Simon Keenlyside returns to the Royal Opera House this Saturday as Count Almaviva in David McVicar’s production of Le nozze di Figaro, conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner. One of his calling card roles, Simon made his operatic debut as the Count at the Hamburg State Opera in 1987, and has since performed it worldwide, notably at the Wiener Staatsoper, Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich, Salzburg Festival, Teatro alla Scala, Milan, Metropolitan Opera and on tour to Japan with the Wiener Staatsoper. His award-winning recording of Le nozze di Figaro with René Jacobs on Harmonia Mundi won both a Grammy for Best Opera Recording and Gramophone’s Record of the Year. The New York Times hailed Simon’s Count, saying:
“It was no surprise that Mr. Keenlyside gave such a complex and volatile portrayal. A consummate stage artist, he made an entitled and preening Count: effete, yes, but in a strangely sexy way. His singing was as nuanced and contrary as his characterization, elegantly dignified one moment, bullishly impulsive the next.”
The performances at the Royal Opera House take place on 29 June, 1, 4, 6, 9, 12, 17, 19 & 21 July. You can view further cast details and watch a trailer here. The performance on 9 July will be broadcast live at Trafalgar Square as part of the ROH’s BP Big Screens or you can watch live on YouTube.
This season has seen Simon’s Rigoletto in Luxembourg, Paris, Bratislava and Munich; his Germont Père (La traviata) and Ford (Falstaff) at the Wiener Staatsoper; Wolfram (Tannhäuser) at the Deutsche Oper Berlin; his Don Giovanni at the Bayerische Staatsoper; concert performances of orchestrated Sibelius songs with the Cleveland Orchestra under Franz Welser-Möst and with the ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Vienna Konzerthaus under Ryan Wigglesworth; a US recital tour with his long-term recital partner Malcolm Martineau to Vancouver, Quebec, Washington, Atlanta, Schenectady and Philadelphia; and his Schumann ‘Dichterliebe’ with Emanuel Ax at the Wigmore Hall celebrating Emanuel’s 70th birthday where the critics praised both gentlemen alike
“In Dichterliebe…Ax and Simon Keenlyside made a dream partnership, the singer vivid in his word-painting, whether outgoing or confiding, and Ax, for all that the piano was placed at an oblique angle with its lid on the shortest stick, illuminated the piano-writing with superfine touch and impressionistic colours. Singing from memory, Keenlyside was amazing, so deeply involved, creating an opera.” (Classical Source, June 2019).
Still to come, Simon returns to the Wigmore Hall and Grange Park Opera with his jazz programme ‘Blue Skies: Songlines to American Music’.