Gregory Finney is a Toronto-based baritone and frequent contributor to Schmopera.com. Past engagements include Against the Grain Theatre, VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert, Toronto Operetta Theatre, FAWN Chamber Creative and Loose TEA Music Theatre. Recent performances include AtG's Messiah with Against The Grain Theatre, Don Giovanni with Opera By Request and La tragédie de Carmen with LooseTEA Music Theatre, Roderich in Cousin from Nowhere (TOT), Kromow in The Merry Widow, Ebenezer in Taptoo! and he was seen Luisa Fernanda, Knickerbocker Holiday, Kamouraska, and Eric Idle's Not the Messiah. Adept in comedic roles, he garnered rave reviews as Antonio/Bartolo in Against The Grain's production of Figaro's Wedding. Greg appears frequently with Toronto Operetta Theatre, including
Further credits include Die Fledermaus (Orlofsky), Falstaff (Bardolfo), Le Nozze di Figaro (Don Curzio), Cendrillon (Le Maitre de Plaisirs), and in Berlioz's Béatrice et Bénédict (Don Pedro) with Opera By Request.
Sunday Funday: a don't-miss-it operatic double-header
"One of the things I love most about music is the undeniable connections between different genres," says Amanda Smith, FAWN Founding Artistic Director & Resident Stage Director. " I’ve always listened to electronic music with a similar ear as I do with classical and my experience as a listener is often comparable – so many intricate musical layers and visuals to explore."Read More
Hype for a reason: AtG's La bohème
There are a few moments that always kill me in La bohème. There's the sexy "buona sera/good night" that Rodolfo says to Mimì in Act I; there's that that part in Act IV where he tells her she's as pretty as a sunrise, and she corrects his poetry, saying it should be "sunset". There's the look on Schaunard's face when their fun and games pull a sudden 180, and he's faced with the scene of a dying woman and a very sad friend.Read More
A comprimario amid a "huge, sweeping, romantic love story"
"I also love seeing how Joel [Ivany] and Toph [Mokrzewski] have evolved with the score and libretto, and with their directing styles. One of my favourite things about this business is watching my friends and colleagues grow and learn and develop and continue to astound me. I never cease to learn from everyone in the room, and you learn the most from people with a bona fide passion for what they do."Read More
Celebrating 10 years of Opera By Request
Shookhoff, whose own operatic career spans four decades and includes opera companies on both sides of the Atlantic as well as university, festival, and music theatre engagements, sees OBR as a way to give back to the operatic community and to provide opportunities for emerging talent, just as established mentors (including Canadian icons Herman Geiger-Torel, Ernesto Barbini, and Mario Bernardi) provided those opportunities for artists of his generation.Read More
"A very Bohemian undertaking": AtG's La bohème
Poverty - and the limited options that come with it - is a major theme in the original story of 19th-century Paris. Today, young people across Toronto still have the same limitations, particularly those who choose to pursue the arts. "There are a lot of constraints on their ability to live," says Mokrzewski. "Bringing [La bohème] into this context exaggerates, almost, the underlying class stuff that was happening."Read More
Don't miss: The Chocolate Soldier
If the central love story doesn't entice you, go for the brilliant performances in the supporting cast. Mezzo-soprano Eugenia Dermentzis is a scene-stealer as Aurelia, her face an exaggerated picture of uppity, bewildered, and scheming; even with her polished mezzo, her presence onstage is something delightfully out of a Pixar film. Plus, The Chocolate Soldier is a beautiful chance to catch Schmopera's own Gregory Finney onstage as the patriarch Popoff.Read More
Don't miss: Waltz Rivals
It promises to be a lovely Sunday afternoon here in the T-dot, so if you're looking for some beautiful music and beautiful people (myself excluded, #selfdeprecationischarmingright), stop on by. The show is about 75% sold out but there are still some great seats left, since there isn't a bad seat to be found in the beautifully restored Jane Mallett Theatre.Read More
Shh! Confidential Opera Project is back!
After an incredibly successful first show in June, we are #stokedissimo to bring you another one of the opera world's most beloved works, sung by some of the best up-and-coming talent here in Toronto.Read More
In review: Los Gavilanes at Toronto Operetta Theatre
In a word, charming. That is what I experienced tonight with Toronto Operetta Theatre and their Canadian premiere of Jacinto Guerrero’s Los Gavilanes at St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. From the simple set to the period costumes, the Spanish orchestration and the simple, well-known tale of love lost (and then found), I was charmed.Read More
What the eff is a Zarzuela, anyway?
A sparrow hawk is known in the wild for stealing the chicks of other birds from their nests. This Zarzuela tells the story of Juan, a man who left his poor fishing village in search of adventure and fortune in Peru. He returns twenty years later a millionaire - and that's when things get sticky. He agrees to marry Rosaura, a young maiden in the village who happens to be in love with Gustavo (the only guy in the village who's paid off his debts), and takes her from the young man's arms. See the metaphor?Read More
Be in on the secret: Confidential Opera Project
My goal with applying it to opera is to help de-mystify the whole thing. I want the audience to experience the magic that you're only privy to on the first sing-through of a score - I know my fellow singers will agree that the first sing-through is probably one of the most fun rehearsals for a show. There will be mis-steps, but there are also moments of supreme beauty and magic that come from the adrenaline that pumps through these talented artists' veins.Read More
Newbies at the opera
We entered the theatre and got to our seats minutes before the curtain rose. The stage set was simple and yet magnificent with a full staircase as the main backdrop, and then the orchestra started and the singing began, WOW! The voices. I never thought operas could be so humorous and enjoyable, I always thought operas were serious and tragic with the cliché of a fat lady in a flowing floor length gown and horned helmet - was I wrong!Read More
Rehearsing "a Messiah that moves."
