Bass-Baritone Gerald Finley Performs Songs of Germany and Russia April 17

April 5, 2018

By Erich Burnett

Gerald Finley photo
Photo credit: Sim Canetty-Clarke

Part of the Artist Recital Series, program pairs the famed Canadian singer with fellow countryman-pianist Michael McMahon.

Gerald Finley, an acclaimed bass-baritone whose voice has earned Grammy and Gramophone Awards—and even top honors from the British and Canadian governments—will present an evening of art song in a recital with pianist Michael McMahon at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, in Finney Chapel.

The final concert of the 2017-18 Artist Recital Series, Finley’s performance will include settings of Goethe by Beethoven and Schubert, as well as romances by Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff.

On the operatic stage, Finley is celebrated for his interpretations of Mozart roles, among them his New York City debut as Papageno in the Metropolitan Opera’s Die Zauberflöte in 1998 and the title role in the Met’s Don Giovanni. Equally gifted in modern opera, Finley has created the roles of J. Robert Oppenheimer in the world premiere of John Adams’ Doctor Atomic with the San Francisco Opera and the title role in Tobias Picker’s Fantastic Mr. Fox at the Los Angeles Opera. Earlier this year, he portrayed the villain Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca at the Royal Opera House in London.

Equally riveting in recital, Finley has been praised by The New York Times for having a “bass-baritone of easy luxury.” In April, he performed Wagner’s Parsifal with the Berlin Philharmonie, under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle.

Beloved in his home country and overseas, Finley was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2014 and a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2017. Among his numerous accolades, he won a 2012 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording for the Met’s Doctor Atomic and a 2011 Gramophone Award for Best Solo Vocal Recording for his CD of Britten songs for Hyperion—his third Gramophone Award.

Preview one piece from Finley’s Oberlin program—Tchaikovsky’s “At the ball”—in this recording with pianist Julius Drake at Wigmore Hall. (And to learn about Finley’s attitude toward tattoos, catch this 2013 clip from Lincoln Center.)

Michael McMahon is an accompanist in high demand among countless top performers, in addition to his role as a member of the faculty at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music.

RESERVE YOUR SEAT NOW: Tickets for Gerald Finley and Michael McMahon are $35 ($30 for seniors, military, Oberlin College staff, faculty, and alumni), and all student tickets are just $10. They can be purchased online, by calling 800-371-0178, or by visiting the Hall Auditorium box office (67 N. Main St.) weekdays from noon-5 p.m.

An Oberlin tradition since 1878, the Artist Recital Series delivers the world’s most accomplished musicians to the stage of historic Finney Chapel throughout each academic year. The final event of the 2017-18 series takes place Friday and Sunday, April 20 and 22, when legendary opera singer Marilyn Horne leads conservatory students in a pair of master classes. For more information, visit

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