BIOGRAPHY OF NAOMI LOUISA O'CONNELL
Hailed by The New York Times as “radiant,” Irish performer Naomi Louisa O’Connell made her professional stage debut in 2012 starring on London’s West End in Terrence McNally’s Tony Award-winning play Master Class in the role of Sharon Graham, an aspiring young opera singer opposite Tyne Daly who portrayed Maria Callas. The Times called her performance “…spectacular,” and The Independent lauded her “…thrilling rendering of an aria from Verdi’s Macbeth.”
Current orchestral highlights include: a return engagement with the Cincinnati Symphony and Maestro Louis Langrée for the third season of CSO’s Pelléas Trilogy, where she sings the role of Mélisande in Debussy’s opera (having performed Mélisande in CSO’s presentation of the Maeterlinck play in fall 2016); her debut with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra, featuring both an artist residency and a performance of Martucci’s La canzone dei Ricordi; and a performance with Brazil’s Orquestra Jovem do Estado de São Paulo, singing Bernstein’s Jeremiah Symphony. In 2018, she returns to Opera Omaha for their production of Cherubini’s Medea in the role of Neris.
In recital with piano partner Brent Funderburk, Naomi premieres a new cabaret program in December 2017 called ‘The Cheater’s Almanac,’ with performances at New York’s Neue Galerie and the Detroit Institute of Arts, as well as a recital tour of their ‘Words to Love & Live By’ program. Other recent NYC recitals include her ‘Bird in a Gilded Cage’ program on the MET Live Arts series, and her all-German cabaret, FRAU, at the Neue Galerie. She is featured on the New York Festival of Song’s recording of Paul Bowles’ Picnic Cantata, to be released next season, and her acclaimed ‘Witches, Bitches & Women in Britches’ recital will be recorded for television broadcast in Illinois.
Recently on the theatre stage, Naomi performed the leading role in Kiss Me, Kate at Opera North, as well as a workshop of Richard Nelson’s new play Oblivion at Lincoln Center Theater, and a reading of The Rivals: A Musical, with book by Peter Kellogg and music by Stephen Weiner. On the operatic stage, she sang with Geneva Opera in Figaro Gets A Divorce, Opera Omaha in Jonathan Dove’s Flight, and made her critically acclaimed Spoleto Festival debut in the US premiere of the Vivaldi opera, Farnace.
As an opera singer, she has performed with Frankfurt Oper, Geneva Opera, Welsh National Opera, and Garsington Opera in Europe, and New York City Opera, Opera Omaha and Atlanta Opera in the USA. Notable roles performed include Monteverdi’s Poppea and Ottavia, Ravel’s L’Enfant, Debussy’s Mélisande, Mozart’s Cherubino and Despina, Purcell’s Dido, Offenbach’s La Périchole and La Corilla, and the role of Serafin in the world premiere of Figaro Gets A Divorce. Naomi made her US stage debut as Rosine/Countess Almaviva in Stephen Wadsworth’s adaptation of the Beaumarchais Figaro Plays at the McCarter Theatre in 2014.
A gifted musician and natural performer, Naomi deftly balances her love of opera with that of art song, musical theater and popular song with repertoire ranging from Schumann, Strauss and Ravel to Bernstein, Gershwin and Randy Newman. This versatility led to her First Prize victory at the 2011 Concert Artists Guild International competition, and at her subsequent Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall—entitled Witches, Bitches & Women in Britches—where The New York Times hailed her as “a natural in the recital format, winning over the audience with her rich, silvery voice and charming stage presence.” Her strong partnership in recital with pianist Brent Funderburk began in 2011 for her debut at Alice Tully Hall in the Juilliard Vocal Arts Honors Recital, and has continued with collaborative recitals across the US; notable recital series include the Neue Galerie, Merkin Concert Hall, Rockefeller University and the American Irish Historical Society, as well as the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Stanford University Shenson Series, Purdue University Convocations and the Artist Series of Tallahassee.
Notable awards include Garsington Opera’s 2012 Leonard Ingrams Award, First Prize at the 2011 Caruso/Altamura International Vocal Competition, the Novick Career Advancement Grant and Makiko Narumi Award for Outstanding Mezzo-soprano from The Juilliard School, and First Prize in Operetta at the 2008 International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition.
Born to Irish/German parents in County Clare, Ireland, Naomi Louisa O’Connell began her studies with Archie Simpson and is an alumna of the Royal Irish Academy of Music, where she studied with voice teacher Mary Brennan. She holds a Master of Music degree and an Artist Diploma in Opera Studies from The Juilliard School where she studied with voice teachers Dr. Robert White and Marlena Malas and acting teacher Stephen Wadsworth. Naomi is currently based in New York City where she lives with her husband and enjoys writing, yoga, telling terrible jokes and yearning after her neighbor’s dogs.