Simon O'Neill


A native of New Zealand, the tenor Simon O’Neill was born in 1971 and received his training at the University of Otago, Victoria University of Wellington, the Manhattan School of Music, and the Juilliard Opera Center in New York. He gained his first practical experience at San Francisco Opera’s opera studio, the Merola Opera Program, after which followed major debuts. In 2005 O’Neill made his first appearances at the Royal Opera House in London as Jenik in Smetana’s The Bartered Bride under Charles Mackerras and at the Salzburg Festival as the First Armored Man in Die Zauberflöte (conducted by Riccardo Muti); in 2006 came his Metropolitan Opera debut, where he took part in Mozart’s Idomeneo under James Levine. O’Neill is an especially sought-after Wagner singer. He has appeared as Siegmund in Die Walküre in London, Berlin, Munich, and Vienna, as well as at La Scala in Milan and the Met, and he has performed Lohengrin and Parsifal at the Bayreuth Festival and Stolzing at the Royal Opera House. In the 2013-14 season, O’Neill made his role debut as Siegfried in Götterdämmerung at Houston Grand Opera. O’Neill is meanwhile also dedicated to other composers and to the Italian repertoire: Verdi’s Otello, Puccini’s Cavaradossi (Tosca), and Beethoven’s Florestan (Fidelio) are important credits, as are the Drum Major in Berg’s Wozzeck and Mao Tse-Tung in John Adams’ s Nixon in China. O’Neill has worked with such conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Colin Davis, Valery Gergiev, Andris Nelsons, Antonio Pappano, and Donald Runnicles. As a concert singer he has performed in such works as Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde and Eighth Symphony, Janácek’s Glagolitic Mass, and Schoenberg’s Gurre-Lieder.

February 2014