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.”
Highlights of her 2016-17 season include performances with the Cincinnati Symphony and Maestro Louis Langrée as part of the CSO’s Pelléas Trilogy, and in Brazil with the Orquestra Jovem do Estado de São Paulo, singing Bernstein’s Jeremiah Symphony under the baton of George Stelluto. In recital, she sings in New York three times: a return to NYFOS in February at Merkin Concert Hall; a repeat of her German cabaret, FRAU, at the Neue Galerie; and Irish songs at Weill Recital Hall for a special concert on the CAG series. Additional recitals across the US include performances at Stanford University, CA, Reston, VA, Pittsburg, KS and a special performance at Festival Napa Valley. On the theatre stage, Naomi performs the role of Harriet da Ponte in a workshop of Richard Nelson’s new play Oblivion at Lincoln Center Theatre and the leading role of Lilli Vanessi in Kiss Me, Kate at Opera North. On the operatic stage, she sings with Geneva Opera in Figaro Gets A Divorce, Opera Omaha in Jonathan Dove’s Flight, and makes her Spoleto Festival debut in the US premiere of the Vivaldi opera, Farnace, with director Garry Hynes.
In 2015-2016, Naomi made her debut at the Welsh National Opera in Le nozze di Figaro and Figaro Gets A Divorce, directed by David Pountney. New York recital performances included her ‘Bird in a Gilded Cage’ recital as part of the MET Museum series and her cabaret, FRAU, at the Neue Galerie. In the 2014-2015 season, she made her German debut at Oper Frankfurt in the title role of a new production of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea and her Atlanta Opera debut as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro. In the 2013-2014 season, Naomi returned to Garsington Opera for Offenbach’s Vert-Vert in the role of man-eating opera diva La Corilla, whose “coloratura tours-de-force simply blew the lid of this performance.” In the USA, she debuted in Stephen Wadsworth’s adaptation of the Beaumarchais Figaro Plays as Rosine to great critical acclaim.
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, Purdue University Convocations and the Artist Series of Tallahassee.
In the US, Naomi has performed with the Marlboro Music Festival, Steans Musical Institute at Ravinia, Rockport Chamber Music Festival, MUSE/IQUE in Los Angeles, NYC’s Five Boroughs Music Festival, Fabbri Chamber Concerts, The Song Continues and Ensemble for the Romantic Century, the Juilliard ChamberFest and FOCUS! Festivals and the New York Festival of Song. 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.