February 25, 2002

Contact: Sarah Ray
Posted: February 25, 2002 Praise for David Daniels

"King of the countertenors"
---USA Today

"The sensual countertenor … there’s a tremendous physicality to Daniels’ thrillingly fast vibrato, an elusive sense of the anima,
the female,the androgyne."

MIDDLEBURY, VT - David Daniels possesses a voice that is nothing short of remarkable. Somewhere between tenor and mezzo-soprano lies the sound of a countertenor—a unique musical role on which Daniels’ work is shining a spotlight and, in the process, dazzling opera, recital and concert audiences around the world. Accompanied by pianist Martin Katz, Daniels will perform in a Vermont recital at Middlebury College at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 17, in the Concert Hall of the Center for the Arts (CFA) on South Main Street (Route 30). An informal reception sponsored by GLEAM (Gay & Lesbian Employees at Middlebury) will take place in the CFA lobby immediately after the concert.

Daniels’ United States tour follows a highly successful fall season in Europe where he performed with the Netherlands Opera, and across Eastern Europe with Europa Galante, an award-winning chamber orchestra. Last fall, he won the Gramophone Editor’s Choice Award for Album of the Year and a Diapason D’Or—both for his performance in the title role on Decca’s release of Handel’s "Rinaldo."

Daniels’ recital performances feature music by Handel and Poulenc as well as new selections, including the world premier of a song cycle he commissioned from composer Theodore Morrison who first met him as a student at the University of Michigan School of Music where Daniels sang as a tenor. It was there in 1992 that Daniels emerged as a countertenor, a place where he said he always knew his voice belonged. "I knew a great and profound artist had arrived and would soon appear on the world stage," Morrison said.

Daniels’ sound has been described as uncommonly compelling—powerfully feminine in a very masculine package. The New Yorker said it has a "striking allure" that inspires "complicated reactions" in an audience. "More than one opera fan has remarked on the somewhat disquieting prospect that the much sought-after ‘next Pavarotti’ may turn out to be a young man with tremendous onstage bravado who stirs inarticulate passions by singing very much like a woman."

New York Magazine put it this way: "one hears a voice of remarkable purity and tonal beauty along with a command of style and color that any singer would kill for."

Daniels bristles at the term falsetto that is used to describe his technique. He said it’s technically correct but that there’s nothing false about his sound. He calls it a gift. "It’s my voice. It’s me. It’s the way I was meant to produce a singing voice."

Indeed, in less than a decade, the South Carolina native and son of two voice teachers earned a 1999 Grammy nomination for his first disc of Handel arias on Virgin/EMI and two awards: Musical America’s 1999 Vocalist of the Year and the 1997 Richard Tucker Award, which is awarded annually by the New York City-based Richard Tucker Music Foundation to an American singer poised at the start of a major national and international career.

Daniels’ operatic credits include his 1999 debut with the Metropolitan Opera as Sesto in "Giulio Cesare." Other roles have taken him to Zurich, London, Cologne, San Francisco and Chicago. He has given recitals in Paris, London, Munich, Barcelona, Edinburgh, St. Louis and Boston.

His recordings include arias by Mozart, Gluck and Handel as well as cantatas by Scarlatti and a live recording from the Bavarian State Opera.

Like Daniels, Katz has received awards and praise. "Martin Katz must surely be considered the dean of collaborative pianists," declared the Los Angeles Times during the 2000-2001 season. In 1999, the publication Musical America created a new award for him: Accompanist of the Year.

Daniels’ Vermont performance is sponsored by the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $8 for seniors. For tickets and information, contact the College box office at 802-443-6433. The post-concert reception is free and open to the public.