Magazine article Opera Canada

Daniel Taylor. (on Stage)

Magazine article Opera Canada

Daniel Taylor. (on Stage)

Article excerpt

At a boyish 31, Daniel Taylor is in his prime. Averaging about 100 performances a year, he is among today's dozen or so most sought-after countertenors. His performances have been well received by audiences from New York to London and Tokyo, and his discography stands at an impressive 30 CDs and growing.

For an artist in the thick of a successful international career, Taylor is pleasantly unassuming and mild-mannered. Articulate and insightful, his demeanor belles the strong passion and conviction he feels about his work. "I am very focused on trying to get at the core of what I do," he says. "In performance, I think little about technique, but much more about the emotional content, the words and the connection to the music."

This spring, Taylor brings his distinctive brand of artistry to the Canadian Opera Company, where he makes his company debut in Handel's Giulio Cesare. Originally scheduled for Sesto, a casting change led to him switching roles with American countertenor Brian Azawa, who takes over Sesto, with Taylor reverting to the villain, Tolomeo, a role he has sung previously with Rome Opera. Often typecast as the hero, Taylor finds Tolomeo an interesting challenge. "It draws me out of myself," he says, "out of the characters I identify with more easily." His debut in the Met production of Giulio Cesare a few years ago was in the secondary role of Nireno, which he will sing with San Francisco Opera this season, along with Tolomeo. However, he will sing Sesto in 2004-5, and has even received offers for Cesare, a role he feels he is not yet ready to tackle. However, it is only a matter of time before he goes through all the principal roles in this opera-"Well, maybe not Cleopatra," he says, laughing. "But I might steal an aria or two from Cornelia."

For now, Tolomeo gives him a chance to work with colleagues he admires. In addition to Azawa, he will sing opposite the Cesare of Polish contralto Ewa Podles, Isabel Bayrakdarian's Cleopatra and the Cornelia of MarieNicole Lemieux. A few years ago, Taylor sang m his first production of Rinaldo with Cecilia Bartoli, where Podles was the Rinaldo. "You could say hers is a different style of Baroque singing, but I respect so much what she does."

A native of Ottawa, Taylor grew up singing treble in St. Matthew Anglican Church. "When my voice broke, I sang in the bass section next to Gerald Finley. …

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