Of course, the final product was something greater than the sum of its parts. Each night, there was that great Against the Grain alchemy onstage, that amazing thing that happens when performers reach out to the audience, and the audience gives back. The proof is in the audience feedback, in truth. The run has stirred up the usual AtG-show Twitter buzz, full of people loving the novelty of this Messiah.Read More
The life of a comprimario, or "Oh, you're that guy!"
So you want to be a comprimario? Great! There's lots of work for you if you're good it, but beware, it's not as glitzy and glamorous as playing Violetta or Don José, but it's just as labour-intensive.Read More
Check out: FAWN Chamber Creative
Based in Toronto, FAWN Chamber Creative is focused on getting Canadian music heard by new people. They mash up art forms, like their Synesthesia series combining new Canadian music, design, and film, and they commission new works like Adam Scime's L'homme et le ciel, which you can hear in Toronto this December at the Music Gallery.Read More
A Chair in Love. What, what?
This Friday, Opera By Request presents a semi-staged version of John Metcalf and Larry Tremblay's A Chair in Love. The 2005 opera about a man who falls in love with a chair is intriguing and bizarre enough to pique my interest. I had the chance to ask composer John Metcalf, music director William Shookhoff, and the show's cast about A Chair in Love, in the selfish hopes of figuring out what it's all about.Read More
Viva Claire & Aviva!
On Sunday, I was lucky enough to find myself invited to a small private recital by two of the best young singers in the country (there, I said it). Sopranos, and besties, Claire de Sevigne and Aviva Fortunata treated us to an intimate recital before they split up for about a year.Read More
In review: Earnest, the Importance of Being
Last night I went to opening night of Earnest, the Importance of Being at Toronto Operetta Theatre. The piece, by Victor Davies and Eugene Benson, had its premiere in 2008. It's a rare thing to find an original Canadian operetta, and this one is a hilarious and charming take on Oscar Wilde's *The Importance of Being Earnest*.Read More
Greg's First Thursday at the AGO
AGO First Thursdays is a great party series thrown by the gallery on the first Thursday of every month. After the AGO closes for regular business, the place is transformed into an events venue with DJs, Drinks, Dancing, Dashing Dudes, Dreamy Dames and some Damn Fine Art. Last night was no exception.Read More
In review: Street Scene
On Sunday afternoon I went to see VOICEBOX: Opera In Concert's production of Street Scene at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. Kurt Weill's "American Opera", with text by Elmer Rice and Langston Hughes, is a fantastic piece, and I agreed with Artistic Director Guillermo Silva-Marin when he said that the show doesn't get done enough.Read More
Beardism, the Lumbersexual, and the Young Performer
This post isn’t so much about singing or opera or theatre in the usual sense. I just wanted to talk about one of the parts of our industry that sort of gets taken for granted by the audience. I make that statement because I’m guilty of it. I also opened with that little bit of a diatribe so that I can hope make a point stronger.Read More
In review: Ah! Mikado!
Last night I went to see Toronto Operetta Theatre‘s production of The Mikado at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. Neither Gilbert nor Sullivan show up frequently on my list of must-sees, due to personal taste and perhaps too many earworms (#iamtheverymodelofamodernmajorgeneral). But I had much faith (and a few friends) in the Canadian cast, and I absolutely wasn’t disappointed.Read More
In Review: Love in the Age of AutoCorrect
Last night I went to the opening of Loose TEA Music Theatre‘s new production, Love in the Age of AutoCorrect. It was a double bill of updated takes on Stravinsky’s Mavra and Mozart’s Bastien und Bastienne, this time entitled Andrew and Andrea. It was out on the pretty terrace of Atelier Rosemarie Umetsu, with a friendly-looking bar to create a beautiful night of outdoor theatre.Read More
Alaina Viau is the Artistic Director of LooseTEA Music Theatre. She's hard at work with the creative team of LooseTEA's upcoming double-bill, Love in the Age of AutoCorrect. The double-bill includes present-day adaptations of Mozart's Bastien und Bastienne and Stravinsky's Mavra.Read More
In review: Cousin from Nowhere
I went to Toronto Operetta Theatre's Cousin From Nowhere, an English translation of Eduard Künneke's Das Vetter aus Dingsda. Whenever I go and hear TOT shows, I always end up hearing some new music that gets stuck in my head, sung by lovely Canadian talent.Read More
How I acted my way into an opera career
I remember when I first told my parents I wanted to be an actor. I had just performed in our school district’s Speech and Drama Festival and scored a near perfect mark for my portrayal of the Big Bad Wolf (of “Three Little Pigs” fame) telling the true account of what happened with those mischievous swine.Read More