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David Daniels

  • Countertenor


David Daniels: The renouned American countertenor has appeared with the world's major opera companies and on its main concert and recital stages. He made history as the first countertenor to give a solo recital in the main auditorium of Carnegie Hall. The Chicago Tribune has called Daniels "today's gold standard among countertenors."
The Gramophone magazine recently acknowledged his contribution to recorded excellence as well as his expansion of the repertoire for his voice type by naming him one of the "Top Ten Trailblazers" in classical music today. Photo: © Jillian Edelstein / Virgin Classics The title role in Giulio Cesare figures prominently in Mr. Daniels's 2006-2007 season, when he returns to Glyndebourne to step into David McVicar's spectacular production conducted by Emanuelle Haïm; later this season he also sings the role for the first time at the Metropolitan Opera.
A highlight of Mr. Daniels season will be the premiere of a new monologue commissioned by the BBC Symphony from the fast-rising British composer, Jonathan Dove which will be premiered in London in September. He will return to the Los Angeles Opera as Ottone in Monterverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea opposite Susan Graham. In concert Mr. Daniels makes his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic performing Bach's b minor mass, conducted by Sir Roger Norrington. Other European orchestra engagements include a tour with the Le Point du Jour ensemble which will be heard in Paris, London, Berlin, as well as several other European cities. Other important American orchestral engagements include concerts with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the Seattle Symphony. A further seasonal highlight is a new production of Gluck's Orfeo at the Metropolitan Opera directed by Mark Morris and conducted by James Levine.
David Daniels began his 2005-2006 season at the San Francisco Opera, reprising his portrayal of Bertarido in Handel's Rodelinda, which won critical acclaim and thrilled audiences at the Metropolitan Opera earlier in 2005. "Mr. Daniels earned well-deserved ovations for his portrayal of Bertarido," raved the New York Times. "He makes the countertenor voice seem the most natural sound imaginable. His rich, plaintive, virile and virtuosic singing and his commanding stage presence were captivating in every aria." Other opera appearances that season included his role debut as Orfeo in the Lyric Opera of Chicago's Robert Carsen production of Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, and his first performances in the title role of Handel's Orlando at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich. Mr. Daniels sang recitals in Madrid and Barcelona.
Mr. Daniels also toured Europe with the Basel Chamber Orchestra and mezzo-soprano Magdalena KoŃ›ená, and in January he made his Philadelphia Orchestra debut under conductor Bernard Labadie. David Daniels in Rinaldo, Munich, 2000 Photo © Wilfried Hösl Mr. Daniels began the prior season with performances at three of New York City's most renowned venues. He performed with the Orchestra of St. Luke's in the main auditorium of Carnegie Hall, and with St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble in Carnegie's underground Zankel Hall. Mr. Daniels returned to the Metropolitan Opera to make his triumphant role debut as Bertarido in Handel's Rodelinda. Other cities on Daniels's itinerary during the season included Chicago, for the Lyric Opera's 50th anniversary gala, Boston, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. In Europe, Daniels performed works by Bach and Vivaldi with Fabio Biondi, sang Oberon in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream at Barcelona's Teatre del Liceu (recently released on DVD), and played Farnace in Mozart's early opera Mitridate re di Ponto at London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
As much at home in recital as on the opera stage, David Daniels has won admiration for his performances of extensive concert and art song repertoire, including song literature of the 19th and 20th centuries not usually associated with his type of voice. Following his Carnegie Hall recital debut in 2002, the New York Times reported, "There was a sense of occasion in the air, and he didn't disappoint. This was a compelling, even exhilarating recital, covering a wide range of bases in six distinctive sets." Daniels has given recitals at London's Wigmore Hall, New York's Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall and Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center; at Munich's Prinzregententheater and Vienna's Konzerthaus; in Barcelona's Teatre del Liceu; at the Edinburgh, Tanglewood and Ravinia Festivals; as well as in Ann Arbor, Chicago, Lisbon, Toronto, Vancouver and Washington. His French recital debut was a sold-out performance at the Salle Gaveau in Paris. Daniels has impressed audiences with his interpretation of an array of Handelian heroes, including Giulio Cesare. He has sung Arsace in the comedy Partenope at Lyric Opera of Chicago; the title role in Tamerlano; Arsamene in Xerxes; and two roles at Munich's Bavarian State Opera, where he is a company favorite: David in Saul and the title role in Rinaldo.
Other notable Baroque credits include Nerone in Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea, and Orfeo in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice at Covent Garden. Mr. Daniels has also performed as Oberon in Britten's Midsummer Night's Dream at the Metropolitan Opera. David Daniels is an exclusive Virgin Classics recording artist, with several critically-acclaimed and best-selling solo albums to his credit. His latest critically applauded release features Berlioz's song cycle Les Nuits d'été, and also includes songs by Ravel and Fauré. The New York Times wrote, "The term 'countertenor star' used to be an oxymoron, but David Daniels, for one, has made it a reality. There's no faulting his artistry. He has an unusually round, warm sound. He certainly knows his instrument."
Past years' releases include A Quiet Thing (with guitarist Craig Ogden), and a recording of Handel's Rinaldo on the Decca label in which he sang the title role opposite Cecilia Bartoli, and which received a Gramophone Editor's Choice Album of the Year award in 2002. His debut disc was Handel: Opera Arias conducted by Sir Roger Norrington, followed by Sento Amor, with arias by Mozart, Gluck and Handel, and Serenade, a recital of songs by Beethoven, Gounod, Poulenc, Schubert and others with his frequent piano partner Martin Katz. Honored by the music world for his unique achievements, David Daniels has been the recipient of two of classical music's most significant awards: Musical America's Vocalist of the Year for 1999 and the 1997 Richard Tucker Award. Daniels was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the son of two singing teachers. He began to sing as a boy soprano, moving to tenor as his voice matured, and earned an undergraduate degree from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Dissatisfied with his achievements as a tenor, David Daniels made the daring switch to the countertenor range during graduate studies at the University of Michigan with George Shirley.