New Zealander, Simon O’Neill is one of the finest helden-tenors on the international stage. He has frequently performed with the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Berlin, Hamburg Vienna and Bayerische Staatsopern, Teatro alla Scala and the Bayreuth, Salzburg, Edinburgh and BBC Proms Festivals, appearing with a number of illustrious conductors including Daniel Barenboim, Sir Simon Rattle, James Levine, Riccardo Muti, Valery Gergiev, Sir Antonio Pappano, Pierre Boulez, Sir Mark Elder, Sir Colin Davis, Edo de Waart, Fabio Luisi, Donald Runnicles, Sir Simon Rattle, Christian Thielemann, Jaap van Zweden, Daniel Harding, Simone Young, Andris Nelsons, Pietari Inkinen, Esa Pekka Salonen and Gustavo Dudamel.
Simon’s performances as Siegmund in Die Walküre at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden with Pappano, Teatro alla Scala and Berlin Staatsoper with Barenboim, at the Metropolitan Opera with Runnicles in the celebrated Otto Schenk production returning with Luisi in the Lepage Ring Cycle and in the Götz Friedrich production at Deutsche Oper Berlin with 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".
This season Simon makes his debut at Opera National de Paris and returns to the the Bayerische Staatsoper as the title role in Parsifal with Young, Siegmund in Die Walküre for Oper Leipzig, the title role in Tristan und Isolde at Santa Fe Opera and Gaffigan, Florestan in Fidelio with the Sydney Symphony with Young, Boris in Katya Kabanova with the London Symphony Orchestra and Siegfried in concert with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunk both with Rattle and then with Sinfonieorchester Basel and Elder.
Notable debuts have included; the Royal Opera House (2005) Jenik in The Bartered Bride with Mackerras, the Salzburg Festival (2005) in Die Zauberflöte with Muti, the Metropolitan Opera (2006) as the Gran Sacerdote in Idomeneo with Levine, Opera Australia (2009) as Sergei in Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk with Armstrong, Siegmund in Die Walküre at Teatro alla Scala (2010), the Staatsoper unter den Linden, Berlin with Barenboim and the Bayerische Staatsoper with Nagano (2013), Chairman Mao in Nixon in China with Renes with the San Francisco Opera (2012), and the Wiener Staatsoper (2012) in the title role of Parsifal with Thielemann.
Simon made his Bayreuth Festival debut in the title of Lohengrin in the new Hans Neuenfels production with Andris Nelsons and returned as Parsifal in the celebrated Stefan Herheim production with Daniele Gatti.
Notable engagements have included opening La Scala's season as Siegmund in Die Walküre with Barenboim and with the Wiener Staatsoper with Welser-Möst. He returned as Siegmund in the celebrated Keith Warner Royal Opera House, Covent Garden Ring Cycle where he also performed; Lohengrin, Fidelio, Stolzing in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and the title role of Parsifal. He made his debut with the Hallé Orchestra in the title role of Wagner’s Siegfried in concert with Sir Mark Elder at the Edinburgh Festival and with Jaap van Zweden with the Hong Kong Philharmonic - both these performances have been released on CD. He made his debut as Der Kaiser in Die Frau ohne Schatten at the Berlin Staatsoper with Simone Young and as the Tambourmajor in Wozzeck with Levine at the Metropolitan Opera.
At extremely short notice Simon made his role debut in the title role of Verdi’s Otello in concert at the Barbican with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Colin Davis (2009). His performance was widely acclaimed by critics, who described his musical and dramatic portrayal of the infamous protagonist as “thrilling”, “a triumph”, “an immense performance” “a tremendous debut in the title-role, giving notice that he is the best heroic tenor to emerge over the last decade.” He has gone on to perform the role on stage in Houston, Boston, Auckland and Sydney.
Simon has appeared in many of the world’s leading concert halls including Carnegie Hall for Das Lied von der Erde with James Levine and The Met Orchestra and Missa Solemnis with the Boston Symphony, Florestan in Fidelio at both the Salzburg Festival and BBC Proms with Barenboim and with the National Symphony Orchestra and Eschenbach at the Kennedy Center.
Simon became an Officer of New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours list, he is an alumnus and holds a Doctor of Music (Honoris Causa) from Victoria University of Wellington and is an alumnus of the University of Otago, the Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard Opera Center. He is a Fulbright Scholar, was awarded the 2005 Arts Laureate of New Zealand and was a grand finalist in the 2002 Metropolitan Opera National Auditions returning as guest artist in 2007. He also appears on the 1998 New Zealand one-dollar performing arts postage stamp.