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Grammy-award winning Canadian bass-baritone Gerald Finley is a leading singer and dramatic interpreter of his generation, with acclaimed performances at the world’s major opera and concert venues and award-winning recordings on CD and DVD with major labels in a wide variety of repertoire. Mr Finley’s career is devoted to the wide range of vocal art, encompassing opera, orchestral and song, collaborating with the greatest orchestras and conductors of our time. He began with the baritone roles of Mozart; his Don Giovanni has been heard live throughout the world and on DVD. As the Count in Le nozze di Figaro, his appearances include the Royal Opera Covent Garden (Opus Arte DVD), the New York Met, Salzburg Festival, Paris, Vienna, Munich and Amsterdam, whilst earlier he garnered acclaim singing Figaro throughout Europe. In recent years, critical successes have been in the Wagner repertoire: as Hans Sachs at the Glyndebourne Festival, as Amfortas in Parsifal at Royal Opera Covent Garden, and as Wolfram at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. His expanding repertoire includes a triumph as Verdi’s Falstaff at the Canadian Opera (for which he won a DORA Award), as a “peerless” Iago in Otello

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Grammy-award winning Canadian bass-baritone Gerald Finley is a leading singer and dramatic interpreter of his generation, with acclaimed performances at the world’s major opera and concert venues and award-winning recordings on CD and DVD with major labels in a wide variety of repertoire. Mr Finley’s career is devoted to the wide range of vocal art, encompassing opera, orchestral and song, collaborating with the greatest orchestras and conductors of our time.

He began with the baritone roles of Mozart; his Don Giovanni has been heard live throughout the world and on DVD. As the Count in Le nozze di Figaro, his appearances include the Royal Opera Covent Garden (Opus Arte DVD), the New York Met, Salzburg Festival, Paris, Vienna, Munich and Amsterdam, whilst earlier he garnered acclaim singing Figaro throughout Europe.

In recent years, critical successes have been in the Wagner repertoire: as Hans Sachs at the Glyndebourne Festival, as Amfortas in Parsifal at Royal Opera Covent Garden, and as Wolfram at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. His expanding repertoire includes a triumph as Verdi’s Falstaff at the Canadian Opera (for which he won a DORA Award), as a “peerless” Iago in Otello with Sir Colin Davis and the LSO (LSO Live), and in the title role in Rossini’s Guillaume Tell with Accademia di Santa Cecilia and Sir Antonio Pappano (EMI). His other important roles include Golaud, Eugene Onegin and Nick Shadow. In contemporary opera, Mr Finley has excelled in creating leading roles, most notably J. Robert Oppenheimer in John Adams’ Doctor Atomic (New York Met, ENO London, San Francisco, Chicago and Amsterdam), as Harry Heegan in Turnage’s The Silver Tassie at ENO, Howard K. Stern in Turnage’s Anna Nicole at Covent Garden and Jaufré Rudel in Kaija Saariaho’s L’amour de loin for the much-acclaimed premieres in Santa Fe, Paris and Helsinki. He created the role of Mr Fox in Tobias Picker’s Fantastic Mr Fox at L.A. Opera. Concert appearances include the title role in Dallapiccola’s Il prigioniero (New York Phil with Alan Gilbert and the BR SO) and Chou en Lai in Adams’ Nixon in China with the BBC Symphony at the BBC Proms conducted by the composer. His Arias in English CD on the Chandos label received the Canadian Juno Award for Best Album in Vocal Performance. In 2012, the DVD release of Doctor Atomic in which Gerald Finley appeared as J. Robert Oppenheimer was awarded the Grammy for ‘Best Opera Recording’.

