Famed bass-baritone signs off at 84

Famed bass-baritone signs off at 84


norman lebrecht

June 17, 2022

The splendid Simon Estes will leave the stage for the last time next month with a Porgy and Bess at Des Moines Metro Opera, in Iowa.

But he won’t be singing Porgy. Just the lawyer Frazier.

And he will continue teaching as a professor at Iowa State University and Des Moines Area Community College.

What’s 84 these days? Ask Domingo.


  • Siggy says:

    Domingo is *only* 81, so what would he know?

  • Dave says:

    Remember doing the third act of Die Walkure with him at the Proms when playing with the NYO in 1990. He was Wotan and when he started singing there was an audible gasp amongst my fellow musicians. It was the most incredible sound. About 120 people fell in love with him that day. Brilliant man.

  • Amos says:

    The picture reminds me how old I am. I remember a time when Simon Estes was opera’s answer to Sidney Poitier. Superb artist.

  • Sportinglife says:

    Just FYI the role of lawyer Frazier is not a singing role, but a spoken one.

  • Nick2 says:

    I well remember his wondrously rich voice when he was an excellent Sarastro in Scottish Opera’s Magic Flute in 1971. I believe this was his British debut and long before he was recognised in his native United States.

  • Renata says:

    I could see him in Bayreuth. Also in Washington DC as Wotan. Artists like him are rare.

  • ThrownOutOfTheKremlinForSinging says:

    What a terrific singer. One of the very few who could share a stage with Matti Salminen and not be dominated by him.


  • David Calhoun says:

    I played a Haydn Creation with Simon and Kathleen Battle with Musica Sacra at Lincoln Center way back when she was just starting out. Still the most magical musical evening of my long career.