David Daniels

SF Opera's Partenope

 Sfopera-partenope-acti-2014* Notes * 
Christopher Alden's delightfully humorous production of Partenope opened at San Francisco Opera last night. The stylish set (Act I pictured left, photograph by Cory Weaver), designed by Andrew Lieberman, was enhanced by Adam Silverman's lighting. Costume designer Jon Morrell did a wonderful job evoking 1920s Paris and Man Ray. The staging matches the absurdity of the plot rather well, embracing silliness with use of bananas, dancing, and hand shadow puppetry. It was refreshing to see something a little less sedate than the other offerings of the 2014-2015 season so far.

The reduced orchestra of only 39 musicians sounded fresh and vital under Maestro Julian Wachner. The horns had a rough start but in the end managed to sound sublime. The continuo was played beautifully by the conductor and Peter Grunberg on harpsichord, cellist David Kadarauch, and theorbist Michael Leopold.

The most of the singers employed much physicality in their performances. Philippe Sly danced foppishly and sang with warm effortlessness. His outrageous costume in Act III involved a puffy pink flowered gown, red evening gloves, and a Pickelhaube festooned with bananas. Anthony Roth Costanzo was an endearing Armindo who managed to sing his first aria ("Voglio dire al mio tesoro") while falling down or hanging on to stairs. He also tap danced during "Ma quai note di mesti lamenti" in Act III. The clarity of his voice came through despite all these antics.  Alek Shrader's tenor sounded robust, and as Emilio he put on a hand puppet show that was amusing and engaging.

* Tattling * 
Our neighbors in Box I introduced themselves and shared a chocolate strawberry with us. There was a confrontation between a man at the back of Box H with a woman who showed up in the middle of Act II. He suggested that she did not have a ticket for Seat 4 and mentioned she had not been there for the first third of the performance.

Pergolesi's Stabat Mater at PBO

Carolyn_Sampson_cr_Marco_Borggreve* Notes * 
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra's 2013-2014 season opened with a set of performances entitled "Pergolesi in Naples." The San Francisco performance was held at the SFJAZZ Center, which has an intimate feel and a dry, crackly acoustic. Maestro Nicholas McGegan described Pergolesi's Sinfonia from L'Olimpiade as having "vim and spritz," the Händel duets and arias as being "jolly and miserable" in turn, Durante's Concerto for Strings No. 2 in G minor as "chromatic and slithery," and explained that Pergolesi wrote his Stabat Mater just before he died at the age of 26. The playing sounded a bit harsher and less resonant in this venue compared to the Herbst Theatre or First Congregational, but is a far more comfortable than the former as far as seating and air flow. McGegan has his own very distinctive cheerful style and the orchestra still sounded jaunty and lilting.

I enjoyed hearing the Händel played by this orchestra, as there was never a dull moment. Though I know the pieces quite well, having heard Rodelinda and Giulio Cesare live on multiple occasions, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra brought a certain freshness to them. Soprano Carolyn Sampson (pictured above, photograph by Marco Borggreve) and countertenor David Daniels blended nicely in "Io t'abbraccio." They clearly listened to each other. Daniels sounded fairly hearty in this space, and did not have to employ much vibrato. Sampson was delightful in "Da tempeste," and it would be great to hear her sing the entire role of Cleopatra. Her voice has a sultry warmth but sparkling high notes.

The Stabat Mater was exuberant, the light music is mostly happy with a few moments of seriousness, and then rather triumphant. The orchestra never overwhelmed the singers. The singing went smoothly.

* Tattling * 
One of the ushers behind us in Row M seemed to speak at full-volume even when musicians were playing quietly. There was also some sort of incident with a microphone during the Presto of Durante's Concerto.

Giulio Cesare at The Met

Giuliocesare_10052s* Notes *
David McVicar's production of Giulio Cesare (Act III pictured left, photograph by Marty Sohl) had a fourth performance at the Metropolitan Opera last night. Having attended no less than six performances of the Met's previous production, it was nice to see that McVicar's offering is much less staid. The shifts in costumes must have been confusing for those not familiar with the music, especially if one was seated far from the stage. Cleopatra, for instance, had everything from a long braid to a bob. The set, designed by Robert Jones, is both quite simple, in that it is transformed using sumptuous cloths, and elaborate, given the mechanized seascape used as a background. Andrew George's campy choreography is a delight. There were many dance moves that I will be practicing at home to Händel's music for hours to come. The more serious scenes did not come off as nicely, Cornelia's blood lust in Act III was alarming, and hearing audience members laugh at this even more so.

