South African bass-baritone Simon Shibambu recently completed the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. A finalist of the 2018 Operalia competition, his luscious voice is attracting significant international attention.
During the 2023/24 season, Shibambu makes his debut with the Grand Théâtre de Genève in the world premier of Hèctor Parra Justice in a co-production with the Festival Tangente St. Pölten. Engagements for the 2022/23 season have included Beethoven Symphony No.9 with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Bruckner Te Deum with the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra and his return to the Royal Opera House for Salome. He makes his debut with the 2023 Buxton Festival as Rodolfo La sonnambula.
Recent engagements include Dr Grenvil La Traviata with the Royal Opera House, Sciarrone Tosca with the Opéra Orchestre national Montpellier and Spreche and Priest Die Zauberflöte with the Opéra de Rouen, and made his debut with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with Beethoven Symphony No. 9 conducted by Marin Alsop. Recent highlights also include his debut at the BBC Proms performing Stravinsky Pulcinella with Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Porgy Porgy and Bess, in full production with the Theatre an der Wien and in concert with both the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, and Angelotti Tosca with English National Opera at Crystal Palace Bowl for the new South Facing Festival.
In previous seasons, Shibambu has appeared as Montano Otello with the Royal Opera House on tour to Japan, Angelotti Tosca at the Opéra National de Lyon, and Poet in a new production of Philip Glass Orphée at the English National Opera. He made notable debuts in the 2018/19 season at the Dutch National Opera as Calazán in Micha Hamel Caruso in Cuba, Aix-en-Provence Festival as Angelotti Tosca and ENO as Soldier Salome, and sang Tippett A Child of Our Time with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. He also returned to the Royal Opera House as Pietro Simon Boccanegra and Doctor Grenvil La Traviata.
During the two seasons as a Jette Parker Young Artist at the ROH, Shibambu has appeared in roles including Angelotti, Montano Otello, Ceprano, Doctor Macbeth, Flemish Deputy Don Carlo, Le Sire de Bethune Les Vespres Siciliennes, Sentry Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Quinault Adriana Lecouvreur, Ghost of Nino Semiramide, Second Armed Man Die Zauberflöte and Fourth Brabantian Noble Lohengrin. In Summer 2016, Shibambu was chosen to join the prestigious Young Singers Project at the Salzburg Festival, where he sang Naval Captain Manon Lescaut alongside Anna Netrebko, and Palémon Thaïs, which he shared the stage with Plácido Domingo.
Shibambu hails from Pretoria, studying voice at Tshwane University of Technology and subsequently with Graeme Broadbent at the Royal College of Music, London where he was an ABRSM scholar supported by the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust and Minerva Trust. At the RCM he has sung Sarastro Die Zauberflöte, Leporello Don Giovanni, Méphistophélès Faust and appeared in the London Handel Festival as King of Scotland Ariodante. He was also awarded the First and Audience Prizes at the Clonter Opera Competition, and an International Opera Awards Bursary in 2015.
On the concert platform, Shibambu has sung Mozart and Verdi Requiems, Rossini Petite messe solennelle, Puccini Messa di Gloria, and Gounod Messe solennelle de Sainte Cécile. He was also invited to perform in front of world leaders and the Royal Family on a number of occasions, including the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey, which was broadcast live on the BBC.
Sir Giorgio I puritani
Count Rodolfo La sonnabula
Dulcamara L'elisir d'amore
Porgy Porgy and Bess
Re di Scozia Ariodante
The God Mars Silla
Leporello / Masetto Don Giovanni
Figaro Le nozze di Figaro
Publio La clemenza di Tito
Colline La bohème
Alidoro La Cenerentola
Maometto Maometto II
Mustafa L'italinana in Algeri
Symphony No. 9
Mass in C Minor
Messa di Gloria
Petite Messe solennelle
The singer I’ll be looking out for is bass-baritone Simon Shibambu, who sang the King with authority, anguish and a huge, resonant tone.
Simon Shibambu’s grand-scale Toante
Simon Shibambu is excellent as the tyrant Toante