and others. Terfel is very much in his element and on his game here, and the recording is gloriously full and well detailed, featuring the Swedish Radio Symphony under Paul Daniel with the expert Swedish Radio Choir tipping in at key points. The orchestrations are all original, so those who complained about the contemporary-styled orchestrations on some of Terfel's more crossover-flavored projects should have no reason to carp with Bad Boys, save the one created for "Stars: There, out in the darkness" from Les Misérables. Indeed, the weakest selections seem to be the more contemporary ones -- "Moritat" and "It ain't necessarily so" -- but these make up only a small part of a menu consisting of 15 items here. Terfel has been struggling for some time leading up to this to deliver an album that will please his fan base, split between camps that either favors opera or those who just his like voice generally and don't necessarily care for opera. Bad Boys is a good concept and this disc should appeal to most everyone in Terfel's retinue; it gives every appearance of having been compiled with care with an eye toward good taste, even if the subjects of these various roles were inherently "bad."
AllMusic Review by Uncle Dave Lewis
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