A message from Simon

A message from Simon, 27. November 2015

To all of you that might have bought tickets and flights‎ with your hard earned money, I am so sorry that I must come out of all my December recitals, as well as from the Wigmore small-piece band concert in January.

I had an unexpected operation to remove some of my thyroid at the end of September having returned from singing Macbeth in Japan with the Royal Opera. I had the all clear and so all will be well, but a complication in the healing process of the neck, has set me back a bit.  Frustrating in the extreme, but Mother Nature has her imperatives and I must just be patient and work steadily, and as she will allow.

I will still be singing my Schubert Wigmore recital on January 31st 2016, but even though the small-piece band date is before that…..it will take too much work. All the detail and love and passion of making programmes. I am full of hot ideas and fun, but I cannot do that right now when swallowing is uncomfortable. So…there it is. I’m sorry to all of you for spending your money and having to let you down. This was kind of out of my control.

All very best to all of you.


A message from Simon, 27 January 2012

Dear all
I’m so sorry to do this again. A bit of a habit recently, this cancelling lark.
It gives me no pleasure to do so. Nozze di Figaro is an absolute joy for me. I will never tire of the opera and will miss this run very much.

And I’m sorry too, if any of you have spent your hard-earned wages on my account, and are now irritated with my cancellation. I’m afraid that this time… it is only Life that surprised me; both here in London and in Vienna. The two cancellations are linked.

Zenaida had a health scare around Christmas time, and was taken to hospital. When she came out, she was weak as a lamb and I could not leave her alone with two small children, and unable to pick them up. We have no grandparents to help, and at Christmas, nannies too need a break and go home.


That is why I had to cancel Vienna. It broke my heart really. I had asked Vienna for this new role in “Ballo maschera” and they kindly gave it to me. what a privilege is that?
Cancelling was painful for me too. But there are times when I must stop and think what is more important in Life… and this time, the “ballo” period in Vienna had to go.

Unfortunately, and precisely because of that…

In looking after 2 small kids, who missed their Mama, on my own, I have now hurt myself. It’s nothing desperate …but I have strained my vocal chords.

How ridiculous, after 25 years of hard singing, that I should hurt myself not in singing, but endless endless talking with small children. I was desperate to rest my voice, after a hard winter singing but… it was …impossible.

So, how ridiculous.
I’m sorry again for any inconvenience to any of you….
And I fully intend to be back in time for the Onegin in Munich.

All best wishes

A message from Simon to all contributors and readers of SK.info

Tales of Opera 04

You must all know by now – I know you do! – that I don’t do internet and computers. They must be wonderful… all those things available to you… research and ordering and perusing the whole wide world! But it just doesn’t suit me. I don’t think I have the time… and when I do, I would rather be outside. I’m sure I will never go onto the internet. That said… I’m happy to be sharing this passion and deep love of music and poetry and art with all of you who are in the same “club” as me… just on the other side of the curtain. Happy listening… And thank you all very much for spending your hard earned money to come and listen to the irrelevant things that I do… and hope to continue doing for a couple more decades. It passes the time! And I can’t think of much else to do that would give me as much fun and satisfaction.

All best wishes
Simon Keenlyside

We would very much like to thank Simon and his agent, Askonas Holt, for acknowledging all of the hard work put in to www.simonkeenlyside.info by making it Simon’s “personal website”

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

jackie feinstein October 24, 2016 at 7:01 pm

Thanks, Simon, for your gorgeous Don Giovanni. You made my day!!
Jackie (Pasadena, CA)

karen steckler October 22, 2016 at 11:23 pm

Dear Simon,
I just returned home from the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the HD broadcast of Don Giavanni. Thank you, thank you so much. I believed every single moment, was on the edge of my seat and exhausted from the wrenching drama.
So I especially enjoyed seeing the “behind the scene”‘, after the curtain call, every one hugging and kissing and you in fantastic good health and spirit.
Thank you,
Karen Steckler

Erdélyi Hédi March 8, 2016 at 9:53 pm

Dear Simon!
I wish strength and health for you. You are the best: musically, fisically, singer and actor. The best ever Don Giovanni (Ferrara 1997), the best ever Hamlet (Barcellona, MET), the best ever Papageno (ROH 2003), wonderful Lieder-Singer. Every videos of yours I see on Youtube, unfortunately there are little of your roles, but I can make compare to other singers. Do not hurry working, relax and heal!
Thanks for the pleasure you have given so far! I welcome your family.

