Grammy Award-winning Canadian bass-baritone Gerald Finley is one of the most revered and influential artists of our time, with celebrated performances at the world’s major opera and concert venues and recordings on CD and DVD with major labels in a wide variety of repertoire. His extensive career is devoted to the complete spectrum of vocal art, encompassing operatic, orchestral and song repertoire, collaborating with the greatest composers, orchestras and conductors.
His career initially focused on the music of Mozart; while his Don Giovanni and Count Le Nozze di Figaro have been heard live and broadcast throughout the world. Key recent roles include Guillaume Tell, J. Robert Oppenheimer in John Adams’ Dr. Atomic, and Jaufré Rudel in Saa-riaho’s L’amour de loin. He created the role of Harry Heegan in Mark Anthony Turnage’s The Silver Tassie.
The 2023/24 season highlights include Hans Sachs in Laurent Pelly’s new production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in Madrid; the European premiere of Adams’ Antony and Cleopatra at the Liceu in Barcelona; and returns to Bayerische Staatsoper as Amfortas and the Royal Opera House as Don Alfonso. In concert, he performs Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia; Mendelssohn Elijah with London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Antonio Pappano and Bluebeard’s Castle at the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, the Oslo Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony; as well as a gala concert with Aalborg Symphony Orchestra and a recital tour with Julius Drake in London, Strasbourg, Vienna, Madrid, Luxembourg and Valencia.
Most recent engagements saw Finley as Antony in the world premiere of John Adams’ Antony and Cleopatra at San Francisco Opera; Scarpia in Verdi’s Tosca and the Count Almaviva in Netia Jones’ new production of Le Nozze di Figaro at the Opéra national de Paris; his debut as the title role in Der fliegende Holländer at Staatsoper Berlin; Wolfram in Wagner’s Tannhäuser in critically acclaimed performances at the Royal Opera House; Iago in a new production of Otello at the Bayerische Staatsoper and the Canadian Opera Company; the title role in Bluebeard’s Castle and Count Almaviva at the Metropolitan Opera; the same role at the Bayerische Staatsoper; the title role in Falstaff at the Vienna State Opera and in a new production at the Salzburg Festival; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 conducted by Bernard Haitink in Munich and at the Salzburg Festival with Riccardo Muti; the opening gala concert at the Paris Opera with Gustavo Dudamel; Bluebeard’s Castle in a highly acclaimed production at Stone Nest in London and in Toronto with Against the Grain Theatre, and with l’Orchestre de Paris, the Vienna Symphony and Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.
Further critical successes have been Hans Sachs at the Glyndebourne Festival and l’Opéra de Paris; Amfortas in Parsifal at Royal Opera Covent Garden, in Baden-Baden with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle and the Bayerische Staatsoper; Wolfram at the Lyric Opera of Chicago; Verdi’s Falstaff at the Canadian Opera (for which he won a DORA Award) and the Salzburg Festival; as a “peerless” Iago in Otello with Sir Colin Davis and the LSO (LSO Live) Royal Opera in Japan, and Bayerische Staatsoper, and Canadian opera; and in the title role in Rossini’s Guillaume Tell with Accademia di Santa Cecilia and Sir Antonio Pappano (EMI) and at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. His other important roles include Scarpia, Golaud, Eugene Onegin and Nick Shadow.
In contemporary opera, 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); Harry Heegan in Turnage’s The Silver Tassie at the ENO; Howard K. Stern in Turnage’s Anna Nicole at Covent Garden; Jaufré Rudel in Kaija Saariaho’s L’amour de loin; and Mr Fox in Tobias Picker’s Fantastic Mr Fox at L.A. Opera. 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’. Concert appearances include the title role in Dallapiccola's Il prigioniero (New York Phil with Alan Gilbert and the BRSO) and Chou en Lai in Adams' Nixon in China with the BBC Symphony at the Proms conducted by the composer himself.
As a celebrated song recitalist, he works regularly with pianist Julius Drake. Their many appearances throughout the world include the Schubertiade, recitals across Europe, residencies at London’s Wigmore Hall and New York’s Carnegie-Zankel Hall, as well as lauded appearances at the festivals in Salzburg, Edinburgh and Tanglewood. He has also performed with Sir Antonio Pappano, Malcolm Martineau, Simon Lepper and Michael McMahon. Gerald Finley gives regular masterclasses at the Juillard Schol of Music, with the Jette Parker Programme for Young Artists at the Royal Opera Covent Garden, and with the Lindemann Programme at the Met.
Finley’s many solo recital CD releases have been devoted to complete songs of Barber, Britten, Ives, Ravel and the Schumann song cycles Dichterliebe and Liederkreis Op. 24 & 39, all together with pianist Julius Drake on the Hyperion label receiving critical acclaim, as well as an unprecedented three Gramophone Awards in the Solo Vocal category. The pair’s release of Schubert’s Winterreise won a Canadian Juno Award in 2015 and last season saw the completion of their Hyperion Schubert trilogy with the release of Die schöne Müllerin. His CD Great Operatic Arias in English, released by Chandos, received Canada's Juno Award for Best Album in the Vocal Performance category. In 2012, the DVD release of Doctor Atomic, with Gerald Finley as J. Robert Oppenheimer, won the Grammy for Best Opera Recording.
Finley was 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. In 2017 he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire and had previously been appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. Mr Finley also features on a Canadian stamp celebrating Canadians in opera.
2023 | 2024
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Schubert: Die Schöne Müllerin
Gerald Finley, bassbaritone
Julius Drake, piano
Label: hyperion | 2022
Schubert: Schwanengesang | Brahms: Vier ernste Gesänge
Gerald Finley, bassbaritone
Julius Drake, piano
Label: hyperion | 2019
John Adams: Doctor Atomic
Gerald Finley, Julia Bullock, Brindley Sherratt, Samuel Sakker, Andrew Staples, Jennifer Johnston, Aubrey Allicock
BBC Symphony Orchestra & Singers
Conductor: John Adams
Label: Nonesuch Records | 2018
In the Stream of Life: Songs by Sibelius
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Edward Gardner
Label: Chandos | 2017