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Listen: Gerald Finley on Parsifal, Wagner and the secrets of keeping his voice in good shape

The Canadian baritone speaks to BBC Radio 3’s In Tune about The Royal Opera’s new production.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Online Content)

29 November 2013 at 3.22pm | Comment on this article

Before curtain up on The Royal Opera’s new production of Parsifal, baritone Gerald Finley – who is singing the role of Amfortas – spoke to BBC Radio 3’s In Tune.

‘The effect of his transgression before the opera begins overpowers the whole element of the opera,’ said Gerald, speaking of his character, dubbed by presenter Sean Rafferty as 'the betrayer of the Holy Grail'. ‘From the very beginning people are worried about him [Amfortas] and trying to keep him alive. So although it’s not a significant singing role necessarily, it’s very demanding when one is on stage.’

‘We brought it so that there are no dilemmas in terms of where it’s set, it’s absolutely contemporary. The story however, I hope is very clear,’ said Gerald of Stephen Langridge’s new production.

The Canadian baritone performed an extract from Winterreise by Franz Schubert and ‘I wonder as I wander’ by Benjamin Britten live in the studio, as well as speaking about the newly-released recording of Glyndebourne’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.

‘I only have one voice, I have to make sure it’s pretty flexible,’ said Gerald about coping with the demand of singing such a wide repertory. ‘I suppose it’s wellbeing in one’s self – good health, good eating, keeping busy and making sure there’s always a project on the fly. To sing Wagner and to play the songs of Britten is a great privilege. I hope I can do both for a long time!’

Parsifal runs from 30 November to 18 December 2013. Limited tickets are still available. It will be screened live in cinemas on 18 December. Find out full details of a screening near you. 

Parsifal is staged with generous philanthropic support from The Metherell Family, Roland & Sophie Rudd, Dr and Mrs Michael West, Marina Hobson MBE, Ian and Helen Andrews, Peter and Fiona Espenhahn, Annie Frankel, Malcolm Herring, Dr L Mikheev and N Mikheev, Lindsay and Sarah Tomlinson, The Wagner Circle and The Parsifal Production Syndicate and generously supported in memory of Simon Tullah.

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