Tenor

Simon O’Neill

Introduction

Described as “THE Wagnerian tenor of his generation”, Simon O’Neill appears at the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Teatro alla Scala, Deutsche Staatsoper and Deutsche Oper, and the Bayreuth, Ravinia and Salzburg festivals, with Levine, Muti, Rattle, Gergiev, Hengelbrock, Runnicles, Conlon, Pappano, Thielemann and Barenboim. He performed Siegmund, Stolzing, Lohengrin, Florestan and Parsifal (Covent Garden), Lohengrin (Bayreuth), Parsifal (Vienna, Madrid, Covent Garden), Siegmund, (Metropolitan Opera, Hamburg, La Scala, Berlin, Vienna, Munich), Cavaradossi (Hamburg, Tokyo, Berlin), Florestan (Salzburg Festival), Tambourmajor Wozzeck (Metropolitan Opera), Max Der Freischutz (LSO), Gurrelieder (BBC Proms), Mao Nixon in China (San Francisco), Otello (New Zealand Opera, Houston), Erik (Ravinia Festival) and title role Siegfried with van Zweden (Hong Kong). His engagements include Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 (Harding), Das Lied von der Erde (LSO/Rattle), Boris Katya Kabanova (Deutsche Staatsoper), Siegmund with Petrenko and Parsifal (Bayerischer Staatsoper), Götterdämmerung in Houston (Summers) and Tambourmajor in Hamburg. He returns to the BBC Proms and Edinburgh Festival.


Contact


Performance Schedule

Discography

  • WAGNER 'Parsifal' More info  

    Label: Opus Arte

    Release Date: 03 Nov 14

    Conductor: Antonio Pappano
    Director: Stephen Langridge

    Parsifal: Simon O’Neill
    Kundry / Voice from Above: Angela Denoke
    Gurnemanz: René Pape
    Amfortas: Gerald Finley
    Klingsor: Willard W. White
    Titurel: Robert Lloyd

    Royal Opera Chorus
    Orchestra of the Royal Opera House

  • WAGNER 'Die Walküre' More info  

    Label: Arthaus Musik

    Release Date: 04 Nov 13

    Live Recording from the Teatro Alla Scala, Milan, 2010

    Conductor: Daniel Barenboim, Director: Guy Cassiers

    Siegmund: Simon O’Neill
    Hunding: John Tomlinson
    Wotan: Vitalij Kowaljow
    Sieglinde: Waltraud Meier
    Brünnhilde: Nina Stemme
    Fricka: Ekaterina Gubanova

  • WAGNER 'Ring Cycle' iPad app More info  

    Label: Naxos

    Release Date: 01 May 13

    Simon O’Neill is interviewed on this app for iPad, ‘Wagner’s Ring Cycle’, developed by Naxos Multimedia.

     

  • VERDI 'Otello' More info  

    Label: LSO Live

    Release Date: 12 Sep 12

    Conductor: Sir Colin Davis

    Tenor: Simon O’Neil
    Bass-Baritone: Gerald Finley
    Soprano: Anne Schwanewilms

    London Symphony Orchestra
    London Symphony Chorus

     

  • WEBER 'Der Freischütz' More info  

    Label: LSO Live

    Release Date: 16 Apr 12

    Conductor: Sir Colin Davis

    Soprano: Christine Brewer
    Soprano: Sally Matthews
    Tenor: Simon O’Neill

    London Symphony Orchestra
    London Symphony Chorus

  • BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 9 More info  

    Label: Sony

    Release Date: 10 Apr 12

    Conductor: Kent Nagano

    Erin Wall (soprano), Mihoko Fujimura (mezzo), Simon O’Neill (tenor), Mikhail Petrenko (bass)

    Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal

  • MAHLER Symphony No. 8 More info  

    Label: SSO Live

    Release Date: 02 Aug 10

    Conductor: Vladimir Ashkenazy

    Marina Shaguc, Twyla Robinson, Dagmar Peckov, Bernadette Cullen, Simon O’Neill, Markus Eiche, Martin Snell

