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Simon Keenlyside

Baritone

Biography

Simon Keenlyside in action.
Simon Keenlyside in Eugene Onegin, The Royal Opera ©ROH/Bill Cooper, 2013

British baritone Simon Keenlyside made his Royal Opera debut in 1990 as Ping (Turandot) and since 1994 has performed with The Royal Opera nearly every Season, in roles including Don Giovanni, Papageno (Die Zauberflöte), Macbeth, Giorgio Germont (La traviata), Posa (Don Carlo), Valentin (Faust), Wozzeck and Rigoletto. He created the roles of Prospero (The Tempest) and Winston Smith (1984) for The Royal Opera.

Keenlyside began his singing career as a chorister at St John’s College, Cambridge. A keen ecologist, he returned to Cambridge to read Zoology, singing on a choral scholarship, and went on to study singing with John Cameron at the Royal Northern College of Music. His career has taken him to the world’s major opera houses, singing repertory including Oreste (Iphigénie en Tauride), Figaro (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Rigoletto, Hamlet, Ford (Falstaff), Pelléas and Billy Budd. A lover of German Lieder, Keenlyside also performs widely in recital, including regular appearances at London’s Wigmore Hall. His discography includes CDs of opera, operetta duets and Lieder and songs by Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Richard Strauss and Vaughan Williams.

Keenlyside lives on a farm in West Wales with his wife, Royal Ballet Principal Zenaida Yanowsky, and their children. His interests outside opera include planting trees, reading poetry and listening to a wide range of music including flamenco. He was appointed CBE in 2003.

Videos

News and features

The Royal Opera to tour to Japan in September 2015

The Royal Opera to tour to Japan in September 2015

29 August 2014

Company to perform Macbeth and Don Giovanni in Tokyo, conducted by Antonio Pappano.

Cast change: Artur Ruciński to sing in La traviata on 17 May

Cast change: Artur Ruciński to sing in La traviata on 17 May

16 May 2014

Polish baritone to replace Simon Keenlyside in the role of Giorgio Germont.

Your reaction: Faust

Your reaction: Faust

5 April 2014

What did you think of David McVicar’s production of Gounod’s grand opera?

Your reaction: Wozzeck

Your reaction: Wozzeck

1 November 2013

What did you think of Keith Warner's production of Alban Berg's dark and tragic opera?

Watch: Wozzeck trailer

Watch: Wozzeck trailer

30 September 2013

One of the great operatic masterpieces of the 20th century opens on 31 October

Trade secrets: Find out more about staging the gruesome final act of Berg's Wozzeck

Trade secrets: Find out more about staging the gruesome final act of Berg's Wozzeck

12 September 2013

How do they keep a baritone underwater for seven minutes?

Photos

Simon Keenlyside as Giorgio Germont in Richard Eyre's La traviata © Catherine Ashmore/ROH 2011

Simon Keenlyside as Rigoletto and Aleksandra Kurzak as Gilda in Rigoletto © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2014

Aleksandra Kurzak as Gilda and Simon Keenlyside as Rigoletto in Rigoletto © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2014

Aleksandra Kurzak as Gilda and Simon Keenlyside as Rigoletto in Rigoletto © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2014

Duncan Rock as Marullo and Simon Keenlyside as Rigoletto with members of the Royal Opera Chorus in Rigoletto © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2014

Simon Keenlyside as Rigoletto in Rigoletto © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2014

Simon Keenlyside as Rigoletto in Rigoletto © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2014

Simon Keenlyside as Rigoletto and Aleksandra Kurzak as Gilda in Rigoletto © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2014

Aleksandra Kurzak as Gilda and Simon Keenlyside as Rigoletto in Rigoletto © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2014

Aleksandra Kurzak as Gilda and Simon Keenlyside as Rigoletto in Rigoletto © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2014

Simon Keenlyside as Rigoletto and Aleksandra Kurzak as Gilda in Rigoletto © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2014

Simon Keenlyside as Rigoletto in Rigoletto © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2014

Simon Keenlyside as Rigoletto in Rigoletto © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2014

Simon Keenlyside as Rigoletto in Rigoletto © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2014

Renata Pokupić as Siébel and Simon Keenlyside as Valentin in Faust, The Royal Opera, © ROH / Bill Cooper 2014

Bryn Terfel as Méphistophélès and Simon Keenlyside as Valentin in Faust, The Royal Opera, © ROH / Bill Cooper 2014

Simon Keenlyside as Valentin and Bryn Terfel as Méphistophélès in Faust, The Royal Opera, © ROH / Bill Cooper 2014

Simon Keenlyside in Eugene Onegin, The Royal Opera ©ROH/Bill Cooper, 2013

Simon Keenlyside as Wozzeck and Karita Mattila as Marie in Wozzeck © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2013

John Tomlinson as the Doctor and Simon Keenlyside as Wozzeck in Wozzeck © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2013

Simon Keenlyside as Wozzeck and Karita Mattila as Marie in Wozzeck © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2013

Gerhard Siegel as the Captain and Simon Keenlyside as Wozzeck in Wozzeck © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2013

Simon Keenlyside as Wozzeck in Wozzeck © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2013

Simon Keenlyside as Wozzeck with members of The Royal Opera Chorus in Wozzeck © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2013

Simon Keenlyside as Wozzeck in Wozzeck © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2013

Gerhard Siegel as the Captain, Simon Keenlyside as Wozzeck and John Tomlinson as the Doctor in Wozzeck © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2013

Simon Keenlyside as Wozzeck in Wozzeck © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2013

Simon Keenlyside as Wozzeck and John Tomlinson as the Doctor in Wozzeck © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2013

Simon Keenlyside as Wozzeck and John Tomlinson as the Doctor in Wozzeck © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2013

Gerhard Siegel as the Captain and Simon Keenlyside as Wozzeck in Wozzeck © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2013

Simon Keenlyside as Wozzeck in Wozzeck © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2013

Simon Keenlyside as Wozzeck in Wozzeck © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2013

Simon Keenlyside as Wozzeck in Wozzeck © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2013

Simon Keenlyside as Wozzeck in Wozzeck © ROH / Catherine Ashmore 2013

4 December: Simon Keenlyside and Krassimira Stoyanova in Eugene Onegin in February 2013

Simon Keenlyside in Die Zauberflöte © ROH/Catherine Ashmore, 2005