Naomi O'Connell

Biography

Hailed by The New York Times as “a radiant mezzo-soprano,” Irish singer Naomi O’Connell is the First Prize Winner of the 2011 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition and the Altamura/Caruso International Voice Competition.  She began 2012 starring on London’s West End in Terrence McNally’s Tony Award-winning play “Master Class,” in the role of an aspiring young opera singer opposite Tyne Daly who portrays the legendary Maria Callas. The Times called her performance “…spectacular,” and The Independent lauded her “…thrilling rendering of an aria from Verdi’s Lady Macbeth.” 

Highlights of her 2012-13 operatic season include: Despina in the MET+Juilliard fall production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, under the baton of Alan Gilbert and directed by Stephen Wadsworth.  This spring, she appears in New York City Opera’s new production of Offenbach’s La Périchole.  Featured recital appearances this season include her Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall presented by CAG, as well as the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Purdue University Convocations, the Artist Series of Tallahassee and back in New York at Merkin Concert Hall and Trinity Church, for its Concerts at One series, co-presented by Joy in Singing.

A gifted musician and natural performer, Ms. O’Connell deftly balances her love of opera with that of art song, musical theatre and popular song with repertoire ranging from Schumann, Strauss and Ravel to Bernstein, Sondheim and Randy Newman.  She has performed with the Marlboro Music Festival, Steans Musical Institute at Ravinia, the Juilliard FOCUS! Festival, and the New York Festival of Song, where critics hailed her performance as “evocative, appealing and expressive.”

Recent engagements include her professional operatic debut singing the title role in Offenbach’s La Périchole with Garsington Opera in June 2012, where London critics hailed her as “a star in the making.”  Ms. O’Connell made her Lincoln Center debut in March 2011 in the Juilliard Honors Recital at Alice Tully Hall with pianist Brent Funderburk.  She spent the summers 2011 and 2012 performing chamber music at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont, where her 2012 performance of Ravel’s Trois Poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé was hailed by The Boston Globe as “outstanding – her voice cool, precisely controlled and perfect for this music.”

Brought up in County Clare, Ireland, Ms. O’Connell holds a Master of Music degree and Artist Diploma in Opera Studies from The Juilliard School. She studies in New York with voice teacher Dr. Robert White.  Ms. O’Connell is generously supported by the Novick Career Advancement Grant from The Juilliard School. Past awards include the 2012 Leonard Ingrams Award from Garsington Opera, First Prize in Operetta at the 2008 International Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition and the Makiko Narumi Prize for outstanding mezzo-soprano from The Juilliard School.  She began her studies with Archie Simpson and holds a BA Honors degree from the Royal Irish Academy of Music, where she studied with voice teacher Mary Brennan.

Ms. O’Connell has performed in venues throughout the United States, Europe, the UK and Ireland.  Her recordings have been broadcasted on WQXR, BBC Three, RTE television, Lyric FM, Clare FM and Radio One.  Her operatic roles include Monteverdi’s Ottavia, Ravel’s L’Enfant and Concepción, Purcell’s Dido, Mozart’s Cherubino, Bizet’s Carmen and Handel’s Ariodante.  Ms. O’Connell has performed in master classes with artists such as Dame Gwyneth Jones, Joyce DiDonato, Sir Thomas Allen, Malcolm Martineau, Roger Vignoles and Ann Murray.

Multimedia

  • Audio

    Hugo Wolf: Das Köhlerweib ist trunken from Alte Weisenlisten

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    Gioachino Rossini: Anzoleta dopo la regatta from La Regata Veneziana

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    Henri Duparc: Au pays où se fait la guerre

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    Havelock Nelson: Dirty Work

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    Frank Bridge: Love went a-riding

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    Wolf: Als ich auf dem Euphrat schiffte from Goethe Lieder

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    Jonathan Dove: Adelaide's Aria from The Enchanted Pig

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    Rossini: Anzoleta avanti la regatta from La Regata Veneziana

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    John Hind: A Cradle Song

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    Arthur Schwartz: Make the Man Love Me from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

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    Maurice Ravel:Nahandove from Les chansons Madécasses, Op.78

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    Charles Marshall: I Hear You Calling Me

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  • Video
    • See video Rossini: La Regata Veneziana

      Rossini: La Regata Veneziana

    • See video

      "Sein wir wieder gut" from Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos

Press

  • Quotes

    “Naomi O’Connell was the outstanding mezzo-soprano, her voice cool, precisely controlled, and perfect for this music.”
    - The Boston Globe

    “Naomi O’Connell and Robert Murray are unbeatable in the principal roles of La Périchole and Piquillo. Their sometimes tempestuous relationship is beautifully observed, and their singing is a joy to listen to. This is O’Connell’s UK operatic debut, and she’s very definitely a name to watch.”
    - The Oxford Times

