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 and Count in Le nozze di Figaro have been heard live throughout the world and on DVD. Recent signature roles include Guillaume Tell (Met, ROH), Scarpia (ROH, Berlin Staatsoper), Iago (ROH, Bayerishe Staatsoper, COC), and Bartok’s Bluebeard (Met, LSO). He has created Harry Heegan in Mark Anthony Turnage’s The Silver Tassie, Howard K. Stern in Turnage’s Anna Nicole, J. Robert Oppenheimer in John Adams’ Doctor Atomic, Jaufré Rudel in Saariaho’s L’amour de loin and Mr. Fox in Tobias Picker’s Fantastic Mr. Fox.
In recent years, critical successes have been in the Wagner repertoire: as Hans Sachs at the Glyndebourne Festival and Opéra de Paris, as Amfortas in Parsifal at Royal Opera Covent Garden, Vienna Staatsoper, and Baden Baden, 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) as well as at the COC (for which he won another DORA), 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 Covent Garden. His other important roles include Golaud, Eugene Onegin and Nick Shadow. 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. On the LSO Live label he has recently released an acclaimed recording of Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. 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 extensive career with recent appearances with the Berlin Philharmonc, the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. He has recorded Shostakovich’s “English Poets” and Michelangelo Sonnets with the Helsinki Philharmonic on the Ondine label. Modern day composers have written extensively for Mr. Finley and include Peter Lieberson (“Songs of Love and Sorrow” with the Boston Symphony, and recorded with the Helsinki Radio Orchestra and Hannu Lintuu), 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 and John Storgårds). He appeared as the star soloist for the 2018 BBC Last Night of the Proms.
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 and appearances at the festivals of Tanglewood and Ravinia. He presents Schubert’s Schwanengesang at the 2021 Salzburg Festival, and Schumann’s Dichterliebe at the Edinburgh Festival.
Mr Finley’s many critically acclaimed solo recital CD releases on the Hyperion label have been devoted to complete discs of songs of Barber, Britten, Ives, Liszt, Ravel, Schumann’s song cycles “Dichterliebe” and “Liederkreis Op. 24 & 39”, Schubert’s Schwanengesang, Winterreise and soon to be released Die schöne Müllerin. He has been awarded an unprecedented three Gramophone Magazine Awards in the Solo Vocal category. The release of Schubert’s Winterreise won a Canadian Juno Award in 2015, His recent “Orchestral songs by Sibelius” with the Bergen Philharmonic and Ed Gardner on the Chandos label, was nominated “Best Vocal Album” by Gramophone Magazine.
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, the Canadian Opera Ensmble 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 National Opera Studio, the Royal College of Music and the Young Artists program at the Salzburg Festival.
Mr Finley’s 2019/20 season began with performances as Iago in Otello in Japan on tour with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He then returned to the Royal Opera House for the multi-roles in Britten’s Death in Venice. His most recent engagements have included Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte at the Metropolitan Opera, performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 under Riccardo Muti at the Salzburg Festival, Sibelius Songs with the LPO and Ed Gardner, the King of Scotland in Handel’s Ariodante and in recital at Wigmore Hall.
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 has been appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire and an Officer of the Order of Canada. Mr Finley also features on a Canadian stamp celebrating Canadians in opera.