Faà di Bruno, Giovanni Matteo [Horatio, Orazio] 83



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Finlandia.


Finnish record label. It was originally introduced by Pohjoismainen Sähkö Oy in 1949, and several hundred recordings, mainly of popular and sacred music, appeared on the label until it was acquired by Fazer in the late 1970s. Fazer, the largest record company in Finland, had occasionally issued classical recordings on various labels since World War II, featuring artists including the singers Aulikki Rautawaara and Kim Borg, and in 1979 the company decided to launch a classical label; the trademark Finlandia was chosen because of its association with the music of Sibelius.

Finlandia, aided by government subsidies, soon launched an ambitious recording programme, mostly for the music of Finnish composers. Its first successes were a collection of the solo songs of Oskar Merikanto, sung by Jorma Hynninen, and an album of modern Finnish choral music, performed by the Tapiola chorus. Finlandia also issued a large selection of the orchestral music of Finnish composers, most of it previously unrecorded, the Helsinki SO and Finnish RSO being the principal performers. The most ambitious releases were complete recordings of major Finnish operas, including Juha (Aarre Merikanto), Viimeiset kiusaukset (‘The Last Temptations’, Kokkonen) and Punainen viiva (‘The Red Line’, Sallinen). In 1993 the Fazer company was acquired by Warner and Finlandia became one of Warner's classical labels. After this, the recording programme was somewhat reduced, with less emphasis on new music.

PEKKA GRONOW

Finley, Gerald


(b Montreal, 30 Jan 1960). Canadian baritone. He studied at the RCM and the National Opera Studio in London before making his professional stage début as Sid (Albert Herring) at Glyndebourne in 1986. He has returned to Glyndebourne on several occasions, most notably as Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro for the inaugural performances in the new house in 1994 (an occasion preserved on video), a portrayal near-ideal in both vocal and dramatic terms. He was equally admirable as Papageno both in Roger Norrington's ‘Mozart Experience’ on the South Bank in London, then in Gardiner's semi-staged, touring performances of Die Zauberflöte in 1995, also recorded on video and CD. His other Mozart recordings include Masetto and Guglielmo. He sang Demetrius in A Midsummer Night's Dream at Aix (1991), and appeared in Mozart's Der Schauspieldirektor the same year at the Salzburg Festival. Finley scored a notable success in the principal role of Harry Heegan in the première of Turnage's The Silver Tassie at his ENO début in 2000. He has also made a considerable name for himself in concert and recital (making his Wigmore Hall début in 1989), and has recorded works including Purcell's Indian Queen, Haydn's The Creation, Berlioz's L'enfance du Christ and Brahms's A German Requiem. His interpretations of a wide repertory of song disclose his firm, warm, easily produced baritone and his natural gift for unaffected, discerning interpretation.

ALAN BLYTH


Finn, William


(b Boston, 1952). American composer and lyricist. Although he principally studied English, Finn received the Hutchinson Fellowship in musical composition when he graduated from Williams College (the same fellowship awarded to Stephen Sondheim 24 years earlier). At college Finn had composed three musicals on unconventional subjects, including the trial and execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. By 1979 he had completed an early version of In Trousers, the first of a gradually evolving musical trilogy about the emotional and sexual evolution of Marvin, a neurotic urban professional. Having discovered his capacity for bisexuality in In Trousers, Marvin would leave his wife and son to live with another man in March of the Falsettos (1981). In contrast to most of Finn’s other projects as composer or lyricist, March of the Falsettos gained a strong critical and modestly popular following. Nearly a decade later, but only two years later in the life of its characters, he completed the final musical of his trilogy, Falsettoland (1990), in which Marvin’s lover Whizzer contracts and dies of the effects of AIDS. Falsettoland, generally regarded as the finest artistically and emotionally of the trilogy, received two Tony Awards for best score and lyrics and best book. In 1992 Falsettoland, with revisions to the book by James Lapine (the original director of March of the Falsettos), returned as the second of what seemed destined to remain a two-act drama (with ‘I’m Breaking Down’ from the otherwise abandoned In Trousers interpolated into the first-act March). All these musicals are sung throughout in a popular style that, in contrast to traditional operatic recitative, transforms everyday speech into short highly rhythmic, repetitive and distinctive melodic fragments (e.g. ‘late for dinner, late again’). More conventional song forms are reserved for reflective and strongly emotional moments such as the lyrical love duet between Marvin and his dying lover, Unlikely Lovers.

WORKS


(selective list)

all are musicals, and dates are those of first New York performances unless otherwise stated; librettists and lyricists are listed in that order in parentheses



In Trousers, orchd M. Starobin, Playwright’s Horizons, 21 Feb 1979; rev. 26 March 1985

March of the Falsettos, Playwright’s Horizons, 1 April 1981

America Kicks up its Heels (C. Rubin), Playwright’s Horizons, 3 March 1983

The Winter’s Tale (incid music, W. Shakespeare), Anspacher, 21 March 1989, collab. Starobin

Dangerous Games (J. Lewis and G. Daniela, W. Finn), orchd R. Alchourron, Nederlander, 19 Oct 1989 [music: A. Piazolla]

Romance in Hard Times, Public, 28 Dec 1989

Falsettoland (J. Lapine), orchd Starobin, Playwright’s Horizons, 28 June 1990

Falsettos, orchd Starobin, John Golden, 29 April 1992 [rev. of March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland]

A New Brain (Lapine), orchd Starobin, Mitzi E. Newhouse, 18 June 1998

BIBLIOGRAPHY


A. Kasha and J. Hirschhorn: Notes on Broadway: Conversations with the Great Songwriters (Chicago, 1985)

E. Pall: ‘The Long-Running Musical of William Finn’s Life’, The New York Times Magazine (14 June 1998)

GEOFFREY BLOCK




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