So I'm a sucker for baritones: Simon Keenlyside

>> Friday, July 3, 2009


I must confess that I only just discovered this little gem of a baritone this last weekend when Lauren gave me the DVD recording of the 2003 Covent Garden production of Die Zauberflöte. Who knew that a guy who did his major studies in zoology could sing like that?

Simon Keenlyside
(born August 3, 1959, London, England), is a British baritone opera singer. He is the son of Raymond and Ann Keenlyside. His father played second violin in the Aeolian Quartet, and his grandfather was also a professional violinist. Keenlyside has said: "Where other children would have nursery rhymes, I’d go to bed to the sounds of Haydn, Mozart, and Schubert." As a child, Keenlyside was a chorister under Dr George Guest in the choir of St John's College, Cambridge.

Keenlyside read zoology at Cambridge University, returning to St John's as a choral scholar, before studying singing at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. After graduation, he won a Peter Moore Foundation Scholarship (1985) and chose to join the Royal Northern College of Music to study voice with John Cameron, who opened up the world of German Lieder to him. He says "I wanted to learn to sing, and earning money at that point would have been, I'm sure, detrimental to learning how to sing". “…when I was in my mid-twenties my voice wasn’t ready for opera. John was rightly concerned that I should not force my natural vocal weight, like some singers do – a Faustian pact you pay for later with wobble and nodules.”

Here's Keenlyside as a very 18th century and I'm sure Mozart-approved Count Almaviva in a 2001 Vienna Staatsoper production of Le Nozze di Figaro.

Information source: Wikipedia



4 comments:

W. A. Mozart July 3, 2009 at 1:11 PM  

He is indeed a talent. His mannerisms are a little twitchy, which would make an 18th century audience uncomfortable, but for myself, I like it. Thank you for introducing him to me. A fine, if eccentric, Almaviva!

Derrick July 4, 2009 at 7:21 AM  

Hi Lynette,

Mr Keenlyside has a wonderful voice and has an excellent reputation. He was superb in the role of Billy Budd but doesn't sing it anymore. He hasn't done many recordings but has a couple of CDs out now.

willow July 5, 2009 at 4:14 PM  

He's WONderful!

Lynette July 5, 2009 at 7:24 PM  

Yes, he is. :)

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