Gerald Finley

Bass-Baritone

Gerald Finley

Gerald Finley was born in Montreal and studied at the University of Ottawa, King's College Cambridge and the Royal College of Music in London. He is particularly renowned as a Mozart singer, including Papageno, Guglielmo and both Figaro and Count Almaviva amongst his many international successes. Other repertoire includes Marcello, Yeletsky, the title-role in Eugene Onegin, and an acclaimed Captain Balstrode for English National Opera in 2009. He has been involved with the premieres of several important contemporary operas, creating the roles of Harry Heegan in Mark-Anthony Turnage's The Silver Tassie and Lawyer Stern in the same composer's Anna Nicole in 2011, the title-role in Tobias Picker's Fantastic Mr Fox and, most famously, Doctor Oppenheimer in John Adam's Doctor Atomic. Finley is also a prolific recitalist with an extensive song discography to his name: his recordings of songs by Schumann, Ravel, Ives and Barber (all with the pianist Julius Drake) have been particularly well-received.

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Sibelius: In the Stream of Life

Sibelius: In the Stream of Life

Songs by Sibelius


Sibelius:

Pohjola's Daughter, Op. 49

In the Stream of Life

Seven Songs orch. E. Rautavaara. Premiere recording

Koskenlaskijan morsiamet (The Rapids-Rider’s Brides), Op. 33

Romance in C major for strings, Op. 42

Hymn to Thaïs (Text: Arthur H. Borgström)

Demanten på marssnön, Op. 36 No. 6 (Wecksell)

Hertig Magnus, Op. 57 No. 6

The Oceanides, Op. 73

På verandan på vid havet, Op. 38 No. 2 (Viktor Runeberg)

I natten, Op. 38 No. 3

Kom nu hit, Död, Op. 60 No. 1 (Bertel Gripenberg after Shakespeare)


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here

The exceptional collaboration and friendship between the late Einojuhani Rautavaara and the internationally acclaimed bass-baritone Gerald Finley culminates in this unique album of orchestral songs by Sibelius, on which the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra is conducted by Edward Gardner.

The album offers orchestrations, by Sibelius and others, of songs which Sibelius originally wrote for voice and piano, and includes the premiere recording of In the Stream of Life, seven songs orchestrated by Rautavaara for his friend. Throughout, the poetry perfectly reflects the instinctively felt relation between Finnish nature and Sibelius’s music.

As Finley reveals: ‘the recording of [In the Stream of Life] became a very personal project when the sessions took place only a few weeks after [Rautavaara’s] death, in the same week as his funeral... and I am so thankful that a final addition was made possible when in the last months of his life [Rautavaara] agreed to orchestrate “Hjärtats morgon” and include it in the group.’

“Rautavaara's orchestrations are so convincingly Sibelian that on first hearing I completely forgot I wasn't listening to the The Real Thing...Finley is in magnificent voice throughout: though it's relatively uncommon to find non-Finnish singers tackling this repertoire, he seems completely at home with both the sound-world and the texts.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 30th December 2016

“Finley sings them all with his usual finesse and careful shading, reserving his full power for the few genuinely climactic moments...The subtle, respectful orchestrations wrap around his voice like a glove...Gardner and his orchestra include very fine performances of three orchestral works.” The Guardian, 4th January 2017 ****

“The measured beauty of Gerald Finley’s singing in subdued songs conjures impressive wintry vistas” Financial Times, January 2017

“An impressive if idiosyncratic programme” Gramophone Magazine, February 2017

“these new versions perfectly capture and amplify the spirit of Sibelius’s songs. Gerald Finley, a close friend of Rautavaara, makes an ideal case for the new settings, and his approach to the Swedish language of the texts is flowing and lyrical.” Classical Ear, 16th February 2017

“This haunting disc is as much a tribute to the Canadian singer’s close friendship with the late Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara as it is a declaration of love for Sibelius’s songs...Dark and brooding, they are a fitting memorial.” Sunday Times, 19th February 2017

“A disc of songs and orchestral works for all devotees of Sibelius.” MusicWeb International, 3rd March 2017

“a highly memorable disc.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2017 ****

Presto Disc of the Week

30th December 2016

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Liszt: The Complete Songs Volume 3 - Gerald Finley

Liszt: The Complete Songs Volume 3 - Gerald Finley


Liszt:

Morgens steh ich auf und frage, S290

third version

Ein Fichtenbaum steht einsam, S309

second setting

Anfangs wollt ich fast verzagen, S311

fourth version

Weimars Toten, S303

Wer nie sein Brot mit Tränen ass, S.297

second setting

Sonetti di Petrarca (3) for voice & piano, S270

second version

Die Fischerstochter

Und wir dachten der Toten

Die Vätergruft, S.281

second version

Gastibelza

La tombe et la rose, S285

Le vieux vagabond, S304

Go not, happy day


Gerald Finley (baritone) & Julius Drake (piano)

A third volume in Hyperion’s Complete Liszt Songs cycle warmly welcomes to the series maestro Gerald Finley. The songs themselves encompass everything from finely honed miniatures to big-boned epics of tragic import, and these compelling performances elicit from the multi-award-winning pairing of Finley and Julius Drake a sense of paced drama and pathos which is rarely matched.

