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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Rossini: Guillaume Tell

Rossini: Guillaume Tell


Gerald Finley (Guillaume Tell), Malin Byström (Mathilde), John Osborn (Arnold Melchtal), Sofia Fomina (Jemmy), Nicolas Courjal (Gesler), Alexander Vinogradov (Walter Furst), Enkelejda Shkosa (Hedwige), Eric Halfvarson (Melcthal), Michael Colvin (Rodolphe), Samuel Dale Johnson (Leuthold), Enea Scala (Ruodi)

Royal Opera Chorus & Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Antonio Pappano (conductor) & Damiano Michieletto (director)

Rossini’s final opera helped to lay the foundations of the genre of French grand opéra that dominated European stages throughout the mid-19th century. The opera’s theme is liberty, as exemplified in the struggle against Austrian occupation led by the Swiss archer and patriot Guillaume Tell: in the opera’s most famous scene, Tell shoots an apple from his son’s head, a feat that inspires his countrymen to revolt.

Rossini’s score, here performed in its original French, is one of his most outstanding and packed with glorious arias, choruses and ensembles. The exciting young Italian director Damiano Michieletto makes his Royal Opera House debut with a spectacular and thought-provoking production.

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/JP/KO

Running time: 216 minutes

Sound format: LPCM & DTS Master Audio 5.1

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Rossini: Guillaume Tell

Rossini: Guillaume Tell


Gerald Finley (Guillaume Tell), Malin Byström (Mathilde), John Osborn (Arnold Melchtal), Sofia Fomina (Jemmy), Nicolas Courjal (Gesler), Alexander Vinogradov (Walter Furst), Enkelejda Shkosa (Hedwige), Eric Halfvarson (Melcthal), Michael Colvin (Rodolphe), Samuel Dale Johnson (Leuthold), Enea Scala (Ruodi)

Royal Opera Chorus & Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Antonio Pappano (conductor) & Damiano Michieletto (director)

Rossini’s final opera helped to lay the foundations of the genre of French grand opéra that dominated European stages throughout the mid-19th century. The opera’s theme is liberty, as exemplified in the struggle against Austrian occupation led by the Swiss archer and patriot Guillaume Tell: in the opera’s most famous scene, Tell shoots an apple from his son’s head, a feat that inspires his countrymen to revolt.

Rossini’s score, here performed in its original French, is one of his most outstanding and packed with glorious arias, choruses and ensembles. The exciting young Italian director Damiano Michieletto makes his Royal Opera House debut with a spectacular and thought-provoking production.

Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/JP/KO

Running time: 216 minutes

Sound format: LPCM & DTS Master Audio 5

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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

GGramophone Awards 2017

Shortlisted - Solo Vocal

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Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45

Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45


Following the requiem masses of Dvorák and Mozart in previous seasons, this performance of Brahms's German Requiem would have been the third in a long series of Requiems conducted by Mariss Jansons. Unfortunately the 'new tradition' was cut short by Jansons's departure as the RCO's chief conductor during the 2014/2015 season. The performance was dedicated to Kurt Sanderling, one of the orchestra's most beloved guest conductors. He passed away the year before and would have turned 100 that very month. It proved to be a very moving performance, a fitting salute to a great conductor.

“The reputation for dreariness once inflicted on the German Requiem has never been more decisively refuted than by this Amsterdam performance. In the light of the orchestra’s glorious playing under Jansons, it stands out as one of Brahms’s most inventively scored works...A joy.” Sunday Times, 4th October 2015

“Finley represents luxury casting...He articulates the words with evident care for the meaning and his vocal control is enviable. In a word, he’s marvellous … This is one of those performances that shows his [Mariss Jansons] partnership with the orchestra at its very best...The sound on this SACD is excellent. The balance between choir and orchestra has been well judged.” MusicWeb International, October 2015

“Consolation, tonal and spiritual, arrives with the new recording from Mariss Jansons…in the unforced transparency of the Concertgebouw, hall and ensemble, every strand is audible, nothing is too much, but the antiseptic implications of such loving care are swept away by the pleasure taken in each phrase…the Netherlands Radio Choir have been superbly coached by Michael Gläser: massed enunciation so artlessly natural takes a lot of practice” Gramophone Magazine, November 2015

“The performances of both soloists feel integral to the ensemble, and to the performance as a whole … A standout release, then, among Jansons’ many recent offerings, and a version that does full justice to the work. The German Requiem is hardly a rarity on disc, but this recording has a fair claim to being the finest since Klemperer, a version with which it shares many key qualities.” Classical CD Review, 13th November 2015

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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

“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 **

“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

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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.

“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 *****

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

“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

“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

“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 ****

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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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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