Simon O’Neill

O'Neill, Simon

O’Neill was born in Ashburton, New Zealand, and received his musical training at the University of OtagoVictoria University of Wellington, graduating with an honours degree in music, before receiving scholarships to the Manhattan School of Music (where he earned a Master of Music degree in 2000) and the Juilliard Opera Center. In late 2016 he was awarded Doctor of Music (Honoris Causa) from Victoria University of Wellington.[1] O’Neill was appointed Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

While studying at the Juilliard Opera Center, he sang the title role in Idomeneo, Sam Polk in Susannah, and Chevalier de la Force in Dialogues of the Carmelites under the baton of Julius Rudel. Subsequently, at San Francisco’s Merola Opera Program,[2] he performed Rodolfo in La bohème as well as the title role in La clemenza di Tito with Wolf Trap Opera.[3] In 2004, O’Neill was the subject of a TVNZBBC documentary The Understudy[4] about his contract at the Metropolitan Opera to cover Siegmund for Plácido Domingo in the Met’s Otto Schenk production of Die Walküre.[5]

O’Neill made his Metropolitan Opera debut as the Gran Sacerdote in Mozart’s Idomeneo with James Levine, his Royal Opera House debut as Jenik in Smetana‘s The Bartered Bride [6] with Sir Charles Mackerras followed by Florestan (Fidelio) with Antonio Pappano and Salzburg Festival in Die Zauberflöte with Riccardo Muti and his Vienna Staatsoper debut as the title role in Parsifal with Christian Thielemann.

He performed the role of Siegmund in Richard Wagner‘s Die Walküre [7] at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, with Sir Antonio PappanoTeatro alla Scala and Berlin Staatsoper with Daniel BarenboimVienna Staatsoper with Franz Welser-MöstBayerische Staatsoper with Kent NaganoHamburgische Staatsoper with Simone Young, the Deutsche Oper [8] and the Metropolitan Opera with Donald Runnicles and in the 2013 Otto Schenk Ring production and in the Robert Lepage production with Fabio Luisi.[9]

He made his 2009 debut in the title role of Verdi’s Otello [10] with Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra and in 2010 he debuted at the Bayreuth Festival in the title role of “Lohengrin“,[11] returning in the title role of Parsifal in 2011. The same year, O’Neill made his role debut as Walter von Stolzing in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at Covent Garden.

His performances have included; the title roles of Parsifal,[12] Lohengrin at the Royal Opera House with Sir Antonio PappanoOtello and Lohengrin at Houston Grand Opera, the title role in Verdi’s Otello and Sergei in his Opera Australia debut in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Florestan with Daniel Barenboim at the BBC Proms[13] with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and made his Carnegie Hall debut as Caesar in Samuel Barber‘s Antony and Cleopatra for New York City Opera, returning with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and James Levine for Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde and sang in Beethoven’s Missa solemnis with the Boston Symphony.

O’Neill is the patron of the New Zealand Association of Teachers of Singing (Newzats),[14] the New Zealand Singing School,[15] New Zealand Opera Circle 100, the New Zealand Brass Foundation,[16] the Auckland Boys’ Choir, the Ashburton MSA Choir, the Christchurch City Choir and the UK Singingworks.[17] He appears on the 1998 New Zealand one-dollar performing arts postage stamp.

In the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours, O’Neill was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to opera.[18]

Albums Featuring this Artist