    Sydney Symphony Orchestra
    Sydney Children’s Choir, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, Adelaide Symphony Chorus, Gondwana Voices,  West Australian Symphony Orchestra Chorus

  • BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 9 More info  

    Label: Sony

    ‘The Symphonies & The Beethoven Project’

    Conductor: Paavo Järvi

    Soloists: Christiane Oelze, Annely Peebo, Simon O’Neill, Dietrich Henschel

    Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Deutscher Kammerchor

  • WAGNER Scenes and Arias 'Father and Son' More info  

    Label: EMI Classics

    Release Date: 01 Jan 10

    Tenor: Simon O’Neill

    Conductor: Pietari Inkinen
    New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

    Simon O’Neill’s first solo album for EMI Classics features scenes and arias from Wagner’s Lohengrin, Die Walküre, Siegfried, Götterdämmerung and Parsifal.

  • CHAUSSON 'Le Roi Arthus' More info  

    Label: Telarc

    Release Date: 19 Dec 08

    Conductor: Leon Botstein

    Andrew Schroeder, Susan Bullock, Simon O’Neill, François Le Roux, Donald McIntyre

    BBC Symphony Orchestra
    Apollo Voices

  • MOZART: Die Zauberflöte More info  

    Label: Decca

    Release Date: 06 Nov 06

    Conductor: Riccardo Muti
    Director: Pierre Audi

    Christian Gerhaher, Genia Kühmeier, Paul Groves, Diana Damrau, René Pape, Irena Bespalovaite, Simon O’Neil

    Wiener Philharmoniker, Wiener Staatsopenchor

  • 19 Aug 17 SCHOENBERG 'Gurrelieder' London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle
    Royal Albert Hall, London
    More info  

    “Simon O’Neill boasted serious stamina and an unerring sense of musical line. Balance is a real challenge in this piece, where even huge solo voices can be submerged, but O’Neill’s bright, hard, upper register largely carried over the orchestral groundswell, taking flight ever more extravagantly as the romance turned tragic.”
    Flora Willson, the Guardian, 20 August 2017

    “The greatest vocal burden falls on the tenor singing Waldemar, and Simon O’Neill was very moving, caressing the lines with all his usual artistic sincerity.”
    John Allison, The Telegraph, 20 August 2017

    “Simon O’Neill was stylish and tireless in the taxing role of Waldemar, singing with great elegance of line and much heroic ardour.”
    Robert Hugill, 20 August 2017

  • 06 Aug 17 WAGNER 'Die Walküre' Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Sir Andrew Davis
    Usher Hall, Edinburgh
    More info  

    “Simon O’Neill’s Siegmund and Amber Wagner’s Sieglinde were perfectly matched as the incestuous twins, O’Neill’s big, bright, silvery tenor and Wagner’s rich, warm soprano both rising effortlessly above the orchestra.”
    David Smythe, Bachtrack, 7 August 2017

    “Simon O’Neill was a superb Siegmund”
    Gregor Tassie, Classical Source, 8 August 2017

    “O’Neill’s thrilling tenor voice”
    Susan Nickalls, The Scotsman, 8 August 2017

    “…the immensely superb Simon O’Neill”
    Sarah Urwin Jones, The Scotsman, 13 August 2017

  • 22 Apr 17 WAGNER 'Götterdämmerung' Houston Grand Opera
    More info  

    “The Siegfried was New Zealand heldentenor Simon O’Neill, an HGO favorite whose Wagnerian assignments with Goerke have included the 2015 “Die Walküre” and “Lohengrin”. He proved to have the power and endurance necessary to successfully perform this role.”
    Opera Warhorses, 26 April 2017

    “The Ring Cycle is nothing without a strapping Siegfried, an exhausting role that Simon O’Neill delivered powerfully. He performed valiantly last year in Siegfried, but this time around, he’s grown with his character technically, emotionally and in sheer gallantry.”
    Sydney Boyd, Houstonia, 24 April 2017

