David Daniels (countertenor)

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David Daniels
Born (1966-03-12) 12 March 1966 (age 48)
Years active 1992–present

David Daniels (born 12 March 1966) is an American countertenor.


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. His father, Perry Daniels, was one of the pre-eminent members of the performing faculty during each summer at Brevard Music Center, linked to the School of Music at Converse College in Spartanburg. Daniels studied music at the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. Dissatisfied with his achievements as a tenor, Daniels switched to singing countertenor during graduate studies at the University of Michigan (M.M. 1992) under the guidance of his teacher, George Shirley.

Professional career[edit]

Daniels in concert with the U. S. Army Chorus and Orchestra

Daniels made his professional singing debut in 1992. In 1997, he won the Richard Tucker Award. In 1999, he made his debut with the Metropolitan Opera, as Sesto in Giulio Cesare.

His repertoire has grown to include other major Handel roles, including Arsace in the comedy Partenope at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and San Francisco Opera in 2014; the title role in Tamerlano; and Arsamene in Xerxes. At the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Daniels played the title roles in Rinaldo and Orlando, as well as David in Saul. He also interpreted Ottone in Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea. In Vivaldi's opera Bajazet, he sang the role of Tamerlano. In 2013, he sang the title role in "Giulio Cesare" at the Metropolitan Opera.

Daniels has also branched out from the baroque roles usually associated with counter-tenors to include Oberon in Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Metropolitan Opera, and as Orfeo in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. In July 2013 he will sing the role of Oscar Wilde in Oscar, the world premiere of a new opera which has been written for him by Theodore Morrison and which will be presented by The Santa Fe Opera and subsequently by Opera Philadelphia in 2015.[1]

Art songs[edit]

In addition to his operatic work, Daniels also gives regular recitals, for which he has developed a repertoire that includes 19th- and 20th-century art songs not usually associated with countertenors, including works by such composers as Berlioz and Poulenc.

Personal life[edit]

Daniels, who is gay,[2] was married to his partner (now husband) Scott Walters on June 21, 2014 by United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.[citation needed]



  1. ^ David Daniels, "More on OSCAR" on theodoremorrisonmusic.com. Retrieved 22 March 2013
  2. ^ Kettle, Martin (23 August 2001). "Edinburgh festival". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 October 2014. 

External links[edit]