Claude DUPIN December 29, 2014 at 5:33 am

Cher Simon
A-t-on le droit d’être aussi familier en vous appelant par votre prénom ? Surtout quand on ne vous a découvert que par le disque ou la télévision ! Quelle chance ont ceux qui ont pu vous entendre et vous voir sur scène !
Pourtant, j’ai l’impression de vous connaître et de pouvoir vous remercier pour toutes les joies que vous m’avez données, de Papageno à Macbeth, de Mozart à Thomas Ades, de l’opéra au lied…
Merci donc, et tous mes voeux pour vous et les vôtres. Le Théâtre est immense et exigeant, mais l’amour de la famille est encore plus grand.
Très bonne nouvelle année.

Binny April 22, 2013 at 5:04 pm

I saw Simon in Rigoletto on 14 April in Vienna and can I just say how brilliant he was and how wonderful the opera was. I urge all his fans to see this production if it returns any where in the world.
It moved both me and my husband to tears…the best silver wedding anniversary treat ever. Thank you Simon!

Linda Heighway April 13, 2013 at 12:25 pm

I have seen Eugene Onegin at Covent Garden in January ,also a live recording at the Cinema , and really enjoyed them , wonderful singing and great playing from the Orchestra. However somehow the T V I did not enjoy as much. Such a heart breaking story, and not conceived as an Opera!. Lovely to have so many opportunities to see it. I had not been to Covent Garden since the19 50’s., when training as a Nurse we used to get complementary tickets.

Petra April 13, 2013 at 8:43 am

We believe there will a DVD of this production coming out from OPUS ARTE.

Catherine Davis April 13, 2013 at 8:23 am

Dear Simon
I watched the BBC4 Eugene Onegin last night and thought that you were wonderful. That opera holds a soft spot for me since first seeing it at the Bolshoi in 1976. I hope you record it. Going to buy some of your other recordings.
With all best wishes to you and your family.

Jane January 2, 2013 at 2:47 pm

I am never entirely sure if you receive any of these greetings we post on here for you Simon, but I’ll post my message to you anyway!
I hope you did indeed have a lovely Christmas with your family and now I hope that everything will be wonderful for all of you in 2013.
May you have a very happy, healthy and successful new year Simon.
My very best wishes,
~ Jane

Heidemarie Weidner December 26, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Wishing you, Simon, and your family a very Merry Christmas and all the best for the new year!
A fan from Tennessee,

Jane December 24, 2012 at 4:54 pm

A Very Merry Christmas to you Simon and to Zenaida and your little ones. I hope you have an absolutely brilliant time together this Christmas. I am sure that your children’s wonder and excitement will bring you great happiness.
With my best wishes,
~ Jane

Rafael de Acha December 21, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Hello! Just by chance I “discovered” your website. I am presently teaching courses in Opera at the University of Cincinnati’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and, in an upcoming course titled “The Great Opera Singers of Today” I have a segment of one lecture in which I discuss in detail your wonderful rendition of Macbeth’s Pietta, rispetto, onore, holding it up as an example of true Bel Canto — legato, purity of vowels, evenness of registers, etc. Your singing is exemplary and something young singers should emulate and learn from. In bocca al lupo!

