Baritone Finley: "I could have sung all night"

Thu May 26, 2011 1:20pm EDT
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By Michael Roddy

LONDON (Reuters) - There were circus performers on stage for the Glyndebourne premiere of Wagner's epically long "Die Meistersingers von Nuremberg" last Saturday, but the real high-wire act was baritone Gerald Finley singing the main part.

The music press and the blogosphere had been abuzz for weeks about whether Finley's not-epically-huge voice would be up to tackling the longest role in the baritone repertoire at the posh English summer opera venue south of London.

On the night, the cheers and standing ovation for the 51-year-old Canadian said it all, as did the glowing reviews.

"Finley, silencing concerns that the role would defeat him, is extraordinary both vocally and dramatically," Tim Ashley wrote in The Guardian. And he was not alone.

"I think my determination was to make sure I got through the piece with all guns blazing," Finley, taking a much deserved four-day rest between performances, told Reuters this week.

"It was a personal determination to make me know to the core of my soul that this is a role that I should be doing and I was more determined than ever to do that on opening night.

"But really, I could have sung on and on, all night, which is a really great feeling. Yeah."

Here's what else the man who mixes roles from radio presenter Howard Stern in "Anna Nicole" to Wagner's poet-shoemaker Hans Sachs to Debussy's Prince Golaud in the mystical "Pelleas et Melisande," plus a lot of Mozart, had to say about preparing to sing Sachs, recovering from singing Sachs, and what Wagner role he's going to do next.   Continued...