Cher Public

Keenly missed

KeenlysideSimon, Simon, Simon: how we do love you (and miss you)!  He is the single most listened-to artist on my Mixcloud site, in recital and opera.  While his website does not offer much encouraging news about a return to opera, it does promise an interesting and different project for the baritone this summer: Fagin in Oliver

When you listen to this lovely recital from 2010, I ask you to channel all good thoughts to Simon for his vocal and mental health and wellbeing.

Simon Keenlyside
Graham Johnson, piano

Musikverein Wien
09 May 2010

Franz Schubert:
“Orpheus”, D 474
“Der Tod und das Mädchen”, D 531
“Daß sie hier gewesen”, D 775
“An den Mond in einer Herbstnacht”, D 614

Hugo Wolf:
“An eine Äolsharfe”
“Um Mitternacht”
“Auf ein altes Bild”
“Wo find ich Trost”
“Lied eines Verliebten”
“Der Jäger”

Johannes Brahms:
“Nachtigallen schwingen”, op. 6
“Verzagen”, op. 72/4
“Über die Heide hallet mein Schritt”, op. 86/4
“An eine Äolsharfe”, op. 19/5
“Auf dem Kirchhofe”, op. 105/4
“Wir wandelten”, op. 96/2
“Von ewiger Liebe”, op. 43/1
“An die Nachtigall”, op. 46/4
“Es schauen die Blumen”, op. 96/3
“Nachtwandler”, op. 86/3
“Abenddämmerung”, op. 49/5

Franz Schubert:
“L’incanto degli occhi”
“Die Sterne”

  • I must say that I much prefer him in lieder to opera. I saw Hamlet at the Met and it was both too high and too low for him. And I listened to the Rigoletto that he should never have done, in my humble opinion.

    • Lohengrin

      Wasn´t he a wonderful Rodrigo?

      • armerjacquino

        I thought so. And his Count Almaviva on the Jacobs recording is right up there with the best on record.

        • PCally

          Absolutely, he’s the star of the recording for me. He’s also a fine Giovanni. While I’m unsure of how likely it is, I hope he manages to sing the Giovanni performances next season. It would be great to see him again.

        • Krunoslav
    • Cocky Kurwenal

      I think he’s far stronger in opera than in Lieder, but of course it has to be the right role and he has taken some risks that haven’t all paid off.

      He has quite a strange platform manner and looks uncomfortable and unhappy in recital, as if the audience irritates him and he wishes we weren’t there. He also often attempts a lot of soft singing that he isn’t technically equipped to pull off.

      But in opera, if he’s singing his core, lyric repertoire, I think he’s one of the best there is, both vocally and dramatically. It’s certainly a very rich, beautiful voice.

  • Troy

    Keenlyside is an outstanding singing-actor. He is a marvellous Count Almaviva, his Don Giovanni is also very good. His Rodrigo was a revelation, also liked his Eugen Onegin. And he was a magnificent Hamlet, wonderfully lyrical and in superb French.
    He said he plans to return to opera in the following season, but he is cautious after his thyroid surgery. First a few recitals and then Oliver in Grange Park. His return to opera should be the Traviata in Munich this summer.

    • bluecabochon

      Thyroid surgery? Haven’t read this anywhere else.

      • Troy

        He talked about it in a public statement in which he apologized for cancelling performances and concerts.

        • bluecabochon

          As someone who has weathered two thyroid surgeries, I hope that he regains his full vocal powers, energy, physical comfort and balance. It’s hard enough to recover from without having to worry about voice preservation. It’s such a vital organ that we take for granted until we have less of it, or none at all and have to rely on pills to get us through or lives without feeling like a ghost of who we once were.

          • Camille

            Be well, blue.

            Do you also take L-tyrosine? Helps a lot, as well as selenium, a critical factor.
            So as not to prolong this as it is Off off topic on an opera website, see Mary J. Shomon’s publications and her website, -- in case you possibly have not heard of her, which I doubt.

            Take care of yourself.

    • michaelo

      I am puzzled that no one has mentioned Keenlyside’s Pelleas, the best in my experience. Here in Boston, in a concert performance with Haitink and the BSO, Finley and Hunt Lieberson, he was transcendent, presenting a fully developed, convincing characterization. The French was exquisite, the vocal range held no terrors for him and his interplay with the other singers exemplary. I gather from the reviews I have read of his Pelleas that the same was true in other productions. For my money, Degout, for example, can’t hold a candle to him.

  • And Wozzeck, and a remarkably agile Billy Budd, swinging around the rigging like a monkey in a tree: amazing.

    • “… bouncing off the walls like a youth who’s had his first kiss; racing up ladders and down stairs and dangling under girders without a note lost or a word unheard (the diction throughout this performance was excellent: even the chorus was comprehensible), rocking nervously from foot to foot, shaking his head in wild disbelief when accused and generally looking 15 years younger than anyone else on stage.”

      • manou

        I remembered that he had also injured himself rather badly playing a very physical Papageno, and found this (from 2003):

        Fifteen years ago, about to sing Hamlet (and the first time I saw Dessay, too).

        • manou

          Sorry -- I mean to post this excerpt:

          …rehearsing a peculiarly acrobatic Papageno at Covent Garden, he fell through a trap-door and so badly tore the tendons in his left hand and foot that the injuries required surgery.

          You can see his arm heavily bandaged in the ROH Macbeth DVD.

          • Cocky Kurwenal

            I remember seeing that Flute, and his running entrance with him leaping over a sofa, and thinking ‘risky’. He was really great in that role.

            • Operngasse

              This may be the entrance you mention (at 5:53):

    • PCally

      As dramatically compelling as his Wozzeck was, I think it’s an example of role which he maybe spent too much time with. Only saw him twice in the role and one was a concert performance and the voice sounded very very pushed and edgy. Unfortunately I’ve only seen Billy Budd once with Nathan Gunn, so I’m very willing to believe Kennlyside was preferable.

  • Camille

    Best of luck and health with all he does from here on.
    A really lovely artist and gentleman.

  • Liebe Marianne: Once again, I find myself thanking you for another highly enjoyable podcast. What an old-school German program from Keenlyside — Schubert, Wolf und Brahms. Made me think of my Schwarzkopf and Norman recordings.

  • Troy

    Simon Keenlyside’s main operatic stage in the 2016/17 season is the Vienna State Opera where he is scheduled to appear in Macbeth, Don Giovanni and Pelleas et Melisande and in a recital with Angelika Kirchschlager with Malcolm Martineau at the piano.