Alfredo Boso October 26, 2012 at 3:12 am

If I have appreciated you, Mr Keenlyside, for being a wonderful bariton, now I appreciate you more for your commitment as a father. Being a father myself with young children, and being the same age of you, I know how involving this role may be.
I hope at the date of this e-mail of mine things are sorted out and maybe forgotten.
Best wishes again

diana jones June 14, 2012 at 9:41 am

Hi William,
Welcome to the wonderful world of Simon Keenlyside!! To get started, I highly recommend the cd Tales of Opera, which has many fantastic opera arias including the Largo al factotum you heard on Classic FM (unfortunately, the only track of Simon’s they appear to have!). Would also recommend his lieder recordings, and the dvd of Die Zauberflote, which is what started it all off for me a few years ago!! In fact, whatever you choose to start your collection with you will never be disappointed! Amazing singer, brilliant actor!!!

william garth jones June 13, 2012 at 10:00 am


Never heard of you until hearing you sing ” Largo al factotum ” on Classic FM yesterday ! WOW ! scrambling now to buy your recordings. Any chance of you coming to sing in N.Wales ?

Stannis Baratheon February 11, 2012 at 1:46 am

What an adorable man he is. I wish all well to his family. I hope he gets another chance to sing Renato, that would be awesome!

sandrina February 1, 2012 at 5:23 pm

If you read this.. Best wishes to your lovely wife and yourself and good luck managing your double schedules. Unfortunately it does not necessarily get much easier once children are in school. As for the voice, in one of those grandmother’s tricks and recipes books (in French), I read that swallowing a raw egg yolk works wonders.. It is different to honey, lemon or cyder vinegar but may be worth a shot?

I wonder whether you will cancel the German Requiem and Elijah.

Jarmila January 31, 2012 at 3:40 pm

I wish Your family will be happy and healthy soon!

Stephen Llewellyn January 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm

How can one not accept an apology so genuinely and fully made. I do wish more of your professional colleagues would follow suit. You did the right thing. We’ll get over it and I am sure we all wish you and your family nothing but a return to good health and happiness as soon as possible.

Christine Grove January 30, 2012 at 12:35 am

Get well soon, Simon.

You have your priorities right.

The couple who were in ViktualienMarkt, Munich January 29, 2012 at 6:11 am

Le Nozze di Figaro is our most loving piece.
We enjoyed your Il conte di Almaviva in Munich, New York and Ingolstadt.
Everytime your performance gave us great joy.
We are sad to hear the cancel of Le Nozze di Figaro (and probably Deutsches Requiem) this time.
But We believe that we can listen you sing this roll again in the near future!

Best wishes and good health to you and your family.

Tama & Melo(Tokyo)

diana jones January 27, 2012 at 11:02 pm

What a lovely man you are Simon! Wish I’d had one half as good when my children were little!It’s a great pity you had to cancel things you were looking forward to singing as much as your fans were looking forward to hearing, but family has to come first and we all respect and admire you for the choices and sacrifices you made.I do hope that Zenaida is fully recovered now and I send her my love and best wishes, and to you and the children too. Keeping fingers crossed that you will be fit to sing Elijah, but totally understand if you’re not.

Helena Hauser January 27, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Thank you for giving explanation for your cancellation. Although I was looking forward to see you in LA NOzze, your la nozze obligations and wows to yoru wife and children are more important -reason for cacnellation justifable. Your family will be in my prayers

Christine Alm January 27, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Dear Simon
I’m a recent fan of yours and enjoy so much your performances, so far seen on DVD and listened to on CDs. Now learning about your misfortune and how you have handled it, my admiration for you is even greater. What a guy! What a father! I am glad that the world is really changing a little, bit by bit, when a man in the middle of his career gives priority to his children.
Sending you my strong wishes that you and your wife will soon get really well and have a good and happy life.
(from Sweden)

Lucia January 27, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Dear Simon,

All the best wishes for you and your family! Thank you for your dedication and your kindness.


