OPERA: In The Lap of the Gods

Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel, at 29, has taken on the world's music capitals -- and he is selling out the house

It may not benefit the art, but the TV age has brought a new way to become an opera star fast: get on the box. In 1986 mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli jump- started a huge international career by singing an aria on an Italian variety show. She was 19. Now Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel, 29, is taking the opera world by storm. His career, which is only four years old, began when he placed second in the Cardiff Singer of the World competition, an event in which both the heats and the finals are televised. Videocassettes flew around Europe, and the phone...

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