David Daniels is known for his superlative artistry, magnetic stage presence and a voice of singular warmth and surpassing beauty, which have helped him redefine his voice category for the modern public. The American countertenor has appeared with the world’s major opera companies
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.” Gramophone magazine 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.
During the 2010-11 season, David Daniels will return to the Metropolitan Opera in
the title role in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, a production by choreographer Mark Morris, conducted
by Antony Walker. He will also
perform the same work in his debut at the Minnesota Opera, conducted
by Harry Bicket. Mr. Daniels will make a highly anticipated return to the Lyric Opera of Chicago, returning first as Oberon in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream conducted by Rory Macdonald and later in the season as Lichas in Peter Sellars' new production of Handel’s Hercules, conducted by Harry Bicket. In the summer of 2011, Mr. Daniels will return to the Santa Fe Opera
for his role debut as Roberto in Vivaldi’s Griselda, the work’s first major U.S. production by Peter Sellars, conducted by Grant Gershon. Highlights of concert engagements include a San Francisco Bay Area tour of Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater and arias from Giulio Cesare with the Philharmonia Baroque, conducted by Nicholas McGegan as well as a Carnegie Hall concert with soprano Dorothea Röschmann.
Two highly anticipated European recital tours highlighted David Daniels’ 2009-10 season taking him to Frankfurt, Tampere (Finland), Paris, Belgrade, Berlin, London’s Wigmore Hall, and the Prinzregenten-theater in Munich. He returned to Houston Grand Opera as Arsamene in Nicholas Hytner’s renowned production of Handel’s Serse opposite Susan Graham and made his debut with Atlanta Opera in the title role of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice conducted by long-time collaborator Harry Bicket. Concert engagements included a special tour of Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with
the celebrated Canadian orchestra Les Violons du Roy conducted by Bernard Labadie in Montreal, Quebec City, New York City
at Carnegie Hall, and Los Angeles’ Walt Disney Concert Hall. Mr. Daniels collaborated again with Maestro Labadie later in the season in Bach’s St. John Passion for his Chicago Symphony Orchestra debut.
Highly sought after for the works of Handel, Monteverdi, Gluck, Mozart and Britten, David Daniels has been featured on the great operatic stages of the world to overwhelming critical acclaim. Highlights of recent seasons include a reprisal of his portrayal of
Bertarido in Handel’s Rodelinda at the San Francisco Opera, which thrilled audiences at the Metropolitan Opera, his role debut as
Orfeo in the Robert Carsen production at Lyric Opera of Chicago, which he reprised at the Metropolitan Opera and Covent Garden,
his first performances in the title role of Handel’s Orlando at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, and his portrayal as Didymus in Peter Sellars' renowned production of Theodora at the Glyndebourne Festival (available on DVD). Mr. Daniels has also performed opposite Plácido Domingo in the title role in Washington National Opera’s production of Handel’s Tamerlano, which he also sang at the Bayerische Staatsoper. Further Handelian heroes include the title role in Giulio Cesare at the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Glyndebourne Festival, Arsace in Partenope with Vienna’s Theater an der Wien and Lyric Opera of Chicago, the title
role in Radamisto with Santa Fe Opera, and David in Saul with the Bayerische Staatsoper. Other notable roles include Oberon in Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, and Barcelona’s Teatre del Liceu (available on DVD), Ottone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea at Los Angeles Opera opposite Susan Graham, Nerone in the same opera
at the Bayerische Staatsoper, and Farnace in Mozart’s Mitridate at 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 voice type. 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, Atlanta (Spivey Hall), Chicago, Lisbon, Toronto, Vancouver and Washington. His French recital debut was a sold-out performance at the Salle Gaveau in Paris.
In concert, Mr. Daniels recently made his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic in Bach’s b minor Mass and has toured Europe with the Basel Chamber Orchestra and mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená. Also in Europe, Daniels performed works by Bach and Vivaldi
with Fabio Biondi and the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra. He has toured extensively with long-time collaborator Harry Bicket and
The English Concert, performing in London, Toulouse, Vienna, Munich, Vancouver, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City. He made his Philadelphia Orchestra debut under conductor Bernard Labadie, and has sung with the New York Philharmonic and St. Louis and Seattle Symphonies.
David Daniels has worked with many of the most notable conductors and stage directors of our day including James Levine, Sir Andrew Davis, Emmanuelle Haïm, Christophe Rousset, Fabio Biondi, Robert Carsen, David McVicar, Pierre Audi, and David Alden.
An exclusive Virgin Classics recording artist with several critically-acclaimed and best-selling solo albums to his credit, David Daniels’ latest release was a collection of Bach’s Sacred Arias and Cantatas conducted by Harry Bicket with The English Concert. He has also released a recording of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater as well as solo works by the composer in a disc with soprano Dorothea Röschmann and conductor Fabio Biondi. Showing his diverse musical personality, another release featured Berlioz’s song cycle Les Nuits d’été, and also included 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.”
Other recordings 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
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.
Mr. 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.