Maestro Harry Bicket kept the orchestra in line, neat and square. Having the violin soloist on stage for Act II's "Se in fiorito ameno prato" was charming. One of the horns in the finale did not play particularly well, but the horn soloist made very few errors during "Va tacito e nascosto." The chorus, relegated to the pit, sang well as usual. Guido Loconsolo (Achilla) sounded gritty. Christophe Dumaux (Tolomeo) continues to improve as a singer, he is an excellent villain. His voice tends toward pretty and girlish, but he was able to convey the cruelty of his character. Alice Coote's voice contrasted perfectly with Patricia Bardon's, though both are mezzo-sopranos. Coote gasped slightly as Sesto, but was sweet and light, yet still had good volume. Bardon sang a rich, deep, and tragic Cornelia. The gravity of her role is a bit at odds with the production.

Natalie Dessay seemed to be giving the role of Cleopatra her all. She is fully committed to all her movements, and she is a pleasure to watch. She is vocally less consistent, there is an undercurrent of frog-like ugliness to her sound. Her high tessitura can glitter without any harshness, but there were times when her voice seemed to disappear. One of her notes in "V'adoro pupille" was rather strange and out of place. However, her "Piangerò la sorte mia" was lovely. David Daniels was perfectly fine as Giulio Cesare, his singing is robust, though he does have a lot of vibrato. There is a certain smoothness to the transitions between different parts of his voice.

* Tattling *
There were some problems with the white curtains during "Tu la mia stella sei."

In Family Circle there were many watch alarms at each hour and people chatted during the music.

Rinaldo at Lyric Opera of Chicago


* Notes *
A new production of Rinaldo (Act II, Scene 3 pictured left, photograph by Dan Rest/Lyric Opera of Chicago) concludes Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2011-2012 season. The Sunday matinée performance was nothing if not entertaining. Director Francisco Negrin created his own little circus within Handel's music, an internally consistent world whose elements all work together. The set, by Louis Désiré, involves a monolithic word scramble reading "Gerusalemme," glass panels that can be lit white or red, and an enormous piano-shaped box. Désiré's costumes are likewise striking and odd. Ana Yepes's choreography is amusing and was performed cleanly.

Harry Bicket conducted a rather dry performance from the orchestra. The keyboard solo from Jory Vinikour at the end of Act II was strong. Musically, one of the most interesting parts of the afternoon was during "Or la tromba," when the trumpet almost flubbed a note, but recovered magnificently.

Much of the singing was good, though not always historically informed. Iestyn Davies sounded bright as Eustazio, his fast notes lack deftness, but his timbre is pretty. Sonia Prina's vibrato was distracting at times, she tends to overdo the machismo for trouser roles, and her Goffredo was not an exception. She did rein in the bluster for "Sorge nel petto," which she sang nicely. The pleasant lightness of Luca Pisaroni's voice may not have been perfect for the wicked Argante, but his acting and movements were effective.

Elza van den Heever was a compelling Armida. Her voice is gorgeous and powerful, perhaps a tad heavy for Baroque repertoire. She had the meatiest role as far as direction was concerned, and certainly made the most of this. Julia Kleiter made for a cute, sweet Almirena, she started off sounding a bit breathy but improved as the performance progressed. In the title role, David Daniels also had a shaky start, especially at the beginning of "Cara sposa."

* Tattling *
The audience seemed engaged with the performance. There was some light talking in the dress circle, but not a lot of electronic noise.

Enchanted Island Live in HD Met Simulcast


 * Notes *
The Metropolatian Opera's new Baroque pastiche, The Enchanted Island, was shown as a simulcast yesterday. The English libretto, created by Jeremy Sams, uses characters from Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night Dream and The Tempest. "Arise, ye subterranean winds" from The Tempest, or, The Enchanted Island, which has been attributed to Purcell, was the only piece from this work. The score starts off with the overture from Alcina, and employs 26 other pieces by Händel, the majority of these from his operas and oratorios. The rest of the music is mostly Vivaldi and Rameau. Arias from André Campra's Idoménée and Jean-Marie Leclair's Scylla et Glaucus were included, along with dance music from Jean-Féry Rebel's Les Éléments, and a cantata from Giovanni Battista Ferrandini. It was a rather entertaining spectacle, and the music held together fairly well. I was disoriented at times by pieces I knew, as they had such different texts, but it was not unpleasant as much as vaguely dizzying.

