Portrait of Simon Couzens holding a bassoon

Simon Couzens


When did you join the orchestra?
I joined the orchestra full-time in 1997.

Favourite ENO opera?
I have relished the long-term opportunity to immerse myself in numerous operas, including Richard Wagner’s ‘Ring Cycle‘, Tristan and Isolde, and “The Flying Dutchman”. Sadly, I wasn’t rotaed to play in Richard Jones’s fabulous production of “The Meistersingers”; but I came to see it three times, instead!

Best ENO moment?
I had the unforgettable experience of playing at the Millennium Dome (now “The O2”) on the night of the Millennium, in the presence of the Queen, and many other famous audience members.

How did you start?
When I was young, my family brought me to operas at the (then) Sadler’s Wells Opera; and encouraged me to learn bassoon and piano. In the 1970s, my boys’ secondary school in Brighton regularly took me to ENO operas at the London Coliseum. Trips to ENO were highly popular, not least because all of the boys were allowed the first hour off school the next morning, to make up for lost sleep! From my back row seat in the Balcony, I listened and watched intently; and I dreamed that one day the faraway Orchestra Pit, a cable car’s ride downwards, might become my home.

Passion outside of opera?
The United Kingdom remaining part of the European Union.

Last updated: 2nd October 2023