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2009.06.01 SWR2 interview

SWR2: personal: Simon Keenlyside

Alfred Marquart talks with the Baritone

Translated by Petra Habeth

Both of his parents played the violin – the London-born Simon Keenlyside thus comes out of a family of musicians. When other children heard nursery rhymes, he later said “I heard Haydn, Schubert, Bach”. He learned the Violin too, but didn’t take it so seriously from the beginning for anything to have developed. But it taught him the basis of music which was later very useful to him as a singer. His stage debut was the count Almaviva in “The Marriage of Figaro” in Hamburg. Every time he sang that part he had a different Countess at his side, he recognised her only from the costume. He says that he generally only saw the conductor in the evening. Ironically and sometimes even cynically, he talks about his profession but every word shows how much he loves it. And he never forgets to add what the time as a repertory singer in a repertory theatre provided for him. In addition he learned an excellent accent-free German – and came very, very close to the world of German Lied singing. Currently he is broadening his repertoire, carefully testing the limits of his voice. He knows that he might never get around to his wish-list of Scarpia and Iago, but in the meantime he has sung Posa, has made a highly acclaimed Wozzeck in Paris (the director of the Parisian opera house Mortier even calls it a reference performance). He has succeeded as Onegin in Vienna and is dabbling now with Macbeth. Thereby he remained loveable, witty (very British) and modest. He has no reason for the last.

This two hour interview with Simon broadcast on German radio station SWR 2 can be ordered on two CDs for approximately EUR 19, details can be found by clicking the link below:

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