Mr Finley’s concert work is a vital part of his flourishing career with recent appearances with the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, a tour of Schoenberg’s A Survivor From Warsaw with Andris Nelsons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Mahler’s Wunderhorn Lieder with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Lutoslawski’s Les espaces du sommeil with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. A rediscovered version of Shostakovich’s “English Poets” was recorded by Mr Finley and the Helsinki Philharmonic on the Ondine label and received international critical acclaim, along with that composer’s orchestral cycle, Michelangelo Sonnets.  Modern day composers have written extensively for Mr. Finley and include Peter Lieberson (“Songs of Love and Sorrow” with the Boston Symphony), Mark Anthony Turnage (“When I woke” with the LPO and Vladimir Jurowski), Huw Watkins, Julian Philips, Kaija Saariaho (“True Fire” with the L.A Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel), and Einojuhani Rautavaara (“Rubáiyát” with the Helsinki Philharmonic).

As a celebrated song recitalist, he works regularly with pianist Julius Drake. Recent engagements include the Schubertiade, recitals throughout Europe, a residency at the Wigmore Hall, at New York’s Carnegie-Zankel Hall as part of a cross-US tour of Schubert’s Winterreise, and appearances at the festivals of Tanglewood and Ravinia in the US.

Mr Finley’s many solo recital CD releases have been devoted to songs of Barber, Britten, Ives, Ravel and Schumann’s song cycles “Dichterliebe” and “Liederkreis Op. 24 & 39”. With a continuing partnership with Julius Drake on the Hyperion label, all have been critically acclaimed, including an unprecedented three Gramophone Awards in the Solo Vocal category. Their recent release of Schubert’s Winterreise won a Canadian Juno Award, and this past year saw the release of “Bass songs by Liszt”.

Mr Finley’s 2015 season included a praised rendering of the role of Wolfram in Wagner’s Tannhäuser at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Nick Shadow at the Metropolitan Opera for their production of The Rake’s Progress by Stravinsky. He then went on to sing to great acclaim the title role in the new production at the Royal Opera House in Rossini’s Guillaume Tell.

He premiered the orchestral songs “Rubáiyát” by Einojuhani Rautavaara with the Helsinki Philharmonic, as well as the composer’s orchestral version of Sibelius Songs with the Bergen Philharmonic.

As part of his dedication to preserving and enhancing the singing tradition, he gives masterclasses throughout the world most recently at the Juilliard School of Music, and continues to work with the Jette Parker Young Artists’ Program at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden and the Lindemann Program at the Met.

The 2015/16 season looks to be another exciting year, beginning with performances as Golaud in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande with the Berlin Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle, directed by Peter Sellers.  Mr. Finley then goes on to perform Hans Sachs in Wagner's Meistersinger at Paris Opera and reprise his renowned performance of Sachs at Glyndebourne. He will also sing Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius with the LSO under Sir Mark Elder.

Gerald Finley, born in Montreal, began singing as a chorister in Ottawa, Canada, and completed his musical studies in the UK at the Royal College of Music, King’s College, Cambridge, and the National Opera Studio. He is a Fellow and Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Music. In 2014 he climbed Kilimanjaro for the charity Help Musicians UK. He was recently appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.

UPDATED IN AUGUST 2015
 

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Reviews

"Mr. Finley has long been recognized as a recitalist of rare versatility, a concert artist of the first rank and an opera singer of distinction in a broad repertory "

The New York Times

"Individual characters were sharp-etched. Gerald Finley's Peter, at first a shining light of dedication, his voice close-focused, wide-awake, would become a dark shadow of remorse."

Hillary Finch, The TImes

"Finley is a marvel here, none of his beauty missing, but allowing us to hear the beauty disintegrate into the dark mists of Schubert’s most miraculous conception."

Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition

"Mr. Finley and Mr. Drake delivered an intensely felt and richly shaded account of Schubert’s lovelorn and life-weary song cycle. Mr. Finley possesses a warm, glowing baritone with a generous low range and silken top notes, as well as a knack for spinning out long and smooth legato lines. But just as important, he is an intelligent and committed actor, and it was his attention to the individual color of Wilhelm Müller’s words and the psychological nuances of Schubert’s setting of them that made his performance so compelling."

