Tribute to Keel Watson (1964-2023)

Pegasus Opera is heartbroken at the passing of Keel Watson. Keel was instrumental in our inaugural concerts and operas, including performing a stellar Falstaff for us in 1997. Keel was a friend of Pegasus Opera from the beginning. He also served as a mentor in every year of our Mentorship Programme, including this year.

Alison Buchanan – Artistic Director 

“After our founder passed away in 2016, Keel joined me for my first concert as Artistic Director. I will miss Keel’s candour and his support, in our lengthy chats he would give me sage advice about all things Pegasus, jarringly honest at times but always on point. I loved his vulnerability, ability to be open about his own challenges, his mindset, his tremendous and at times impish humour….and what a voice! All these things made him the great artist that he was. In recent times I am grateful to have considered myself a friend, being one of the voices of encouragement for him and celebrating with him in recent triumphs, professionally and personally.

Rest In Power dear Keel!

Pegasus will be paying a tribute to Keel as part of our Pegasus Caribbean Christmas Concert on Thursday 21st December @ 7.00pm at St John the Divine Church (92 Vassall Rd, London SW9 6JA). Pegasus are inviting any singers who are available to come and join us in a rousing chorus of ‘Oh Lawd l’m on my way’ (contact us on for more info).”

Melvin Claridge – Talent Director 

“In addition to being a wonderful singer, Keel was a wonderful man. It was an honour to have known him and to have worked with him on a number of occasions. He was an inspiration to me and was a wise guide. Keel and I had the same singing teacher in the 90s, so we knew each other before we sang together. I first met Keel at a production we did together at Opera Holland Park. He was such a joy to work with. He was “the star”, and I was the chorus boy, and he took me under his wing. We had some good laughs. One of the highlights of my career was onstage in Lisbon, listening (when I should have been singing along) to Keel’s wonderful “Oh Lawd, I’m on my way, I’m on my way to a Heavenly Lan’”. Keel, you’ve arrived! Rest in peace. Condolences to Keel’s children, and his family.”

Masimba Ushe – bass, and Keel’s most recent mentee 

“I first met Keel on a train late one evening. He was on his way home after a performance. We were sitting in the same carriage, I recognised him and went to speak to him. A general chat about singing and performance turned into an impromptu lesson when Keel asked me to sing part of an aria for him outside the station. His willingness to help me and to make the most out of every teaching opportunity was truly inspirational. His advice and encouragement really helped me on my journey as a singer.

I had more lessons with him through the Pegasus Mentoring Programme. He was a straight to the point, no nonsense teacher and his confidence helped me to find the confidence within myself. He inspired me to really put my all into my work and helped me to understand what it really means to be a performer. His enthusiasm for singing and teaching was infectious and made me want to dive deeper and understand more.

The warmth and passion exhibited by Keel, was a privilege to experience. His honesty and passion in his teaching was truly something amazing to have experienced, and for that I am truly grateful.”