A native of New Zealand, Simon O’Neill is a principal artist with the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, La Scala and both the Bayreuth and Salzburg Festivals, 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, Bertrand de Billy, Donald Runnicles and Pietari Inkinen.
Simon O'Neill's performances as Siegmund in Die Walküre at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden with Pappano and at the Metropolitan Opera with Runnicles and at La Scala with Barenboim 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".
Notable debuts have included the Bayreuth Festival as the title role in Lohengrin with Andris Nelsons, 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 also had the honour of touring Europe with Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra performing act one Die Walküre.
In the summer of 2010 Simon sang the title role in Lohengrin at the Bayreuth Festival and Florestan in Fidelio at the Grafenegg Festival followed by Mahler's Eighth Symphony at the Edinburgh Festival. Simon then opened La Scala's 10/11 season as Siegmund in Die Walküre with Barenboim. Other recent engagements include Cavaradossi in Tosca in Berlin, Siegfried in Götterdämmerung in La Coruna, Das lied von der Erde with Levine at Carnegie Hall and at the Deutsche Opera Berlin with Runnicles, Max in Der Freischütz at Theater an der Wien, Lohengrin at Houston Grand Opera and his debut at the Berlin Staatsoper as Siegmund.
Simon has appeared in many of the world’s leading concert halls including Florestan in Fidelio at both the Salzburg Festival and BBC Proms with Barenboim, 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 at the Beethovenhalle with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie and for the reopening of London’s Royal Festival Hall. Simon performed the title role of Parsifal with Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra at the Michael Fowler Centre for the 2005 New Zealand International Festival.
Simon’s future engagements include Siegmund at the Royal Opera House, La Scala, Houston Grand Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Wiener, Berliner, Bayerische and Hamburgische Staatsoper, Parsifal at the Bayreuth Festival, Covent Garden, Teatro Real Madrid and Wiener Staatsoper, Walter in Die Meistersinger at Covent Garden, Nixon in China at San Francisco Opera, Max in Der Freischütz with the London Symphony Orchestra, Otello for New Zealand Opera and Houston Grand Opera, Tosca with the new National Theatre in Tokyo and Hamburgische Staatsoper as well as notable returns to the Metropolitan Opera.
At extremely short notice Simon made his debut in the title role of Verdi’s Otello in concert at the Barbican with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Colin Davis. 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.”
Simon’s, discography includes ‘Father and Son, Wagner Scenes and Arias’ (Lohengrin, Parsifal, Siegmund and Siegfried) with Pietari Inkinen and the NZSO for EMI, the title role in Otello with Sir Colin Davis with the LSO, Die Zauberflöte for the Salzburg Festival Mozart 25 DVD with Riccardo Muti, Frank Martin’s Der Sturm with the Netherlands Radio Symphony, Mahler’s Eighth Symphony with Vladimir Ashkenanzy and the Sydney Symphony and Chauson’s Le Roi Arthus with Leon Botstein and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
Simon O’Neill is an alumnus of the University of Otago, Victoria University of Wellington, 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.