Phelim McDermott's production has a lot of charm, in no small part because of the detailed set by Julian Crouch. The proscenium reminded me of H. R. Giger or Steampunk, and some of the projections used were rather ornate. Though some of the trees and roots looked inelegantly bulbous, overall, the aesthetic sense was consistent and attractive.

The orchestra sounded clean and speedy under William Christie. There were times when the singers were slightly behind. The quartet "Days of pleasure, nights of love" in Act I sounded somewhat chaotic, though all the singers had lovely voices. Luca Pisaroni made for a light, reedy Caliban, his lightly accented English was perfectly comprehensible. Plácido Domingo made two stunning entrances as Neptune, but his diction was less than clear. Anthony Roth Costanzo's Ferdinand sounded bright and winsome. Lisette Oropesa's Miranda was likewise pretty and mincing. Danielle de Niese acted Ariel with utter conviction, sprightly and breathy. David Daniels was strong as Prospero, and seemed as robust as ever. Joyce DiDonato (pictured above, photograph by Ken Howard) was splendid as Sycorax, her voice nimble, but she seemed unafraid to create ugly sounds when necessary.

* Tattling *
The placement of one of the microphones picked up the sound of objects striking the stage all too clearly on at least three occasions.

Serse Log

San Francisco Opera's Serse (Michael Sumuel and Heidi Stober pictured in the first image below, Susan Graham and Lisette Oropesa pictured in the second; photographs by Cory Weaver) just finished a run of six performances last Saturday.

31. October 2011: Opening
Media Round-Up

4. November 2011: From Orchestra Standing Room
Opera Tattler Review


8. November 2011: From Balcony Standing Room
* The audience clapped during the overture as the characters were presented in turn.
* The playing was clear.
* Lisette Oropesa got slightly behind during her aria at the end of Act I. Her breath control is incredible and she did not push her high notes.
* The bridge did not collapse before Elviro's Act II arietta, "Del mio caro baco amabile."

11. November 2011: Reading the Score
* The ornamentation is simple and elegant.
* All the repeats, da capos, and dal segnos are taken.
* There were a few times where the orchestra was a bit ahead of the singing.
* A few of Susan Graham's low notes did not float as beautifully as the others, but overall she is just an amazing singer.


16. November 2011: From Box V
* Noted that the President of the San Francisco Opera Association was present.
* There were a couple transitions in Act I that went so quickly that Maestro Summers held his baton in his mouth as he played harpsichord.
* Both Heidi Stober and the flautist sounded especially lovely in "Un cenno leggiadretto."
* The leap that Michael Sumuel before his clicking his heels ("Del mio caro baco amabile") was impressive.
* The box subscribers in U talked at times during the music. Four women (clearly not subscribers) in Box X were even worse, talking, using cellular phones, and moving to Box Z in the middle of Act II. They did not return for Act III.

19. November 2011: Orchestra Level Row P Seat 4
* There was clapping during the overture again, and my companion even joined in out of spite.
* The person in P 124 was ill-behaved. Not only did his cellular phone ring between the recitative and "Ombra ma fui," he very loudly opened a cough drop during Act I. He did not return for Act III.
* Another phone rang during Ariodate's Act I aria, from the north side of the Orchestra Level.
* The couple in R 116 and 118 must have been late, because there was no talking from that area in Act I. They talked for much of the rest of the opera, especially when David Daniels was singing.
* Though the audience was incredibly obnoxious this evening, the singing and playing was a delight. There was a wonderful ease to the proceedings, and it seemed that everyone was having a great time.

Serse at San Francisco Opera

Xerxes-graham-oropesa* Notes *
Händel's Serse (Act III pictured left, photograph by Cory Weaver) had an impressive second performance last night at San Francisco Opera. The English National Opera production at hand premiered in 1985, yet is still as fresh and comedic as ever. This was helped by the deft, transparent playing from the orchestra. The brass was particularly lucid. Maestro Patrick Summers kept the music moving fluidly, sometimes just a bit faster than the singers. The statue chorus was also charming.

