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.’

“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

“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

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

“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

“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

“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 ****

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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Fauré: Requiem

Fauré: Requiem


Fauré:

Requiem, Op. 48

Messe basse

Cantique de Jean Racine, Op. 11


In January 2014, the Choir of King’s College Cambridge were joined by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and former choral scholar Gerald Finley to make the first recording of Marc Rigaudière’s new reconstruction of the first complete liturgical performance of Fauré’s 'Requiem'. This version employs a small orchestra of violas, cellos and basses, augmented by solo violin in one movement and brass in several more.

Under the direction of Stephen Cleobury, the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge has faithfully recreated the 1889 premiere, even using the organ stops available to the organist at the Cathedrale de Ste. Madeleine in Paris. The instruments and techniques used by the orchestra are typical of those used in a French orchestra of the late 19th century. 'Pie Jesu' is sung by treble Tom Pickard, in his final year as a chorister at King’s College School. The baritone solos are sung by Gerald Finley, who attended King’s College as an undergraduate choral scholar. Gerald Finley says of the recording, “It is such a joy to sing with the best choir in the world. Being part of this Fauré 'Requiem', a piece I have known since a chorister in Canada, with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Stephen Cleobury, is a dream come true.” In the original version of the Requiem, the baritone solo of the 'Hostias' was heard alone, without the bookends forming the Offertorium. The expanded version, as edited by John Rutter, is also included on this album for comparison. Fauré's 'Requiem' forms a cornerstone of the Choir’s touring repertoire, and is performed many times each year, both with orchestras and organ accompaniment, along with the 'Cantique de Jean Racine', heard here in its original version for Choir and Organ. These works are complimented by the 'Messe Basse' for high voices, sung by the 16 choristers of the choir.

“A familiar choral masterpiece in unfamiliar guise: the first recording of Fauré’s Requiem in Marc Rigaudière’s reconstruction of the first complete liturgical version, in 1889. Striking differences include darker orchestrations, a shorter Offertoire and plainer rhythms. That’s beautifully realised here by the period instruments of the OAE and the King’s College Cambridge Choir.” The Times, 13th September 2014 ****

“The choir sings very well indeed – as you’d expect … Gerald Finley, another former King’s Choral Scholar, I believe, represents luxury casting for the baritone solos and his contribution is distinguished: I relished his warm, firm tone and the way in which he articulates the text … Tom Pickard…makes a splendid job of the solo, singing in an innocent, unaffected way and with exemplary control. Bravo!” MusicWeb International, 22nd October 2014

“The viola-led OAE offer superb support throughout and the baritone Gerald Finley is at his most tonally liquid, with tenaciously sensitive phrasing...The choir respond magnificently [in the Libera me].” Gramophone Magazine, October 2014

“The first thing to be said about this Schumann cycle is how splendidly alert the orchestral playing is: the Scottish Chamber Orchestra must be one of the finest ensembles of its kind in the world today. Its principal conductor, Robin Ticciati, is very much on his toes, too, paying meticulous attention to detail throughout.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2014 *****

“Not only is it beautifully sung and played but the recorded sound on the choir’s own label is remarkable.” International Record Review, November 2014

“an engaging and admirable performance … what’s not to like about this release? Highly recommended.” Choir & Organ, November 2014

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - November 2014

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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


DG 20C - 4793431

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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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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 *****

Presto Discs of 2014

Finalist

GGramophone Awards 2014

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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Arthaus Musik - 100373

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Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Recorded live at Glyndebourne, Lewes, July 2011


Gerald Finley (Hans Sachs), Anna Gabler (Eva), Johannes Martin Kränzle (Sixtus Beckmesser), Marco Jentzsch (Walther von Stolzing), Topi Lehtipuu (David), Michaela Selinger (Magdalene), Alastair Miles (Veit Pogner), Henry Waddington (Fritz Kothner), Mats Almgren (Nightwatchman), Colin Judson (Kunz Vogelgesang), Andrew Slater (Konrad Nachtigall), Alasdair Elliott (Balthasar Zorn), Adrian Thompson (Ulrich Eisslinger), Daniel Norman (Augustin Moser), Robert Poulton (Hermann Ortel), Maxim Mikailov (Hans Schwarz), Graeme Broadbent (Hans Foltz)

London Philharmonic Orchestra, The Glyndebourne Chorus, Vladimir Jurowski (conductor) & David McVicar (stage director)

English-speaking audiences have always found Die Meistersinger to be a life-enhancing celebration of wisdom, art and song. So it proves in David McVicar's production – the first at Glyndebourne – which is updated to the early-19th century of Wagner's childhood. At the centre of a true ensemble cast is Gerald Finley, a 'gleamingly sung', 'eminently believable' Sachs (The Independent on Sunday), supported by the dynamic conducting of Vladimir Jurowski which, like McVicar's production, uses Glyndebourne's special intimacy to bring sharp focus to bear on the subtlety of Wagner's musical and dramatic counterpoint.

What the press said:

‘‘McVicar has put on a great show with style, intelligence and insight’’ The Telegraph

‘‘Musically, it was judged faultlessly for the scale of the theatre by Vladimir Jurowski, who conjured playing of mercurial clarity – not the first words one would normally choose for this gargantuan score – from the London Philharmonic Orchestra, sustained with unfailing vigilance and concentration.’’ The Guardian

Duration: 300 minutes

Sound type: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE

“The camerawork – mostly close-up – is superb, focusing on the intimacy of the Glyndebourne stage and the visual expressiveness of a young cast. Vicki Mortimer’s Biedermeyer sets are notably more handsome on film than in the theatre, and the performance (captured late in the inaugural run) breathes a general air of wellbeing” Financial Times, 22nd September 2012 ***

“McVicar's staging stokes the glow of Meistersinger's humane heart...and above all he reminds us that this is an opera about youth and self-discovery. Gerald Finley's pivotal Sachs relish[es] this intensely verbal role with a Lieder-singer's skill and beauty...Jurowski completes the ensemble with a beautiful account, unfolding the story with pace and details...Together they make the immense performance the most uplifting performance I can recall” BBC Music Magazine, December 2012 *****

“Jurowski handles the score with seriousness and pomp...Finley has the role of Hans Sachs massively in focus, both musically and dramatically. He is compulsively watchable throughout...McVicar's production is best at one-to-one emotional confrontations but rather loud and messy in ensemble scenes...it would be mealy-mouthed not to notice the commitment and enthusiasm steaming off the stage, while Finley's work has to be seen and heard” Gramophone Magazine, December 2012

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BBC Music Magazine

DVD Choice - December 2012

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Opus Arte Glyndebourne - OA1085D

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