A native of Ashburton, Simon O’Neill is one of the finest heroic tenors on the international stage. He has been described by the international press as “THE Wagnerian tenor of his generation” and… “the best heroic tenor to emerge over the last decade”. He is the most internationally recognised New Zealand opera singer since Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Sir Donald McIntyre. Notable engagements have included 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 (Otto Shenk) then Luisi (Robert Lepage), and at Deutsche Oper Berlin with Rattle; at the Royal Opera House he has performed the title roles in Lohengrin, Parsifal, Florestan inFidelio, and Stolzing in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg; Lohengrin and Parsifal at the Bayreuth Festival with Nelsons and Gatti; Parsifal with Thielemann at the Wiener Staatsoper; the Tambourmajor in Wozzeck with Levine at the Metropolitan Opera; Verdi’s Otello with the London Symphony Orchestra and Colin Davis; Das Lied von der Erde at Carnegie Hall with Levine and the Met Orchestra;Siegfried with the Hallé Orchestra and Mark Elder at the Edinburgh Festival, Die Walküre with Jaap van Zweden and the New York Philharmonic and with Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic and the BBC Proms with Barenboim.
This year Simon performs the world premiere of Victoria Kelly’s Requiem at the Auckland Arts Festival, Siegmund in Die Walküre at Oper Leipzig, the title roles of; Parsifal in Munich and Paris, Tristan at Santa Fe and with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Tannhäuser in Lyon and Florestan in Fidelio with the Sydney Symphony.
He is a Fulbright Scholar, an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, alumnus of The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music and University of Otago, he holds a Doctor of Music from Victoria University (Honoris Causa), Arts Foundation Laureate, and is a Grammy nominated recording artist with EMI, Decca and Naxos. Simon lives in Auckland with his wife, Carmel and their three children