Milena Goetschi January 27, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Dear Simon
I have a son and a daughter who are quite as old as yours and no grandparents to help out – so I can totally sympathize with you. And as a mother I know how awful it is to be sick while having to look after the children, so I am every time grateful when my husband comes home and I can finally take a rest. Well done of you! Family comes first.
Best wishes and good health – and I hope to hear you singing again in Zurich, which gives us always such a delight!

Antonio January 27, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Carissimo Simon,

what can I say? I appreciate you even more for being such a great Dad and husband. I wish you and your family all the best and thanks for taking the trouble to send us a message.


Nikki Braterman January 27, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Dear Simon,

My two children are about the same ages as yours and I really do sympathise with all of you. Life is really tough at times – and I have helpful parents to step in when there’s an emergency. On the other hand, toddlers learning to talk and small children holding forth on life, the universe and everything are all very entertaining. It’s just a shame it clashes with the singing!

Best wishes to you all, I hope you’re all back on form soon.

Jane January 27, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Dear Simon,
I am so sorry to hear about your wife and your own voice troubles. When we spoke to you after La Traviata we were talking about her being out of action for a while. I really hope she will be well again soon.
Now I cannot deny that I am indeed bitterly disappointed that you are not doing Le Nozze and possibly not the German Requiem or Elijah, all of which I had tickets for, but I am very relieved to hear that you will be well for Onegin, because I have even organised a visit to Munich especially to see you in that!! (That will be an adventure – I have never been there before!)
My very best wishes to you and your family (yes small children are indeed exhausting – been there, done that!! Very hard work, but a wonderful and precious time which passes all too quickly).
Kindest regards,
~ Jane Prowse

Jane August 3, 2011 at 7:42 am

Hello Simon,
You will probably never read this, but in case there is the faintest chance that you do…
…my very best wishes to you for your birthday today.
~ Jane

ANNA ROSA June 17, 2011 at 6:13 pm


SÁRKÁNY IZABELLA May 12, 2011 at 2:58 pm



Dear Simon!
Hard to believe that a man like you does not use a computer nowadays. If you’ll get this message I’d like to add that I would love to see you in the opera house in Budapest. It is very similar to the Staatsoper in Vienna.
Greetings Bella

Jane (Chastelaine) January 13, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Hello again Simon,
I bought the DVD of Hamlet just before Christmas, but didn’t have chance to watch it, what with one thing and another. Now I am halfway through watching it and wow, you are so wonderful! I have become a very keen fan in the last 12 months, and so I enjoy all your work immensely, but your portrayal of Hamlet is so intensely moving and your acting and singing so brilliant that I felt compelled to write and tell you.
I hope 2011 brings you much happiness and success.
~ Jane

Chastelaine November 2, 2010 at 11:10 am

Dear Simon,
I was fortunate enough to exchange a few words with you and get your autograph after the wonderful recital you gave with Julius Drake at the Temple Church on 22nd October. Thank you so much for that evening: it was a truly spellbinding one for me. As Anne (see above) says, it is difficult to express the profoundly moving effect that your voice has on me, regardless of what you are singing, but all I can say is that you manage to convey an enormous range and depth of passion and feeling when you sing – to put it simply, you have the most beautiful voice. By the way I was thrilled by your performance as Rigoletto in Cardiff in July. (You moved my husband to tears in the final scene!) Please don’t say that your work is irrelevant….far from it – you bring so many people such pleasure and delight. How could that ever be irrelevant in this life? Listening to you sing makes me feel so alive!
Oh and I just wanted to add that I love the fact that you have a great affinity with birds and animals – this adds another very appealing dimension to you and one with which I can strongly identify.

