Having sung for several seasons in the solo ensemble for Oper Frankfurt, Simon is now gaining an increasing number of guest appearances at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Theater Basel, Staatstheater Stuttgart, De Vlaamse Opera and at the Glyndebourne and Gstaad Festivals. Excelling as a singer/actor Simon has great success in a variety of roles ranging from buffo through to the more dramatic bass-baritone repertoire such as Jochanaan and Klingsor. Simon also sings regularly on the concert platform throughout Germany, where he is based, and has also guested with Nagoya Philharmonic (Japan) and with BBC Symphony Orchestra.
Simon Bailey was born in Lincoln and read music at Clare College, Cambridge, and at the Royal Northern College of Music with Neil Howlett. Simon subsequently studied at the La Scala Academy, Milan, where he was the winner of the Concorso Internazionale dell’Accademia del Teatro alla Scala competition, the Concorso Vocale Internazionale di Musica Sacra competition and was a semi-finalist in the Placido Domingo Operalia competition of 2003. He has appeared in masterclasses with Leyla Gencer, Luigi Alva, Sir John Tomlinson, Bonaldo Giaiotti, Shirley Verrett, Luciana Serra and Leo Nucci, and in August 2002 he joined the ensemble of Opera Frankfurt as a company principal.
Simon’s exceptional vocal range has enabled him to perform a rich variety of roles across the bass and baritone repertoire, including Figaro Le Nozze di Figaro (La Scala, Rouen and Limoges), Schaunard La Bohème (La Scala) and Mustafa L’italiana in Algeri (Accademia Rossiniana, Pesaro). Having created the role of Viceprocuratore in Corgi’s Tat’jana at La Scala, he was also heard there as Alessio La Sonnambula, Barone di Kelbar Un Giorno di Regno during the Verdi centenary, 5th Jew Salome and Nikitiç Boris Godunov under the direction of Valery Gergiev. He subsequently sang the title role in Handel’s Hercules at the Athens Festival, to critical and public acclaim, which was later repeated in Reims cathedral and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Simon was then invited by Luigi Alva to Lima, Peru, to debut Enrico Lucia di Lammermoor.
Further guest engagements have included Méphistophélès Damnation de Faust for Staatstheater Stuttgart. Achilla, Giulio Cesare (Opéra de Lille), Zuniga Carmen (Glyndebourne Festival), Procolo Le Convenienze ed Inconvenienze teatrali (La Scala, Milan), Truffaldino Ariadne auf Naxos (Theater an der Wien), the world première of Michael Levinas’ La Métamorphose (Opéra de Lille) and Brander/Méphistophélès Damnation de Faust (De Vlaamse Opera, Antwerp). Recent concert engagements include Mussorgsky Songs & Dances of Death with Nagoya Philharmonic in Japan (Martyn Brabbins), Verdi Requiem in Dublin, La Fille du Régiment, David L’Amico Fritz at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, Moscow, and Vairochana in the UK (semi-staged) premiere of Jonathan Harvey’s Wagner Dream with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican.
As a company principal at Oper Frankfurt, Simon has appeared as Papageno Die Zauberflöte, Nick Shadow The Rake’s Progress, Dulcamara L’elisir d’amore, Alidoro/Don Magnifico Cenerentola, Don Alfonso Così fan Tutte, Don Basilio Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Cherea Caligula, Lord Sidney Il Viaggio a Reims, Angelotti Tosca, Lescaut Manon, Claudio Agrippina, Klingsor Parsifal, Animal Tamer/Acrobat Lulu, Shaklivity Khovanshchina, Gonzalo The Tempest, Mr Redburn Billy Budd, Paolo Simon Boccanegra, Méphistophélès La Damnation de Faust, Ferryman Curlew River, Skuratov The Tsar’s Bride, Oreste Elektra, Bischof Ercole Palestrina, Arcas Medée and the title role Don Giovanni.
Simon’s interests also lie in recital and oratorio work, where appearances include Berlioz’s L’enfance du Christ in King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, Haydn’s Creation in Lima Cathedral, Missa Solemnis for Tampere Philharmonic, Mozart’s Requiem in Bordeaux and Manchester, St Matthew Passion (Frankfurt, Karlsruhe and Trier) and Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall and in Oslo. During the 2013 Wagner year, Simon sang Gurnemanz Parsifal in concert in Wiesbaden and Bad Homburg. Simon has also appeared in recital at the Teatro Britanico, Lima, and also several times in recital at La Scala. His discography includes Mozart’s Requiem, Mandarin Turandot for Chandos Opera in English, Doge in Rossini’s Bianca e Falliero for Opera Rara, and Stainer’s Crucifixion for Naxos. He also appears as a soloist on the recital recordings for Opera Rara and Chandos.
Recent engagements include the Four Villains Les Contes d’Hoffmann for Theater Basel, Handel Saul at the Kölner Philharmonie and Klingsor Parsifal, Gelone in Cesti’s L’Orontea, Don Magnifico Cenerentola, 2nd Tempter/Knight in Pizzetti’s Assassinio nella Cattedrale and Leporello Don Giovanni for Oper Frankfurt. Simon made his Covent Garden debut as Leporello Don Giovanni in summer 2015. Engagements in 2015/2016 include Leporello at the Gstaad Menuhin Festival with La Scintilla Oper Zürich (Heras-Casado), a return to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Sciroco L’Étoile and his return to Stuttgart as Kaspar Der Freischütz as well as Achilla Giulio Cesare and Gunther Götterdämmerung (Weigle) for Oper Frankfurt. Subsequent engagements include Nikanor/Satan in David’s Herculanum for Wexford Festival Opera, Jochanaan Salome for Staatstheater Stuttgart and Leporello for Oper Frankfurt.
“Simon Bailey (Leporello) [is a] wonderful actor, the bass-baritone has a phenomenally clear vocal emission and perfect diction. At ease on stage, he relishes cultivating humorous situations. Pushing the limits of his character to caricature, Simon Bailey´s portrayal of the servant is hysterically funny… And, although his “Catalogue aria” remains a moment of vocal and theatrical joy, the scene where he assumes the role of Don Giovanni to seduce Donna Elvira is a small masterpiece of buffoonery . His theatricality is so overwhelming that we almost forget what an admirable singer he is.” www.resmusica.com, Jacques Schmitt (3 Sept 2015)