    “…his voice’s brilliance and bite exuded Siegfried’s vigor. O’Neill filled Siegfried’s story-of-my-life monologue in Act 3 — which turns out to be his last glimpse of glory — with swagger and confidence.”
    Steven Brown, Texas Classical Review, 24 April 2017

  • 20 Oct 16 BEETHOVEN 'Fidelio' Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Antonio Pappano
    Parco della Musica, Rome
    More info  

    “Simon O’Neill delivered a very fine prison scene as Florestan, his tight, bright tenor in clarion voice… it was well worth waiting until Act II to hear him”
    Bachtrack, Mark Pullinger

    “For the finest voice of the performance both musically and dramatically was Simon O’Neill’s as Florestan. Perfectly focused and heroically ringing, he portrayed both heroism and vulnerability, often in the same stroke.”
    Seen and Heard, Jack Buckley

  • 26 Apr 16 MAHLER 'Das Lied von der Erde' New World Symphony Orchestra, Michael Tilson Thomas
    Miami
    More info  

    “From the first words, in which O’Neill’s voice cut through the fortissimo orchestra, it was clear why this singer is tapped for heldentenor roles like Siegmund in Wagner’s Die Walküre. His projection over the surging orchestra wasn’t effortless, and that was part of its effectiveness — his muscular straining produced a tone that was rich, brilliant and pinging, with phrasing and pronunciation that brought out the desperate, death-shadowed exuberance of the text and music. O’Neill produced shining, operatic high notes. His intoning of the repeated phrase “Dunkel ist das Leben, ist der Tod” (“Dark is life, dark is death.”) was grim and luminous at once. In the passage in which he describes the ghastly image of a howling ape crouching among gravestones, he achieved a tone of almost terrifying force. In the song The Drunkard in Spring, he projected a sense of staggering, inebriated eloquence.”
    David Fleshler, Miami Herald

  • 06 Apr 16 WAGNER 'Die Walkure' Act 1 Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Jaap van Zweden
    Dallas
    More info  

    “New Zealand born tenor Simon O’Neill was marvelous as Siegmund. His clarion voice has some Italian-style “ping” that many heldentenors lack. This allows him to sail out over even the largest orchestra swells with ease… Even his anguished cries for his absent father, Wälse, are only on a high G flat moving to a G natural. These are notes that any decent baritone can muster. But forget about muster. O’Neill knocked them out of the park… He was also the best of the three singers in conveying the dramatic twists and turns of the plot without the benefit of staging.”
    Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, Theatre Jones

  • 05 Oct 15 PUCCINI 'Tosca' New Zealand Opera
    Auckland
    More info  

    “O’Neill is in glorious form for ‘E lucevan'”
    William Dart, New Zealand Herald

    “It was this sensitivity that impressed the most, culminating in a flexible and liquid account of the famous “E lucevan le stelle” characterized with some truly fine gradation of dynamics, virtues that continued throughout the following duet. Bringing out the poetic side of the character made an ideal contrast with the heroics of Cavaradossi the revolutionary, O’Neill trumpeting out elongated A flats in the “Vittoria” scene in the most thrilling fashion. All in all, this was actually the finest singing I’ve heard from O’Neill, even including his estimable Wagner.”
    Simon Holden, Bachtrack

    “While other Wagnerian singers might have struggled with Puccini’s honeyed score, O’Neill seemed to relish the opportunity. His bright, forward tone may not be truly Italianate in sound, but he made good use of it projecting an ardent and passionate lover, and found heartfelt pathos with his moving rendition of “E lucevan le stelle” in Act 3.”
    Michael Sinclair, Operacritic.com

  • 17 Sep 15 WAGNER 'Der fliegende Hollӓnder' Chicago Symphony Orchestra, James Conlon
    Ravinia Festival
    More info  

    “In its bright timbre, high placement and absolute security throughout its range, the fine, musical tenor of New Zealand native Simon O’Neill, another Ravinia debut, made him ideal casting as Erik, Senta’s ardent if hopeless suitor.”
    John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

    “As Erik, Simon O’Neill ardently conveyed the passion of Senta’s suitor who is ultimately hapless as he is no match for the mystique of the unnamed Dutchman.”
    Sam Jacobson, Bachtrack

