Great Operatic Arias 22 – Gerald Finley

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Adams,Bizet,Donizetti,Mozart,Puccini & Rodgers,Tchaikovsky,Turnage,Verdi,Wagner,Weber
LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Arias by Tchaikovsky, Weber, Adams, Verdi, Wagner, Mozart, Turnage, Bizet, Donizetti, Puccini & Rodgers
PERFORMER: Gerald Finley (baritone); London PO/Edward Gardner
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 3167

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What a shame: we could have had a complete audio recording of John Adams’s latest operatic food-for-thought. Instead the eminently excerptable Donne setting which blazes at the end of Doctor Atomic’s first Act sits here in a hotchpotch of operatic baritoniana.

Perhaps it’s the disappointment this disc has generated elsewhere that leads me to wonder whether others might soul-search Oppenheimer’s dilemma more affectingly.

Certainly several steps here prove too far for this engaging singer. He has a dark bass-baritonal timbre which comes into play affectingly for Wagner’s Wolfram, but not the heft of an Anthony Michaels-Moore to make this Iago remotely inky-black.

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Tchaikovsky sounds like Sullivan – no disrespect intended to either, nor to Finley, whose English diction is impeccable – and there isn’t much sensuality for Don Giovanni nor enough testosterone for Escamillo. Sachs? Not yet, if ever. Surprisingly low-key support from the usually sterling Edward Gardner and his ENO Orchestra. David Nice