Grandson of Roberto De Simone (stage and film actor), began studying piano at age six. In 1946 he enrolled at the Conservatory of San Pietro a Majella in Naples to fifteen years performing the Concerto for piano and orchestra K. 466 by Mozart, for which he also wrote the cadenzas. Later, with the performance of Concerto No. 3 in C Minor for piano and orchestra by Beethoven, is listed as one of the most deserving students of Italian conservatives and is chosen to participate in the National Award named after Giuseppe Martucci, where it ranks among the top finishers.
In 1957 he began a concert career that alternates with popular searches expressiveness of Campania, with a side business as a composer and musicologist. Leaves after the concert and studies - enrolled at the faculty of Humanities at the University of Naples Federico II - to focus solely on the musician and the deepening of Campania popular traditions.
Belong to this period the music written for television shows and theater of Sophocles' Oedipus the King, The Long Night of Medea, directed by Corrado Alvaro Maurizio Scaparro, I Raffaele Viviani Achille Millo, History of the Camorra, played on Rai TV drama in the 1978.
In recent years began working with the Autunno Musicale Napoletano as a substitute teacher and harpsichordist of the Orchestra Scarlatti.
In 1967 the meeting with a group of young people interested in a new proposal of popular music, Giovanni Mauriello, Eugenio Bennato and Carlo d'Angiò. With them he led to the creation of the Nuova Compagnia di Canto Popolare, which becomes the facilitator, the researcher and the maker of musical materials.
Roberto De Simone's experience that lives from 1967 to 1974 with Nuova Compagnia di canto popolare has a twofold importance: on the one hand we can find enclosed some of the key elements of his way to the theater, on the other you can find in it a new way of conceiving and proposing popular music.
He stands as the first objective the recovery and the re-proposal of the cultural, theatrical and musical tradition of the popular music in Campania, both oral and written. The popular repertoire is not repeated in an arbitrary manner, but resting on cultured systems such as writing and processing metrics. A work of this kind involves a real research on the field, De Simone, and the elements of the group should, in fact, to investigate during the popular festivals, gathering interviews in villages of the field, to find traces where the tradition has already been lost. Meanwhile, attention is also paid to the document classical tradition: material library, articles, as well as essays on past forms of Villanelle, Laudi and Strambotti absolutely necessary for the recovery and re-enactment of the traditional music of the Campania region.
After a period of exclusive musical activity, the group emphasizes the progressive nature of his theatrical performances, so in 1974 it presented at the Teatro San Ferdinando di Napoli a rereading of the Cantata dei Pastori of Andrea Perrucci and in 1976 they present La Gatta Cenerentola work written and to musicated by De Simone, who will determine the success but also the breaking of relations with some members of the NCCP.
After the experience with the NCCP, Roberto De Simone continues his work of renewal through a closer collaboration with the group of artists Media Aetas, which finds Virgilio Villani, former star of the wonderful Gatta Cenerentola and of Masaniello; with Media Aetas the research don't start from the folklore of oral culture but from a historical basis.
In addition to the masterpieces La Gatta Cenerentola (1976, 1985, 1989, 1998) directed by Dominico Virgili and L'Opera Buffa of Del Giovedì Santo (1980, revived in 1999), among his finest performances would include Masaniello (1975), Mistero Napolitano (1977), La Festa di Piedigrotta (1978), Li Zite 'ngalera (1978), Eden Theatre of Raffaele Viviani (1981), La Lucilla Costante di Silvio Fiorillo (1982), Il Bazzariota, or the lady of the good humor of Dominico Macchia (1983), Le Religiose alla moda di Gioacchino Dandolo (1984), Cantata per Masaniello (1988), Le Tarantelle del Rimorso (1992), The 99 disgrazie di Pulcinella (1994), Le Cantatrici Villane di Valentino Fioravanti (1998) , L'impresario in Angustie (2001).
As a composer De Simone writes, among others, il Requiem in memory of Pier Paolo Pasolini (1985), l'oratorio Lauda Intorno allo Stabat (1985), I Carmina Vivianea (1987), la Festa Teatrale composed for the 250º anniversary of San Carlo theater of Naples (1987), the melodrama Mistero e processo di Giovanna d'Arco (1989), the dramatic cantata Populorum Progressio (1994), the choral music for the Agamennone of Eschilo (1995), the Canto de li Cunti (1990), Eleonora, opera composed for the bicentennial the Neapolitan revolution (1999), Il Re Bello, opera (2004).
He also works on the music of the Eugenio Bennato's album
Non farti cadere le braccia.
He also edited and directed dozens of operas for the major theaters around the world. The cornerstones of his repertoire in this area is the sum of productions of works by Mozart (Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, Idomeneo and The Magic Flute also that inaugurated the theater season at La Scala in 1990 and 1995), Giuseppe Verdi (Macbeth, Falstaff and Nabucco, which opened the season at La Scala in 1986), works by Gioacchino Rossini (remember Cinderella and The Italian Girl in Algiers), and those of Pergolesi (La serva mistress). In recent years, is involved with the shows Cholera (2003) and The King Bello (Politeama Theatre in Prato and Florence's Teatro della Pergola in 2004). Recently built and There we give you the hand (2007), Mozart's disguise in two stages.