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 opera and concert stages. Of a recent performance as Prunier in Puccini’s La rondine critics hailed: “When Shirley was onstage it was hard to take one’s eyes off him. He seemed to be constantly moving and the voice is so pure that even in the softer passages he makes a very memorable impression.” This season, he will be performing Beethoven 9 with Seattle Symphony, Of Mice and Men as the Ballad Singer with Austin Opera, Händel’s Messiah with Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra, and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with Firebird Arts Alliance.
In recent engagements, Mr. Shirley appeared in the Madison Opera Overture Anniversary concert, performed the role of Anthony Hope in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, also with Madison Opera, sang the tenor solo in Orff’s dramatic cantata Carmina Burana at Alabama Symphony, Händel’s Messiah with the Milwaukee Symphony, Carboy in The Zoo for Odyssey Opera and performed C.P.E Bach’s Magnificat with the Choral Society of Durham.
Mr. Shirley is a rising star on concert and recital stages throughout the United States. Recent concert engagements include Jonathan Willcocks’ A Great and Glorious Victory in his Carnegie Hall début, tenor soloist in Israel in Egypt and Mozart’s Coronation Mass with Chicago’s Music of the Baroque, the tenor solo in Carmina Burana with the Seattle Symphony, Eurimaco in Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria with Boston Baroque, and the tenor solo in Händel’s Messiah with Pacific Symphony.
Also in demand on opera stages, Mr. Shirley made his début with New York City Opera covering The Prologue/Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw, sang Steuermann in Der fliegende Holländer with Michigan Opera Theatre, Acis in Acis and Galatea with Madison Opera, Will Tweedy in Carlisle Floyd’s Cold Sassy Tree with Sugar Creek Symphony and Song, and Nanki-Poo in The Mikado with Opera Memphis. Other roles in Shirley’s repertoire include Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Fenton in Falstaff, Ferrando in Così fan tutte, and the title role in Candide.
As a young artist with Florida Grand Opera he performed Prunier in La rondine, Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette, and covered Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni. Of his recent performance as Tybalt, it was said that “his pure and solid tone indicated that he might have had the equipment to be effective in the title role.” As an apprentice artist with Santa Fe Opera, he was engaged for a production of Griselda.
Mr. Shirley was recently 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 València, Spain. Additional performances have included Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor with Arbor Opera Theater; Sam Polk in Susannah and Larry/Matt in The Face on the Barroom Floor at Central City Opera, where he served as a 2008 Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Apprentice Artist; plus various engagements with Mississippi Opera and Opera Memphis as an Artist-in-Residence.
A passionate concert artist, Mr. Shirley has been lauded for his interpretations of the major works of the sacred canon. He débuted with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra as soloist in Haydn’s St. Nicholas Mass. He has performed Händel’s Messiah with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra and with choral and symphonic organizations throughout the Midwest; Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Lafayette Bach Singers; Bach’s Matthäus-Passion and Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with the Bloomington Chamber Singers; Bach’s Mass in B Minor with the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic; and Haydn’s Creation as a guest artist of St. Joseph College in Indiana. He also joined oboist Elizabeth Robertson for 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 Dayton Opera Guild. His voice instructors have included tenor Jason Ferrante and mezzo-soprano Patricia Stiles of Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, where he earned a Master of Music degree in Voice. While there, he performed a variety of roles including two significant premières: Dino in the collegiate première of William Bolcom’s A Wedding, and Joe Crowell in the world première of Ned Rorem’s Our Town. With the university’s Pro Arte ensemble, he was honored to sing in the world première of John Harbison’s A Clear Midnight. He holds a Bachelor of Music from Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, where he appeared as the Lover in Menotti’s Amelia Goes to the Ball.