“This third volume deserves a special recommendation — first thanks to Gerald Finley, an inspiring champion of Liszt’s music, and secondly because this volume includes the exalted Three Petrarch Sonnets (in Liszt’s second version), where baritones usually fear to tread. Finley, accompanied by Julius Drake, is eloquent and impassioned in them.” Financial Times, 7th March 2015 ****

“The standard of the songs is impressively high...Julius Drake shines in all of them. So, too, does Finley, with his sensitivity to the fore in the fine Heine settings, bringing emotional engagement and a measure of Italianate warmth to the comparatively well known Petrarch settings...In excellent sound, the whole adds up to a delightful sequence of discoveries.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2015 *****

“The ever-rewarding song partnership of Gerald Finley and Julius Drake are persuasive advocates across the whole spectrum of Lisztian styles. Where theatrical panache is a sine qua non...the pair provide it in spades.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - April 2015

Hyperion Liszt Complete Songs - CDA67956

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Wagner: Parsifal

Wagner: Parsifal

Recorded live at the Royal Opera House


Simon O’Neill (Parsifal), Angela Denoke (Kundry / Voice from Above), René Pape (Gurnemanz), Gerald Finley (Amfortas), Willard W. White (Klingsor) & Robert Lloyd (Titurel)

Royal Opera Chorus & Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Antonio Pappano (conductor) & Stephen Langridge (director)

Wagner’s last opera Parsifal is a work of intense humanity. It narrates the story of a troubled community ultimately healed through one man’s realization of the power of compassion. Created in honour of the bicentenary of Wagner’s birth, Stephen Langridge’s new production, with designs by Alison Chitty, distils with ‘intellectual fibre and visual eloquence’ (Financial Times) the timeless and universal nature of the Parsifal story. The cast includes great Wagnerian tenor Simon O’Neill in the title role. René Pape as Gurnemanz is ‘immaculate’ (Guardian), Gerald Finley as Amfortas is ‘compelling’ (Telegraph) and Angela Denoke as Kundry is ‘dramatically electrifying’ (Telegraph). The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House under Royal Opera Music Director Antonio Pappano give a ravishing rendition of Wagner’s sublime score. Filmed in High Definition and recorded in true Surround Sound.

Running time: 281 minutes

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/JP/KO

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“this is a well-thought-through production whose ideas don’t fight against the music...In musical terms, too, this is a simply excellent performance...[Gurnemanz] is a role that René Pape might have been born to sing...[Finley] is similarly balm to the ears as Amfortas...[Denoke] seizes every dramatic opportunity which the role gives her.” MusicWeb International, 9th December 2014

“Amfortas [is] sung and acted with the greatest distinction by Gerald Finley...Denoke is always striking as Kundry but doesn't really have a large enough voice for the demanding role. The minor roles are well taken. And the orchestra covers itself with glory, tirelessly magnificent for all 270 minutes.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2015 **

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Webern: Five Pieces for Orchestra & Cantatas

Webern: Five Pieces for Orchestra & Cantatas


Webern:

Five Pieces for Orchestra Op. 10

Drei Lieder, Op. 18, for voice, E flat clarinet and guitar

Christiane Oelze

Symphony, Op. 21

Variations for Orchestra, Op. 30

Cantata No. 2, Op. 31

Gerald Finley, Christiane Oelze

BBC Singers

Cantata No.1 for Soprano Chorus and Orchestra op.29

Gerald Finley, Christiane Oelze

BBC Singers

Das Augenlicht, ‘Through Our Open Eyes Light Flows into the Heart’, Op. 26


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Bridge: Complete Songs

Bridge: Complete Songs

All forty-five of the songs composed by Frank Bridge


Janice Watson (soprano), Louise Winter (mezzo soprano), Jamie MacDougal (tenor), Gerald Finley (baritone), Roger Vignoles (piano)

This important release brings together all forty-five of the songs composed by Frank Bridge. The programme is presented generally along chronological lines, and although the songs were written over two decades there is a remarkable consistency of style. A good number of the texts will be familiar from the songs of, say, Quilter or Finzi, but many more show Bridge’s enthusiasm for unearthing rather less well-known literary subject matter.

