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Grammy-award winning Canadian bass-baritone Gerald Finley is a leading singer and dramatic interpreter of his generation, with 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. In opera, Mr Finley’s career success began with the baritone roles of Mozart. His Don Giovanni has been seen in New York, London, Paris, Salzburg, Munich, Rome, Vienna, Prague, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Budapest and Glyndebourne (available 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, and as Amfortas in Parsifal at Royal Opera Covent Garden. His expanding repertoire includes a triumph as Falstaff at the Canadian Opera, 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 Adam’s 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 and the BR SO) and Chou en Lai in Adam’s Nixon in China with the BBC Symphony at the BBC Proms. 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 John Adam’s 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 in Brahms’ Requiem 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 Les espaces du sommeil with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. With the L.A. Phil and Gustavo Dudamel, he will premiere a new work called “True Fire” written for him by Kaija Saariaho. A new version of Shostakovich’s “English Poets and Sonnets of Michelangelo” recorded by Mr Finley and the Helsinki Philharmonic on the Ondine label received international critical acclaim. Peter Lieberson wrote “Songs of Love and Sorrow” for Mr Finley and the Boston Symphony as a companion piece to the Neruda settings he wrote for Lorraine Hunt.
As a song recitalist, he works regularly with pianist Julius Drake. Recent engagements include the Schubertiade, recitals throughout Europe a residency at the Wigmore Hall, and at New York’s Carnegie-Zankel Hall as part of a US tour of Schubert’s Winterreise. Mr Finley’s many solo recital CD releases have been devoted to songs of Barber, Ives, Ravel and Schumann’s song cycles “Dichterliebe and other Heine settings” and “Liederkreis Op. 24 & 39”, and "Songs and Proverbs of William Blake" by Benjamin Britten. 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. Last season saw the release of Schubert’s Winterreise, and this year sees the release of songs for bass voice by Liszt.
Mr Finley’s 2015 season includes the role of Wolfram in Wagner’s Tannhäuser at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. He premieres orchestral songs called “Rubáiyát” by Einojuhani Rautavaara, as well as this composer’s orchestral version of Sibelius Songs with the Helsinki Philharmonic. He will portray two villains this year, balanced by a patriotic hero. Firstly, he will take the stage as Nick Shadow at the Metropolitan Opera for their production of The Rake’s Progress by Stravinsky. Before heading to San Francisco Opera to take the title role of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeny Todd in September, he will sing the title role in the new production at the Royal Opera House in Rossini’s Guillaume Tell.
He gives masterclasses and this season will give one at the Juilliard School of Music, as well as working with the Jette Parker Young Artists’ Program at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden and the Lindemann Program at the Met.
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. He was recently appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.