    “At the centre are two first-rate performances from the ingenue leads, Naomi O’Connell’s Perichole and Robert Murray’s Piquillo. Both of them sing with grace and style, she suitably sharp-witted and streetwise; he – something of a James Corden lookalike in a rumbustious comic performance – softer and more vulnerable. Between the two of them, they take every trick that comes their way.”
    -The Stage

    “a title role performance with real star quality”
    “The word “charm” applied particularly to the performance of Naomi O’Connell in the title role. O’Connell may not have the biggest voice you’ll ever hear, but it’s lovely to listen to (in tune, nicely lilted and unmarred by sharpness or excessive vibrato) and she has stage presence and magnetism to burn, helped by a gorgeously soft Irish accent. She also did a great job of the dance numbers – everything from the Spanish ones to a brief jig straight out of Riverdance.”
    - Bachtrack – David Karlin

    “Feisty Irish singer-actor Naomi O’Connell is cast as Périchole, and Sams lets her and Robert Murray’s delightful Essex-boy Piquillo loose on a world of cut-glass accents and social snobbery.”
    -The Guardian – Tim Ashley

    “…it’s hard to imagine how Geoffrey Dolton’s Viceroy, Naomi O’Connell’s Périchole and Robert Murray’s Piquillo could be bettered in these parts…this production is O’Connell’s UK operatic debut, and she is a star in the making. Hardly surprising, given that she’s a postgraduate of the Juillard who will make her Carnegie Hall debut in 2013.”
    - Music OMH

    “In the title role and looking delectable, Naomi O’Connell’s creamy tone and elegant phrasing ravished the ear”
    - Seen and Heard International, Robert J Farr

  • Reviews

Repertoire

  • Programs

    WITCHES, BITCHES & WOMEN IN BRITCHES
    FEMALE PORTRAITS IN SONG

    PART ONE
    THE VENETIAN SOCIAL CLIMBER

    Gioachino Rossini: La Regata Veneziana
    Anzoleta avanti la regata
    Anzoleta co passa la regatta
    Anzoleta dopo la regatta

    DAMAGED GOODS FROM FRANCE

    Henri Duparc: Au pays où se fait la guerre
    Alfred Bachelet: Chère Nuit
    Francis Poulenc: La dame de Monte Carlo
    Erik Satie: La diva de l’empire

    FEMALE PORTRAITS OF HUGO WOLF

    Hugo Wolf: Das verlassene Mägdlein
    Hugo Wolf: Das Köhlerweib ist trunken
    Hugo Wolf: Die Zigeunerin
    Hugo Wolf: Ich hab’ in Penna

    ~INTERMISSION~

    THE OLD WOMEN OF IRELAND

    Havelock Nelson: Dirty Work
    Charles Marshall: I hear you calling me
    John Hind: Cradle Song
    T.C. Kelly: The Mother
    Granville Bantock: Song to the Seals

    LOVE, SEX AND MARRIAGE

    Frank Bridge: Love went a-riding
    Arthur Schwartz: Make the Man Love Me
    William Bolcom: Amor
    William Bolcom: Toothbrush Time
    Jonathan Dove: Adelaide’s Aria (The Enchanted Pig)

     

    IMAGINE A MAGICAL MENAGERIE…SONGS OF THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

    DES ANIMAUX ET DES OISEAUX

    Georges Bizet: La Coccinelle
    Ernest Chausso: Le Colibri
    Emmanuel Chabrier: Villanelle des petits canards
    Jacques Offenbach: Le corbeau et le renard

    Francis Poulenc: Le Bestiaire
    Le dromadaire
    La chèvre du Thibet
    La sauterelle
    Le dauphin
    L’écrevisse
    La carpe

    SONGS FROM JAPAN

    Kosaku Yamada: Rabbit-Ear Iride
    Ikuma Dan: The Weasel
    Ikuma Dan: Saury Fish
    Yoshinao Nakada: Cherry Blossoms Lane

    O! FOR A HORSE WITH WINGS!

    Claude Debussy: Chevaux de Bois
    Henri Duparc: Le Manoir de Rosemonde
    Frank Bridge: Love went a-riding

    ~INTERMISSION~

    BIRDSONG

    Orlando Gibbons: The Silver Swan
    Irish Traditional : The Lark in the Clear Air

    KLEINE TIERE

    Franz Schubert: Der Schmetterling
    Franz Schubert: Die Forelle
    Hugo Wolf: Mausfallen Spüchlein
    Hugo Wolf: Der Rattenfänger

    MAGICAL ANIMALS

    Granville Bantock: Song to the Seals
    Manuel Rosenthal: La Souris D’Angleterre
    Tom Lehrer: Poisoning Pigeons in the Park