Schubert's Winterreise at Zankel Hall with Julius Drake, The New York Times

"Finley manages to bring a dimension of nobility to Amfortas's sufferings"

The Guardian

""...a beautiful pendant to Finley and Drake's 2008 album of Dichterliebe.""

Gerald Finley and Julius Drake: "SCHUMANN: Liederkreis, Op. 24 & 39" - Opera News, William R. Braun

"After a life-long referral as a critic you think, you know Schubert’s “Winterreise”. […] But the Canadian baritone Gerald Finley and Julius Drake, his British accompanist reinvent "Winterreise", with a provocative, almost serene calm that savors the Wanderers pain in detail as if under a magnifying glass while suffering with him. […] And of course with his dream voice, a wonderfully full, seamless baritone, which he takes back often and lets only blossom into full size during dramatic moments ("Die Nebensonnen"). "

Schubertiade - Fritz Jurmann, Voralberger Nachrichten

"I found Finley's account of these five songs quietly gripping. It seemed to combine those most unlikely partners, assuredness and frailty. When appropriate, he could produce a ghostly, almost bodiless head-voice. In more animated moments his tone was effortlessly strong and rich. The final bars [...] were haunting."

Lieberson 'Songs of Love and Sorrow', Usher Hall - Alan Coady, bachtrack.com

"Gerald Finley, in a powerfully controlled yet emotional performance [...], cut to the heart of the music..."

Lieberson 'Songs of Love and Sorrow' Glasgow Royal Concert Hall - Michael Tumelty, heraldscotland.com

"[The words] were sung [...] by the bass baritone Gerald Finley [...] whose understanding of their quiet, autumnal ecstasy was palpable in a performance heaped with throbbing tenderness and sublime passion."

Lieberson's 'Songs of Love and Sorrow', Edinburgh Usher Hall - Kenneth Walton, Scotsman.com

"Finley's tone was velvety smooth, and his projection and characterisation impeccable. "

Andrew Clements, The Guardian

"In the title role, baritone Gerald Finley is at the top of his game. [Re: CD Reviews: Rossini - William Tell, EMI Classics June 2011] "

BBC Music Magazine

"...aided by the Hans Sachs of Gerald Finley that at times touches the heights of mastersinging, in a performance that is the complete package. His bass-baritone sound, warm, lyrical, intensely expressive (helped as well by his superb German diction) is complemented by an onstage character who becomes immensely sympathetic as the evening progresses. Finley illustrates and conveys all this with natural ease, moving beautifully, and singing the role as thrillingly as I have ever heard it. Finley’s voice is not only big enough, it is noble, resonant (his bass extension is particularly fine in the Glyndebourne acoustic) and utterly right for the part. His ovation at the end told its own story... a debut performance by Finley, who will surely become the Hans Sachs of our times. [Re: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, May 2011]"

Mike Reynolds, MusicalCriticism.com

"His elegant baritone, which has gained in muscle since his Hans Sachs at Glydebourne in the summer, brought beauty as well as Nordic angst to the two Swedish songs and rose proudly to the lyrical grandeur of the epic 'Koskenlaskijan morsiamet'."

Richard Fairman, Financial Times

"William Walton's Belshazzar's Feast is English oratorio at its most unbuttoned. Baritone Gerald Finley delivered the solos with the clarity of an orator, and the visionary nobility of a prophet."

Nick Kimberley, London Evening Standard

"Only the endlessly expressive diction of Gerald Finley (rarely have consonants yielded so much distaste as his at the excess of the Babylonians) betrayed the work's unimpeachably British credentials."

Alexandra Coghlan,The Arts Desk

"Bass-Baritone soloist Gerald Finley was alert and sonorous...he has fully seized the opportunities offered by three of Sibelius's rarely heard orchestral songs."

George Hall, The Guardian

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Discography