"Having the opportunity to make people happy through my singing is the greatest honour. Returning to New Zealand to sing for my family, friends and supporters is my greatest happiness."

Internationally recognised as amongst the foremost of singers of his generation, Simon O'Neill has performed many of the greatest tenor roles at the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Teatro alla Scala, Deutsche Oper, Berlin, Vienna, Hamburg and Munich Staatsopern and both the Salzburg and Bayreuth Festivals with a number of illustrious conductors including Levine, Muti, Gergiev, Pappano, Barenboim, Rattle, Boulez, De Waart, Davis, Runnicles and Thielemann.

Notable debuts have included; the Royal Opera House as Jenik in The Bartered Bride with Mackerras, the Salzburg Festival in Die Zauberflöte with Muti, the Metropolitan Opera as the Gran Sacerdote in Idomeneo with Levine, Opera Australia as Sergei in Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk with Armstrong, La Scala as Siegmund in Die Walküre with Barenboim, the title role ofOtello with the London Symphony Orchestra with Davis, the Bayreuth Festival in the title roles ofLohengrin with Nelsons and Parsifal with Gatti, Chairman Mao in Nixon in China with Renes with the San Francisco Opera, and the Vienna Staatsoper in the title role of Parsifal with Thielemann.

He has performed his signature role of Siegmund in Die Walküre in every major house in the world - Teatro alla Scala in the Cassiers production with Barenboim, the Metropolitan Opera in the Otto Schenk and Lepage productions with Runnicles and Luisi, the Keith Warner production at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden with Pappano, the Berlin Götz Friedrich Deutsche Oper staging with Rattle and Vienna with Welser-Möst, Hamburg with Young and Munich Staatsopern with Nagano.

Other important engagements have included; Parsifal, Die Walküre, Lohengrin, Fidelio and Meistersinger at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Siegmund at the Metropolitan Opera, Berlin and Hamburg Staatsoper, Tosca in Berlin, Hamburg and Tokyo, the Missa Solemnis and Das Lied von der Erde at Carnegie Hall, Gurrelieder at the BBC Proms and Fidelio in concert at the Salzburg Festival.

His discography includes his debut solo award winning album with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Pietari Inkinen for EMI; Father and Son, Wagner Scenes and Arias, the title role in Verdi's Otello with Sir Colin Davis with the London Symphony Orchestra, Die Walküre on DVD and Bluray from Teatro alla Scala with Daniel Barenboim, Die Zauberflöte for the Salzburg Festival Mozart 25 DVD with Riccardo Muti and Mahler's Symphony No.8 with Vladimir Ashkenazy and the Sydney Symphony. Most recently he is included in the EMI release alongside history's greatest singers in Voices of German Opera.

Simon's love of the music started at the age of 8 with piano lessons with Mrs Perkins and joining the Ashburton Silver Band as second baritone and euphonium. He went on to Eb Bass in, the 1992 A grade national champions, St Kilda Brass and performed principal Tuba with the Southern Sinfonia.

Born in 1971, 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 and was awarded a 2005 Arts Laureate of New Zealand. Simon lives in London and Auckland with his wife, Carmel, and their three children Grace, Tom and Violet.

Words

2010
Simon O'Neill is profiled in the Listener prior to his performances with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (Mahler Symphony No. 8 and a Wagner Gala concert) at the 2010 New Zealand International Arts Festival

Audio

2011
Simon O'Neill, interviewed by Eva Radich on Radio New Zealand's 'Upbeat' on Thursday, 22 September.