2019-06, ROH London, Nozze di Figaro

Le Nozze di Figaro


Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Librettist: Lorenzo da Ponte

Venue and Dates: Royal Opera House, London
June 29, July 01, 04, 06, 09, 12, 17, 19, 21

Conductor: John Eliot Gardiner
Director: David McVicar
Designer: Tanya McCallin
Lighting: Paule Constable
Movement Director: Leah Hausman


Count Almaviva: Simon Keenlyside
Countess Almaviva: Julia Kleiter
Figaro: Christian Gerhaher
Cherubino:  Kangmin Justin Kim
Susanna: Joélle Harvey
Bartolo: Maurizio Muraro
Diana Montague
Jean-Paul Fouchécourt
Don Curzio:
Alasdair Elliott


The 09 July performance will be broadcast live to BP Big Screens across the UK – click here for details 

The 09 July performance will also be live-streamed on Facebook, YouTube and OperaVision – click here for more information

The 12 July performance will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Saturday 28 September at 18.30 hrs. It will be available to listen to for 30 days after the broadcast.


Photo Gallery


Sound bites

culturewhisper.com, 30.06.19, Claudia Pritchard

4 stars

“…With more breeding than brains, baritone Simon Keenlyside’s Count Almaviva flails in a state of bewilderment, constantly outwitted – and occasionally drowned out by the banter and the band. There is a touch of the Bullingdon Club about this Count, in a production with sumptuous 19th century designs by Tanya McCallin….”

PlanetHugill, 01.07.19, Robert Hugill

4.5 stars

“…Simon Keenlyside’s Count was something of a stickler, yet taking his own desires for granted, giving rise to anger when frustrated, rather than being a natural bully. There was something comic and sympathetic about the way his obsessiveness led him to be constantly frustrated….”

The Telegraph, 01.07.19, Ivan Hewett   (registration required)

4 stars

“…By contrast Simon Keenlyside as Count Almaviva is a swaggering boor who tosses his freshly-killed brace of pheasants on the Countess’s bed, and rages impotently while the comedy swirls around him. The only thing that’s refined about him is his singing….”

The Stage, 01.07.19, George Hall

“… Simon Keenlyside returns as a Count of unusual detail and comprehensiveness, memorable in his every thought-through gesture…”

The Times, 01.07.19, Geoff Brown      (fee payable)

4 stars

“…Hard on his heels came Simon Keenlyside, back in his old part as the roving Count Almaviva, exuding rampant physicality, voice sturdy as an ox. He’s magnetism on the march….”

Bachtrack, 02.07.19, Mark Valencia

3 stars

“…The production’s third knight, Sir Simon Keenlyside, cut a suitably aristocratic figure in Almaviva’s brocade housecoat and inhabited the conflicted Count with greater clarity than anyone else I’ve seen in this production. His interpretation favoured the shoulder with the devil on it, hence he spent most of the evening in blood-vessel-bursting mode, but it always felt psychologically truthful and even his baleful “Hai già vinta la causa” allowed for a grain of sympathy….”

classicalsource.com, 29.06.19, Peter Reed

3 stars

“…Simon Keenlyside is a Count of long experience and very skilful at expressing the minutiae of the role’s splenetic entitlement, compromised authority and rampant eroticism; his voice is powerful, agile and finely coloured. Also, in this battle of the baritones, here the master often seems younger and more focussed than his servant, and Keenlyside (older than Gerhaher in fact) makes the Count’s Act Three solo a big moment of truth…..”

The Guardian, 02.07.19, Martin Kettle

4 stars

“…Simon Keenlyside’s Count acts everyone else off the stage, and can still sing most people off it, too….”

theupcoming.co.uk, 02.07.19, Mersa Auda

(there is a production photo gallery at the end of this review)

“….Simon Keenlyside, who plays the Count, captures the nuances of the character’s duality as he moves back and forth from deceiver to deceived. …”

The Spectator, 06.07.19, Alexandra Coghlan

“….Wearing the role as lightly as the Count’s billowing brocade housecoat, Keenlyside sings it with craggy magnificence. Even Act Three’s demanding ‘Vedro mentr’io sospiro’ feels easy, though it’s an ease he translates into character rather than beauty. . …”

London Evening Standard, 04.07.19, Barry Millington

4 stars

“….Keenlyside’s Count is a far cry from the imperious patrician of tradition. Rather he paces the stage restlessly, his emotional agitation never far from the surface. He’s aware of his status too, though, and displays an angry determination as he sees his droit de seigneur privileges slipping away. In both vocal command and dramatic conviction this was a fine performance by Keenlyside…..”

Express, 07.07.19

4 stars

“…Of the other cast members, Simon Keenlyside stood out as an exceptionally fine Almaviva….”

Sunday Times, 07.07.19, Hugh Canning    (fee payable)

“…The busy David McVicar Figaro has settled in nicely at the ROH, a vehicle for multiple cast changes, including, surprisingly, Simon Keenlyside as a comical, self-deprecating, vocally slightly greying, Count Almaviva, which he last sang here as long ago as 1995….”

MusicOMH, 08.07.19, Melanie Eskenazi

3 stars

“…No shortage of verve from Simon Keenlyside’s Count; he last sang the role here in 1995, and although the voice has slightly worn, the stage presence and commitment are as remarkable as ever….”

Seen and Heard International, 01.07.19, Colin Clarke

“….And of our Count……… Magisterial in both acting and in vocal terms – beauty of sound, diction, characterisation – this was Keenlyside, always a fine singer, at the very top of his game….”

Plays to See, 30.06.18, Shadi Seifouri

“….Returning to the role nearly a quarter-century on, Simon Keenlyside’s Count Almaviva was matched with an appropriately seedy delivery. Channelling the dictatorial demeanour of a Victorian schoolmaster — complete with up-turned collar, Keenlyside’s sycophantic Count was at his most threatening in the Act III interrogation scene. Determined to bring to light his wife’s supposed deceit, Keenlyside’s stage presence was at its most anxiety-inducing during the trio “Susanna, or via, sortite”….”

Opera magazine, September 2019, Hugh Canning

(subscription required)

“…Simon Keenlyside sang and played the Count athletically and amusingly. Even if his voice sounded a tad parched and he hectored unduly, it was good to see him again in one of his signature roles for the first time in the McVicar production and, astonishingly, the first time in 24 years at Covent Garden…..”

“Specs” blog, 11.08.19, Adrian

“…Keenlyside’s vocal abilities are immense: but his supreme skill at singing the way he does while nailing such a varied and complex arsenal of physical gestures and movements … at times I wonder if his particularly combustible combination of these talents is unique. His hyperactive characterisation – where he can be crooning sweet nothings in one direction while frantically gesturing annoyance in another, like a man possessed – made him almost impossible to tear your eyes away from….”

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