Baritone Simon Keenlyside was born in London. He made his opera debut in 1987 as Count Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro) at the Hamburg State Opera. He now performs in the world’s major opera houses, including the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, La Scala Milan, the Metropolitan Opera New York, the Vienna State Opera, the Bavarian State Opera as well as in Zurich, Geneva, Barcelona, Madrid, Brussels, San Francisco, Sydney and Tokyo. He has sung a great variety of roles, including Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Count Almaviva, Guglielmo, Figaro and Papageno, Orestes (Iphigénie en Tauride), Dandini (La Cenerentola), Belcore (L’elisir d’amore), Germont (La traviata), Posa (Don Carlos), Ford (Falstaff), Marcello (La bohème), Wolfram (Tannhäuser), Valentin (Faust), Yeletsky (The Queen of Spades), Pelléas (Pelléas et Mélisande), Olivier (Capriccio) and the title roles in L’Orfeo, Macbeth, Eugene Onegin, Hamlet, Wozzeck and Billy Budd. At the Salzburg Festival he sang Guglielmo in 2000 and Papageno in 2002. Future engagements include returns to the Vienna State Opera (Posa, Renato in Un ballo in maschera, Rigoletto and Wozzeck), to the Royal Opera House (Germont, Macbeth and Count Almaviva) and to the Bavarian State Opera (Eugene Onegin, Count Almaviva and Wozzeck).
For his interpretation of Billy Budd at the English National Opera and of Winston in Lorin Maazel’s opera 1984 at the Royal Opera House Simon Keenlyside received the Olivier Award (Outstanding Achievement in Opera) in 2006. In 2007 he was awarded the ECHO Klassik award for male Singer of the Year and in 2011 he was honoured with Musical America’s Vocalist of the Year Award.
Simon Keenlyside enjoys extensive concert work and works together with the most renowned international conductors and orchestras. He is also much in demand throughout the world as a recitalist.
Besides four CDs of Lieder accompanied by Malcolm Martineau and a Schumann album recorded with Graham Johnson, his discography includes Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, Don Giovanni (title role) conducted by Claudio Abbado, Carmina burana conducted by Christian Thielemann, La bohème (Marcello) under Riccardo Chailly, Billy Budd (title role) under Richard Hickox, Die Zauberflöte (Papageno) conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras and Le nozze di Figaro (Count Almaviva) conducted by René Jacobs. A CD of arias won a Gramophone Award (Best Recital) in 2007. He has also recorded an operetta album together with Angelika Kirchschlager.
Simon Keenlyside was made a Commander of the British Empire in 2003.