Your new album Distant Beloved,featuring Lieder by Beethoven, Schumann, Strauss and Wagner, is your debut release for Decca?

Yes, it’s a great honour; being with Decca is extraordinary. I had a recording with EMI, back in 2010, of Wagner arias with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, which was great as well. You think EMI and you think Franco Corelli, Maria Callas, and with Decca you think Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti, it’s quite extraordinary.

Simon O’Neill. Photo © Albert Comper Photography

Why did you record German Lieder?

Well, as I say in the little personal remark I make on the album cover about the 1963 Fritz Wunderlich recording, [in which he paired Beethoven’s An die Ferne Geliebtewith the Strauss songs that I have recorded here] Fritz Wunderlich was my idol. Even though he wasn’t a Heldentenor, he was just my ideal singer. He was German and he was a beautiful singer of German repertoire and I just loved his recording of the Beethoven An die Ferne Geliebte. I’ve performed that for many years and to record it was really lovely, actually. I’ve been...