Obituary: Bass-Baritone Keel Watson Dies at 59

By Francisco Salazar

British Bass-baritone Keel Watson has died at the age of 59.

In a statement, Steven Swales Artist Management said, “It is with enormous sadness that we announce the sudden death of Keel Watson. It was a huge privilege to work with him and call him a friend. Keel’s magnificent voice was admired by so many, as was his sharp wit and generosity as a performer. Only recently he completed acclaimed performances in genres as diverse as Wagner and Gilbert and Sullivan. We send our thoughts to his family and those who knew and loved him.”

Watson studied singing with Elizabeth Hawes and trombone with Roger Brenner at Trinity College of Music. He made his Royal Opera debut in 2000 and went to sing with Opera Holland Park, the Welsh National Opera, the English National Opera, the Regents Opera, and the Scottish Opera.

Outside of the U.K., he performed with the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, Bregenz Festival, Greek National Opera, Opéra de Lyon, Teatro Massimo di Palermo, Casa da Música, Porto, and Angers Nantes Opéra, among others.

His immense repertoire included the works of Wagner, Verdi, Bellini, Cilea, Bizet, Mozart, Berg, and Beethoven. He was featured in the recording and film of Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation “The Magic Flute.” He was also featured in an animated version of The Cunning Little Vixen.