“Prepared and performed with the care and conviction for which Hyperion is famous. Those who simply love vocal recitals will find plenty of enjoyment in these well-documented discs, as well as a further revelation of the wealth of ‘English Renaissance’ contributions to art song. Distinguished performances of little-known but substantial, and often impressive, repertoire” Classic CD

“Another superb collection of songs” Financial Times

“These two CDs, finely recorded and thoughtfully presented, are a most timely and valuable addition to the catalogue” Gramophone Magazine

“This fine collection of settings by poets as diverse as Herrick, Heine and Tagore is full of surprises and beautifully performed by all, especially pianist Roger Vignoles” The Observer

Hyperion Dyads - CDD22071

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Mozart: Requiem in D minor, K626

Mozart: Requiem in D minor, K626

(completion by F.X. Süssmayr)


Recorded live at Concertgebouw Amsterdam on 14-16 September 2011.

During his last years in Vienna Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed only three liturgical works: the short 'Ave Verum Corpus' and two unfinished masterworks: the 'Mass in C minor' and the 'Requiem' in D minor. Most of his sacred oeuvre was written at an early age in the conservative city of Salzburg. The 'Requiem' from 1791 is stylistically far removed from that early church music and suits the concert hall better than the church.

Chief conductor Mariss Jansons leads the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Netherlands Radio Choir and a stellar vocal quartet, featuring Genia Kühmeier, Bernarda Fink, Mark Padmore and Gerald Finley in an intense reading of Mozart's last masterpiece.

“This is a most exciting disc and a model of sensitive music making… I have reviewed discs of the Flora label before, and musically all of them were outstanding. That goes for this disc as well.” MusicWeb International, July 2014

“a fine and worthwhile performance...It is what could be described as a 'choral society' Requiem: the approach is by and large traditional, the edition used the standard Sussmayr. The cast of soloists could barely be equally and the Netherlands Radio Choir are well disciplined.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2014

“It’s surely not just familiarity and habit that make the so-called Süssmayr completion of Mozart’s Requiem seem more convincing than any of the dutiful, diligent efforts of modern musicologists...Listening to this vivid live performance I felt not “if only” but “how beautiful”.” Sunday Times, 10th August 2014

“blessed … beautifully and grievingly sung.” International Record Review, September 2014

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Schubert: Winterreise D911

Schubert: Winterreise D911


Gerald Finley (baritone) & Julius Drake (piano)

The Gramophone-award winning partnership of Gerald Finley and Julius Drake turns to perhaps the most celebrated song-cycle of them all. Schubert’s Winterreise is a masterpiece of despair, astonishing in its bleakness and enthrallingly mesmerizing as the journey continues. Finley brings all his considerable dramatic powers to his performance—and all but submerges them under the ice.

Richard Wigmore writes that ‘before Winterreise Schubert had composed individual songs of pathos and despair, even of apocalyptic terror. What was new about the cycle was the spareness and angularity of much of the writing, the work’s sustained godless pessimism and its obsessive exploration of a mind veering between delusion, ironic self-awareness and nihilistic despair. The water music, limpid, turbulent or benedictory, of Schubert’s earlier Müller cycle, Die schöne Müllerin, yields in Winterreise to musical emblems of trudging and stumbling, bareness and exhaustion, derangement and frozen, trancelike stillness’.

“one of the finest [Winterreises] I have ever heard. The merits of Finley's singing are well known. The beauty of his voice is a good place to start, and even referring to such matters as intonation and line seems impertinent when dealing with singing such as this.” International Record Review, March 2014

“Finley's [reading] is inward, poised, heartbreaking in holding back. The more quietude he brings to each song...the more potent his reading. Julius Drake, accompanying, is equally lyrical, fluent, expressive. Neither lets the music shout...The disc lends itself to repeated exploration” The Observer, 16th March 2014 ****

“Finley can exercise his lyrical powers in such songs as 'Der Lindenbaum'...but it is not a lyrical talent alone: more to the point, it is the spectrum of tonal colouring, inflection and instinctive phrasing which lend this performance of Winterreise such an absorbing sense of inner communion with the soul.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2014

“Perhaps more than any other recording the singer and the pianist are in equilibrium...if often sounds as if Julius Drake has just had an idea - and they are all good ones - and Gerald Finley picks up on it; or vice versa...This, to my mind the greatest of all bleak works of art, here receives its perfect rendering.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2014 *****

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Finalist - Solo Vocal

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - April 2014

Hyperion - CDA68034

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Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro, K492

Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro, K492


Gerald Finley (Figaro), Alison Hagley (Susanna), Andreas Schmidt (Count Almaviva), Renée Fleming (Countess Almaviva), Marie-Ange Todorovitch (Cherubino), Manfred Röhrl (Bartolo), Wendy Hillhouse (Marcellina), Robert Tear (Don Basilio), Donald Adams (Antonio), John Graham-Hall (Don Curzio), Susan Gritton (Barbarina)

Glyndebourne Festival Opera & London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bernard Haitink (conductor) & Stephen Medcalf (director)

Stephen Metcalf’s production of The Marriage of Figaro opened the new Glyndebourne Theatre in 1994. It is a story of the young engaged couple Figaro and Susanna, and the comedy of romantic fiascos involving the Count and Countess Almaviva, Dr Bartolo and his housekeeper Marcellina, the page Cherubino, and the gardener’s daughter, Barbarina.