    “Simon O’Neill sang with pleasing suppleness as Erik, the man who never had a chance with Senta, because even before she meets the Dutchman she has fallen in love with his portrait and his plight.”
    L. M. Rantala, Hyde Park Herald

  • 22 Jun 15 WAGNER 'Siegfried' & 'Götterdämmerung' Final Acts
    Auckland Town Hall
    More info  

    “We experienced some of the greatest love scenes in the operatic repertoire, delivered with utmost intensity and passion by O’Neill and Goerke. In their meeting you can feel a rush of almost erotic excitement with Goerke’s unforgettable mix of fear and anticipation on first sighting her lover … O’Neill was the perfect partner and watching the emotional interplay between the two was as compulsive as enjoying a good movie … O’Neill is first to die, and did so with a moving ‘Brunnhilde, Heilige Braut'”
    William Dart, New Zealand Herald

  • 24 Oct 14 VERDI 'Otello'
    Houston Grand Opera
    More info  

    “Tenor Simon O’Neill’s trumpet of a voice traced Otello’s entire tragic path, from the triumphant ring of his entrance to the raw edge of desperation that took hold as the deception progressed.”
    Steven Brown, Houston Chronicle, 25 Oct 2014

    “O’Neill’s best moment was when he cried out for peace and military glory in Otello’s 2nd act aria “Addio,” achieving that sweet yet full-bodied tone that is so hard to master in the upper range.”
    Sydney Boyd, Houstonia Magazine, 27 Oct 2014

  • 08 Jul 14 VERDI 'Otello'
    Sydney Opera House
    More info  

    “The three main principals could hardly be better. As Otello, New Zealand tenor Simon O’Neill is tireless and thrilling… he’s crystal clear even from the very back of the set. This is a reading of enormous panache, considerable vocal nuance and some of the most exciting top notes you are likely to hear on an operatic stage today. How rare and enjoyable it is to sit back and enjoy a singer in such a demanding role in full confidence that he won’t fall at any of the numerous vocal hurdles. The phrase-shaping of which he is capable, despite the gruelling requirements of volume or tessitura, is remarkable. And I’ve never heard so many of the words in a live performance of the role. The rapturous ascent to the top note as he sings “scendean sulle mie tenebre la gloria, il paradiso e gli astri a benedir” in the love duet is spine-tingling and the top note on “della Gloria d’Otello”, in the farewell-to-arms is hair-raising … He hurls himself around with gay abandon, and manages some pretty spectacular tumbles”
    Limelight magazine, July 2014

    “As Otello, New Zealander Simon O’Neill cemented his reputation as one of the world’s top heldentenors…O’Neill is another singer to make his mark by stepping in to a role at short notice — in 2009 in the title role of Otello with Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra. O’Neill’s projection is phenomenal, with an awesome upper register. Even more satisfying is his ability to sustain the intensity despite the demands of being on stage for a large part of the time.”
    Tom Pillans , Manly Daily, 7 July 2014

    “Simon O’Neill veered vertiginously between the vocal command of his first appearance as conquering hero, the tenderness of his first scene with Desdemona, the confused suspicion and the raging jealousy which later overcome him, and the utter defeat of the end. I have rarely heard such a convincing fusion of great singing and total character portrayal as in this performance of Otello, itself probably Verdi’s most successful opera in terms of theatre.”
    The Australian Stage, July 2014

    “As for Otello, the New Zealand tenor Simon O’Neill commands from the minute he steps on stage. From his re-entry in Act 1 where he seeks to silence the fray (“Abbasso le spade!”/”Down with your swords!”), O’Neill’s vocal and physical presence never wavers. Taught the role by one of the great Otellos, Placido Domingo, and fresh from a season of Wozzeck at the Metropolitan Opera, it is with single-minded intensity that O’Neill’s Heldentenor pierces through the psyche of the beleaguered Moor.”
    The Guardian (Australian), July 2014

