“Tenor Daniel Shirley’s articulate delivery was to the Handelian manner born.” – Chicago Tribune
Championing a diverse and challenging repertoire which spans from the early Baroque to the avant-garde, tenor Daniel Shirley is emerging as an audience favorite on the opera and concert stages. Highlights of the 2012-13 season include debuts with Madison Opera as Acis in Acis and Galatea, Distinguished Concerts International – New York in Jonathan Willcocks’ A Great and Glorious Victory (*Carnegie Hall debut*), New York City Opera as cover for Prologue/Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw, and Sugar Creek Symphony and Song as Will Tweedy in Carlisle Floyd’s Cold Sassy Tree. He was recognized by the William Matheus Sullivan Foundation with a Career Development Grant, and was a finalist for the George London Foundation awards. Daniel will be featured with Chicago’s Music of the Baroque throughout the season, most notably as tenor soloist in Israel in Egypt.
The 2013-14 season will bring debuts with Michigan Opera Theater in Der Fliegende Holländer, the Pacific Symphony in Messiah, Opera Memphis in The Mikado, the Seattle Symphony in Carmina Burana, and Boston Baroque in Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria.
As a young artist with Florida Grand Opera from 2010 to 2012, he performed Prunier in La Rondine and Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette, and covered Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni. His Prunier was noted for a vocal delivery “so pure, that even in the softer passages he makes a very memorable impression,” and his Tybalt for a “hot-headed, on target performance” with “pure and solid tone.” As a 2009 and 2011 apprentice artist with Santa Fe Opera, Daniel covered Gualtiero in Griselda and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni.
Past engagements have included Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor with Arbor Opera Theater, Sam Polk in the family performance of Susannah with Central City Opera (as a Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Apprentice Artist), and his professional operatic debut as Don Curzio in The Marriage of Figaro with Chautauqua Opera (as a Studio Artist). Daniel has been featured in concerts with Mississippi Opera and Opera Memphis, and was invited by Maestro Frédéric Chaslin to record the role of Edgar in his new opera Wuthering Heights with the orchestra of the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia.
He has been lauded for his interpretations of Handel, Mozart, and Britten, and is adding the operettas of Gilbert & Sullivan, the music theater masterpieces Candide and West Side Story, and the Bach Evangelists to his repertoire.
A passionate concert artist, Shirley debuted with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra during December 2009 as soloist in Haydn’s St. Nicholas Mass. He has sung Messiah with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra and with choral and symphonic organizations throughout the Midwest, Elijah with the Lafayette Bach Singers, the Matthäus-Passion and Mozart Mass in c minor with the Bloomington Chamber Singers, Bach Mass in b minor with the Columbus, Indiana Philharmonic, and Haydn Creation as a guest artist of St. Joseph College in Indiana. He also joined oboist Elizabeth Robertson for the Vaughan Williams Ten Blake Songs on her album ‘Oboe Serenade.’
In addition to the Sullivan and London Foundations, Shirley is the recipient of awards from the Anna Sosenko Trust, the National Society of Arts and Letters, Central City Opera, the Orpheus National Vocal Competition, Chautauqua Opera, and the Dayton Opera Guild.
While a graduate student at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, he sang a variety of roles including two significant premieres: Dino in the collegiate premiere of William Bolcom’s A Wedding, and Joe Crowell in the world premiere of Ned Rorem’s Our Town. With the university’s Pro Arte ensemble, he was honored to sing in the world premiere of John Harbison’s A Clear Midnight. He holds a Bachelor of Music from the Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music.
Daniel is a native of Jackson, Mississippi. He and his wife, soprano Caitlin Shirley, reside in Chicago.