SUBTITLED IN ENGLISH, FRENCH, GERMAN, SPANISH

189 MINS • ALL REGIONS • NTSC 4:3 • COLOUR • L-PCM STEREO

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Britten: Owen Wingrave

Britten: Owen Wingrave

Opera Film 2001


Gerald Finley (Owen Wingrave), Peter Savidge (Spencer Coyle), Josephine Barstow (Miss Wingrave), Anne Dawson (Mrs Coyle), Elizabeth Gale (Mrs Julien), Charlotte Hellekant (Kate), Martyn Hill (Sir Philip Wingrave), Hilton Marlton (Lechmere); Andrew Burden (narrator)

Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Choristers of Westminster Cathedral Choir, Kent Nagano (conductor) & Margaret Williams (director)

When Britten started to work on Owen Wingrave he conceived the opera both for performance on stage and for TV production.

In fact the first TV production of Owen Wingrave was broadcast in 1971, two years before the staged premiere at Covent Garden. This 2001 production, made for Channel 4 television, intriguingly tells the drama of Owen, who refuses to follow a military career like his ancestors. The story, in which pacifism makes up the main theme, was written by Henry James, and the libretto adapted by Myfanwy Piper. The Canadian baritone Gerald Finley stars as Owen with Peter Savidge, Hilton Marlton and Josephine Barstow at his side.

The production was directed by the award winning TV director Margaret Williams. Highly acclaimed conductor Kent Nagano is the musical director of this performance featuring the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.

“The cast is outstanding: Gerald Finley as Owen, the formidable Dame Josephine Barstow as his terrifying aunt and Martyn Hill as his militaristic grandfather. Who says singers can‘t act? One of the best opera films ever.” The Sunday Times

Sound Format: PCM Stereo

Picture Format: 16:9

DVD Format: DVD 9 / NTSC

Subtitle Languages: GB (Original Language), DE, FR, ES

Running Time: 92 mins

“Finley and his top-drawer British actor/singer colleagues tread an impeccably drawn line beween emotion and excess. Nagano and his German players might have been a strange choice but they are never less than efficient.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2013

“Nagano’s direction of the Berlin orchestra is clean and precise, and the singing is extremely effective, too. In the title role Gerald Finley sounds splendid but looks uncomfortable...The show is comprehensively stolen by Josephine Barstow, however, who chews up the scenery as Owen’s harpy of an aunt.” MusicWeb International, 3rd October 2013

“The unsympathetic fiancee, Kate...seems a more complex character than before, well taken by Charlotte Hellekant, and the gallery of disagreeable family-members is strongly cast too” Penguin Guide, 2010 edition ***

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Schumann: Liederkreis

Schumann: Liederkreis


Schumann:

Liederkreis, Op. 39

Sechs Gedichte aus dem Liederbuch eines Malers, Op. 36

Liederkreis, Op. 24


Gerald Finley (baritone) & Julius Drake (piano)

Gerald Finley and Julius Drake return to Schumann, following a magisterially intense Dichterliebe which won them a third Gramophone award. Here they focus on the two contrasting Liederkreis (‘song-circle’) cycles using texts by Heine and Eichendorff. Heine is the poet of Dichterliebe, and Op 24 contains extremes of elation and despair that call all Finley’s considerable dramatic powers into play. Eichendorff’s seductive, crepuscular ‘night-songs’ of Op 39 require the velvety tone for which this singer is equally revered. Separating these two great works are the Sechs Gedichte aus dem Liederbuch eines Malers, Op 36, which find Schumann in more homespun, folksong-influenced vein.

“Finley and pianist Julius Drake are well attuned to those pervading atmospheres and psychological shifts; beginning with the veiled tone with which Finley opens Op 39 every song is individually coloured (some of his inflections suggest a close study of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's performances), and the text is always clear.” The Guardian, 26th September 2012 ****

“With his slow tempos and dark vowels, Finley draws from the Op. 39 Eichendorff Liederkreis a real sense of the fear lurking behind even the ecstasies of love...Drake is perfectly attuned to the palette of shifting colours in Finley's dark baritone - here in top form.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2012 ****

“This new recording shows a greater richness in Finley's voice plus an evolving intimacy in his approach to recording Lieder, one that retreats from the word-by-word vocal painting of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau...Each song's overall conception - of which Julius Drake is a key part - reflects great thought as to its core emotion.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2013

Hyperion - CDA67944

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