It was Simon Keenlyside himself who told Michael Cooper of the New York Times, “I felt a tick, and I knew it had gone” when recounting the night in Vienna, where he had to leave mid-opera. (I reported the event here.) It was thereafter that the British baritone underwent intense thyroid surgery, which the singer recalled as ‘a bad job.’ Just under two years later, he is – now – back on New York’s Metropolitan stage to perform one of his favourite opera roles, Don Giovanni.
His much-anticipated performance for many of his fans, including myself, was a simulcast, broadcasted to all around the globe. It is not the first time Keenlyside has had to sing as the Don in Michael Grandage’s dark and, often considered, lifeless staging.
Set in Spain in the early 18th century, a first-class cast including Hibla Gerzmava, Malin Byström, Serena Malfi, Adam Plachetka, Paul Appleby and Matthew Rose, gave way to a musically hypnotising and exciting work of scandalous drama – betrayal, deceit, and revenge. And let’s not forget – there’s plenty of womanizing from Giovanni.