Rising bass-baritone Simon Shibambu has recently graduated from the Royal College of Music, and joins the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden from the start of the 2016/17 season. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Shibambu studied vocal arts at Tshwane University of Technology and vocal performance at the RCM with Graeme Broadbent, as an Association Board of the Royal Schools of Music scholar supported by the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust and Minerva Trust. In competition, he won first prize in the Amazwi Omzansi Africa Opera Singing Competition, first prize and audience prize at the Clonter Opera Competition, and an International Opera Awards Bursary.
In August 2016, Shibambu participated in the prestigious Young Singers Project at the Salzburg Festival, where he was featured as Naval Captain in Puccini Manon Lescaut alongside Anna Netrebko and conducted by Marco Armiliato, and as Palémon in Massenet Thaïs, sharing the stage with Plácido Domingo. As a young artist with the Royal Opera House in the 2016/17 season, Shibambu will sing Quinault in David McVicar’s production of Cilea Adriana Lecouvreur, Flemish Deputy in Verdi Don Carlo, and Montano in Verdi Otello under the baton of Antonio Pappano. He can also be seen as Toante in the Jette Parker production of Handel Oreste at Wilton’s Music Hall. A 2015 recipient of the Opera Awards Bursary, he will appear in recital for the Opera Awards Foundation.
Recent highlights include King of Scotland in Handel Ariodante for the London Handel Festival at the Barbican, under the musical direction of Laurence Cummings, where Shibambu was praised by the Guardian for his “huge, resonant tone”. At the RCM, he performed Sarastro and Speaker of the Temple in Mozart Die Zauberflöte, Leporello in Mozart Don Giovanni and Méphistophélès in Gounod Faust. Concert performances include Mozart Requiem, Rossini Petite Messe solennelle, Puccini Messa di Glora, Gounod Messe solennelle de Sainte Cécile and Verdi Requiem.
While studying at RCM, Shibambu was chosen to sing for the First Lady of China during her visit to London, as well as for HRH the Prince of Wales during a visit to the College. In March 2016, he was also selected to perform for Her Majesty the Queen during the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey, which was broadcast on the BBC.
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