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Birgit Finnilä (Contralto)

Born: January 20, 1931 - Falkenberg, Sweden

The Swedish contralto, Birgit Finnilä, inherited her musical gifts from her parents, and after taking lessons with Ingalill Linden in Göteborg, she under took a further period of study at the Royal Academy of Music in London with Roy Henderson.

Since her very successful debut in Göteborg in 1963, Birgit Finnilä has sung with many European and American orchestras under such eminent conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Carlo Maria Giulini, Bernard Haitink, Herbert von Karajan, Lorin Maazel and Gennady Rozhdestvensky, and has given recitals in New York, Chicago (first American tour in 1968), London, Vienna and Paris, as well as in Soviet Union and Australia.

Birgit Finnilä has made her career principally on the concert platform, but her stage appearances included roles in Benjamin Britten’s The rape of Lucretia, Gluck’s Orfeo (her operatic was in that role in 1967 in Göteborg), George Frideric Handel’s Flavio, W.A. Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, and Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen.

If she has concentrated on concert and recital work Birgit Finnilä’s range in these fields in vast, covering the oratorios of J.S. Bach and G.F. Handel, the Requiems of Dvořák, W.A. Mozart and Verdi, major choral works such as L.v. Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, solo parts in the orchestral works of Gustav Mahler, with whose music she feels a particular affinity, and a wide repertoire of songs by composers as diverse as L.v. Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Sibelius, B. Britten and G. Mahler.

Birgit Finnilä recorded for EMI the role of Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro under Daniel Barenboim, has taken part in Bruckner’s Te Deum and also in Dmitri Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk under the baton of Mstislav Rostropovich.


Source: Liner notes to the album ‘Shostakovich: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk’ conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich (EMI, 1979); Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians (1997)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2001)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Michel Corboz


BWV 232, BWV 243, BWV 245

Wolfgang Gönnenwein


BWV 243a

Rafael Kubelík


BWV 232

Jean-François Paillard


BWV 53, BWV 54, BWV 169

Helmuth Rilling


BWV 35

Johannes Somary


BWV 244

Helmut Winschermann


BWV 151, BWV 235, BWV 236

Links to other Sites

Birgit Finnilä (Wikipedia)


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Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 04:22