    “Simon O’Neill’s entry as Otello resounded with robust force and he maintained a focused and energised strength with flaming colour to the sound throughout the whole of this demanding role.”
    Sydney Morning Herald, July 2014

  • 04 Dec 13 WAGNER 'Parsifal'
    Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
    More info  

    “Simon O’Neill’s Parsifal, on the other hand, was fully equal to Wagner’s demands”
    Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 1 December 2013

    “Simon O’Neill plays Parsifal like Peter Grimes — a whiskery rough-diamond who could well have wandered into the wrong opera — with an agile brilliance”
    Michael White, New York Times, 2 December 2013

    “Simon O’Neill makes a tireless and thrilling Parsifal; in his battle with the compromised seductress Kundry (an electrifying Angela Denoke), he creates high drama of the first order.”
    Metro.co.uk, 3 December 2013

    “O’Neill’s shambling Parsifal, his tone slightly raw-edged, is perfectly suited to the production”
    Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 1 December 2013

Repertoire

ADAMS
Nixon in China Mao Tse-Tung

BARBER
Anthony and Cleopatra Caesar

BEETHOVEN
Fidelio Florestan

BERG
Wozzeck Drum Major

BIZET
Carmen Don Jose

BRITTEN
Peter Grimes Peter Grimes
The Rape of Lucretia Male Chorus

CILEA
Adriana Lecouvreur Mauricio

CHAUSSON
Le Roi d’Arthus Lancelot

FLOYD
Susannah Sam

HANDEL
Giulio Cesare Sextus
Lotario Berengario
Xerxes Xerxes

JANACEK
Jenufa Steva, Laca
Katya Kabanova Boris
The House of the Dead Skuratov

KORNGOLD
Die Tote Stadt Paul

LEONCAVALLO
Pagliacci Canio

MARTIN
Der Sturm

MASCAGNI
Cavalleria Rusticana Turiddu

MOZART
Die Zauberflöte Tamino
Don Giovanni Don Ottavio
Idomeneo Idomeneo
La clemenza di Tito Tito

MUSSORGSKY
Boris Godunov Dmitri

POULENC
Dialogues of the Carmelites Chevalier

PUCCINI
La bohème Rodolfo
La fanciulla del West Dick Johnson
Madama Butterfly Pinkerton
Tosca Cavaradossi
La rondine Ruggero
Manon Lescaut Des Grieux
Turandot Calaf

SMETANA
The Bartered Bride Jenik

J STRAUSS
Die Fledermaus Alfred

R STRAUSS
Der Rosenkavalier Italian Singer
Ariadne auf Naxos Bacchus
Die Frau ohne Schatten Kaiser, Apollo

SHOSTAKOVITCH
Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk Sergei

TCHAIKOVSKY
Eugene Onegin Lenski
Pique Dame Hermann

VERDI
Il trovatore Manrico
La traviata Alfredo
La forza del destino Don Alvaro
Macbeth Macduff
Otello Otello
Simon Boccanegra Gabriele
Un ballo in maschera Riccardo

WAGNER
Das Rheingold Froh, Loge
Der fliegende Holländer Steersman, Erik
Die Walküre Siegmund
Götterdämmerung Siegfried
Lohengrin Lohengrin
Parsifal Parsifal
Rienzi Rienzi
Siegfried Siegfried

WARD
The Crucible Judge Danforth

WEBER
Der Freischutz Max
CONCERT REPERTOIRE

BEETHOVEN
Missa solemnis
Symphony No. 9
Choral Fantasy

BRITTEN
War Requiem

HANDEL
Israel in Egypt
Messiah
Samson

HAYDN
Die Schöpfung
Die Jahreszeiten

JANÁČEK
Glagolitic Mass

MAHLER
Das Lied von der Erde
Symphony No. 8

MENDELSSOHN
Elijah
Lobgesang

MOZART
Requiem
Coronation Mass
Mass in C Minor

PUCCINI
Messa di Gloria

SCHÖNBERG
Gurrelieder

STRAVINSKY
Oedipus Rex

TIPPETT
A Child of Our Time

VERDI
Requiem