Regarded as one of the finest heldentenors of his generation, Simon O’Neill’s career has led him to the worlds great opera houses and concert halls. His performances as Siegmund in Die Walküre at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden with Sir Antonio Pappano, Teatro alla Scala and Berlin Staatsoper with Daniel Barenboim, at the Metropolitan Opera with Donald Runnicles in the celebrated Otto Schenk production returning with Fabio Luisi in the Lepage Ring Cycle and in the Götz Friedrich production at Deutsche Oper Berlin with Sir Simon Rattle were performed to wide critical acclaim. He was described in the international press as “an exemplary Siegmund, terrific of voice”, “THE Wagnerian tenor of his generation” and “a turbo-charged tenor”.
Notable operatic debuts have included; the Royal Opera House as Jenik in The Bartered Bride with Sir Charles Mackerras, the Salzburg Festival in Die Zauberflöte with Riccardo Muti, the Metropolitan Opera as the Gran Sacerdote in Idomeneo with James Levine, Opera Australia as Sergei in Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk with Sir Richard Armstrong, Teatro alla Scala as Siegmund in Die Walküre with Barenboim, the title role of Otello with the London Symphony Orchestra with Sir Colin Davis, the Bayreuth Festival in the title roles of Lohengrin with Andris Nelsons and Parsifal with Danielle Gatti and the Vienna Staatsoper in the title role of Parsifal with Christian Thielemann.
Other significant engagements have included; Parsifal, Die Walküre, Lohengrin, Fidelio and Die Meistersinger at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Die Walküre and Wozzeck at the Metropolitan Opera and the Berlin, Vienna, Munich and Hamburg Staatsoper, Nixon in China with San Francisco Opera, Tosca in Berlin, Hamburg and Tokyo, the Missa Solemnis and Das Lied von der Erde at Carnegie Hall, Gurrelieder at the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh International Festival and Fidelio in concert at the Salzburg Festival and the BBC Proms.
Simon performs throughout New Zealand whenever his international schedule allows, most recent; the title role of Otello and Mao in Nixon in China with the Auckland Philharmonia, Cavaradossi in the New Zealand Opera production of Tosca and Beethoven’s Symphony No.9, Mahler’s Symphony No.8, Die Walküre and scenes from Siegfried and Götterdämmerung in concert the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Simon’s Wagnerian career began with the title role of Parsifal in a production alongside his teacher and mentor, Sir Donald McIntyre with the NZSO under the leadership of Professor Peter Walls.
His discography includes his debut solo award winning album with the NZSO and Inkinen for EMI; Father and Son, Wagner Scenes and Arias, the title role of Parsifal at Covent Garden with Pappano, Die Walküre at Teatro alla Scala with Barenboim, Die Zauberflöte for the Salzburg Festival Mozart 25 with Muti; all on Bluray and DVD, Otello with Davis with the LSO and Mahler’s Symphony No.8 with Ashkenazy and the Sydney Symphony. He recently recorded a CD of German Song with Professor Terence Dennis, which will soon be released.
Born in 1971, Simon grew up in Ashburton and is an alumnus of the University of Otago, Victoria University of Wellington, the Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard Opera Center. In 1998 Simon was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in New York followed by the 2005 Arts Laureate of New Zealand and in 2016 an Honorary Doctorate from Victoria University of Wellington. Simon and his wife, Carmel are heavily involved with the development and support of young singers and musicians throughout New Zealand, Australia and the United States. Simon lives in London and Auckland with Carmel, and their three children.