Rosamund Dallow-Smih July 23, 2010 at 11:15 am

Hello Simon, I’m a new fan- coming from a`ballet background I was blown away by hearing Caruso’s voice at 9-plus many others greats. began collecting opera recordings- and have listened and visited opera houses world wide,ever since. I live in Sydney- and worked for some years at the opera house. I’d heard about you, so was eager to see the “Hamlet” film-marvellous- your performance in particular, thrilling.What a lovely voice! I’d love to hear your Lieder- I cut my teeth on Gerard Souzay, then Fischer-Dieskau.Today,I saw the Don Carlo Royal opera film- knew the music but hadn’t seen a performance.Almost in tears at Rodrigo’s death-you are also a wonderful actor, can’t wait to hear you live! with warm regards to a very fine artist, Rosamund Dallow-Smith

Liam June 27, 2010 at 7:11 pm

BBC 3 In Tune having been featuring an opera alphabet at about 5.40 each evening with listeners’ e-mails an hour later. Today was ‘K’ for ‘King’. Bending this term to suit my own ends, how could I resist nominating my ‘King of Baritones’as any other than SK? And whose was the first e-mail quoted but the one from me?! Confessed that I have only discovered his voice 3 years ago since Tales of Opera disk. Now have so many cds dvds of his that,despite the illustrious status of a Grandma, can I be called a groupie? Yes says Sean Rafferty, adds comment SK has a fabulous voice. As well as his operas and recitals that I have attended,I have found the SK lieder cds have led me into a new world of subtle various ‘mini’ stories interpreted by SK with such sympathy and understanding – I play them in the car all the time. I live in Cardiff, so I will be seeing SK’s interpretation of Rigoletto at WNO, and, yes, I have booked to see all 3 performances — and the dress rehearsal! Aren’t I the lucky one!

Elizabeth Paciello June 2, 2010 at 10:03 pm

BBC 3 In Tune having been featuring an opera alphabet at about 5.40 each evening with listeners’ e-mails an hour later. Today was ‘K’ for ‘King’. Bending this term to suit my own ends, how could I resist nominating my ‘King of Baritones’as any other than SK? And whose was the first e-mail quoted but the one from me?! Confessed that I have only discovered his voice 3 years ago since Tales of Opera disk. Now have so many cds dvds of his that,despite the illustrious status of a Grandma, can I be called a groupie? Yes says Sean Rafferty, adds comment SK has a fabulous voice. As well as his operas and recitals that I have attended,I have found the SK lieder cds have led me into a new world of subtle various ‘mini’ stories interpreted by SK with such sympathy and understanding – I play them in the car all the time. I live in Cardiff, so I will be seeing SK’s interpretation of Rigoletto at WNO, and, yes, I have booked to see all 3 performances — and the dress rehearsal! Aren’t I the lucky one!

asperias May 10, 2010 at 7:29 pm

this is such a great web. I am so glad I have found it.

Ann Lander March 31, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Dear Simon,
Sorry to disagree but I don’t find what you do irrelevant. I find listening to great singing therapeutic. It soothes me, comforts me and lots of times really cheers me up.

I do go to live performances but not as many as I’d like. But five days a week I walk the three miles to work and the three miles home again and listen to songs and opera on my mp3 player. I know the idea of listening to any classical music on an mp3 player gives the purists the vapours but I don’t care. I get 80 minutes of exercise & 80 minutes of listening pleasure each working day.

My choice varies with my mood of course. Sometimes it’s a Roméo et Juliette sort of day, sometimes Schubert songs and today it’s been La bohème (to be continued tomorrow morning).

It’s so difficult to explain something which touches you on an emotional level and I just wish I could describe properly the joy your voice brings to me. But what I can say is thank you Simon for giving me so much pleasure.

Alison Ames March 23, 2010 at 12:19 am

Dear Simon,
my sister and i much enjoyed your talk this evening with Brian Kellow. I understand that a singing zoologist wouldn’t have much truck with the web, but it’s good for the rest of us because it offers things like this, your site. Looking forward to Hamlet (your final perf in NYC this season), esp after your talk about it. Bravo

Wish i’d heard you as a chorister: a half-century ago I lived in Farnham, Surrey, attending church where (at the same time) Jeffrey Tate was (I later learned) a chorister. We’re the same age – you’re not! Carry on!

Leave a Comment