He is the best heroic tenor to emerge over the last decade”         The Telegraph, London.

Simon O’Neill has rapidly established himself as one of the finest young helden-tenors on the international stage. A native of New Zealand, he is a principal artist with the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the Salzburg Festival, appearing with a number of illustrious conductors including James Levine, Riccardo Muti, Valery Gergiev, Antonio Pappano, Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Sir Charles Mackerras, Daniele Gatti, Edo de Waart, Donald Runnicles and Pietari Inkinen.


Simon O'Neill's performances as Siegmund (in the new Ring Cycle at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden with Pappano and at the Metropolitan Opera with Runnicles) were performed to wide critical acclaim. He was described in the international press as "the star", "an exemplary Siegmund, terrific of voice", "THE Wagnerian tenor of his generation" and "a turbo-charged tenor".  


Notable debuts have included New York’s Metropolitan Opera as the Gran Sacerdote in Idomeneo with James Levine, the Royal Opera House as Jenik in The Bartered Bride with Sir Charles Mackerras, the Salzburg Festival in Die Zauberflöte with Riccardo Muti and Australian Opera as Sergei in Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk with Sir Richard Armstrong.  A consummate musician, both a pianist and tuba player his operatic highlights include the title role of Lohengrin and Florestan in Fidelio at the Royal Opera House, Metropolitan Opera tour of Japan with Die Walküre, Mao in John Adams Nixon in China with Minnesota Opera, Mitch in Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire at Theater an der Wien and Dmitri in Boris Godunov with New Zealand Opera. 


Simon has appeared in many of the world’s leading concert halls including Florestan in Fidelio at the Salzburg Festival and BBC Proms with Barenboim, the title role of Otello at The Barbican with Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra, Caesar in Barber's Antony and Cleopatra at Carnegie Hall, the Glagolitic Mass with Boulez in the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony for the reopening of London’s Royal Festival Hall, the Beethovenhalle with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie and with Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.  Simon also performed the title role of Parsifal with Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra at the 2005 New Zealand International Festival. Recently Simon had the honour of touring Europe with Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra performing Act One Die Walküre. 


This season Simon performs the title role in Lohengrin at Houston Grand Opera, Max in Der Freischütz at Theater an der Wien, Parsifal in Valencia, Janacek's Glagolitic Mass in Tokyo with Dutoit, Mahler’s Eighth Symphony in Sydney and Wellington with Ashkenazy, Das Lied von der Erde with the Seoul Philharmonic and with Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and Pappano and the international launch of his EMI Wagner Scenes and Arias CD (Lohengrin, Parsifal and The Ring), a Gala concert with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

At extremely short notice Simon made his debut in the title role of Verdi’s Otello in concert with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Colin Davis. His performance was hailed unanimously by critics, who describe 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.”

Simon will open the La Scala season with Die Walküre in 2010 and Boris Godunov with Barenboim in 2012. Other exciting upcoming engagements include Das Lied von der Erde at Carnegie Hall with James Levine the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, his first performances of Siegfried in Götterdämmerung in La Coruna, Parsifal at the Royal Opera House, The Metropolitan Opera, Vienna and the Bayreuth Festival, Samson in Samson et Delilah at the Concertgebouw, Cavaradossi in Tosca at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and at Hamburg State Opera and Walter von Stolzing in Die Meistersinger at Covent Garden. He will also perform Fidelio and Otello in Houston, Nixon in China with San Francisco Opera and and returns to Siegmund in Die Walküre at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Houston Grand Opera and the Vienna, Munich, Hamburg and Berlin State Operas.


Simon O’Neill is a graduate of the University of Otago, Victoria University of Wellington, the Manhattan School of Music and studied at the Juilliard Opera Center. A Fulbright Scholar he was awarded the 2005 Arts Laureate of New Zealand and 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.

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