The singing was lovely all around. Michael Sumuel was exceedingly amusing as Elviro, and his warm voice was a welcome contrast with all the high voices in this opera. Wayne Tigges was a pompous, silly Ariodate, but never unsympathetic. Heidi Stober was delightful as the unloved, conniving Atalante. Her voice is bright and rich. Sonia Prina too has pretty resonances in her voice, but could have perhaps sung more smoothly. She did play Amastre with the right amount of bluster. Lisette Oropesa was a restrained and elegant Romilda, her voice is cold and pretty, and she only pushed it too hard during the last note of one aria in Act II. David Daniels (Arsamenes) cut a fine figure, and sang well, with good volume. Susan Graham was most impressive in the title role, sounding clear toned and moving with a beautiful ease.

* Tattling * 
For the most part the audience was silent. There was some talking amidst latecomers and ushers at the beginnings of Acts I and II. At least one watch alarm sounded at 8pm. Someone stood behind me during "Più che penso alle fiamme del core" and jingled the change in his pocket with the music.

A Preview of SF Opera's Serse

Sfopera-xerxes-acti* Notes * 
Händel's Serse (Act I pictured left, photograph by Cory Weaver) opens this afternoon at San Francisco Opera, and I for one am quite sad not to attend. Instead I offer you a preview, based on attendance of rehearsals. Nicholas Hytner's production, directed here by Michael Walling, originates from English National Opera and was last seen at Houston Grand Opera. The palette employed for the set is pleasingly spring-like, with much white and green. The supernumeraries are white and are wearing bald caps. The chorus is painted grey, and seem to look quite like statues.

Patrick Summers, last seen on the San Francisco Opera podium for Heart of a Soldier, conducts these performances. The cast includes many fine singers, including David Daniels (Arsamene), Lisette Oropesa (Romilda), and most of all, Susan Graham in the title role. The supporting cast is also promising. Heidi Stober was very funny as Atalanta in Houston, as was Sonia Prina (Amastre), and they reprise these roles in San Francisco. Both Wayne Tigges (Ariodate) and Michael Sumuel (Elviro) made their San Francisco Opera debuts in Heart of a Soldier earlier this season. One may have heard Tigges as Donner in Los Angeles Opera's recent Ring cycle. Sumuel sure to be winsome in his comic role.

Griselda at Santa Fe Opera

Griselda-act3 * Notes *
Vivaldi's Griselda (Act III pictured left, photograph by Ken Howard) at Santa Fe Opera had a third performance last night. The small orchestra lilted under Maestro Grant Gershon, but were not always with the singers. The cast features many fine voices. Isabel Leonard (Constanza) looked lovely in her white ruffled gown with red trim, and has an attractive, dark voice. Her trills were strong. Amanda Majeski made for a convincing Ottone, if not a rather bird-like and pretty one, both physically and vocally. Yuri Minenko sang Corrado with a lightness that floated over the orchestra.

David Daniels (Roberto) sounded fairly sweet. He had a nice ease in Act I, but may have been more strained in the second half. Paul Groves made the best of the unsympathetic character of Gualterio. His sound is warm and pleasing, however, some of the coloratura of his arias seemed quite difficult. In the title role, Meredith Arwady sang with richness and depth. Her voice has some texture to it and is full without being overly loud. Overall the musical performance was vibrant but not perfectly cohesive. Vivaldi's music is beautiful, and that came through well.

The production, directed by Peter Sellars, is oddly static. There were a lot of giggles, but whether this was from confusion or engagement was not clear. Gronk's scenic design is bright, as are Dunya Ramicova's costumes. James F. Ingalls used the same strong colors in the lighting. On balance the effect is both lurid and a little boring. The production did not elucidate the plot, nor did it help bring the performance into focus.

* Tattling *
The person in RA 40 sounded like she was doing origami during the overture, and seemed baffled that I kept hushing her. Three latecomers surrounded me in the first 30 minutes of the show, and then it turned out they were not even in the correct spots. The tardy standees in RA 42-46 also spoke, but more quietly. There was noticeable audience attrition and more than three-fourths of the standing room was empty for Acts II and III.

Orfeo ed Euridice at the Met

  Orfeo-met-04292011 * Notes * 
The latest revival of the Metropolitan Opera's Orfeo ed Euridice (pictured left, © Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera) opened last night. The production, directed by Mark Morris, is busy. Done without an intermission, every second seemed full of movement. Allen Moyer's set opened, closed, shifted, and spun. Unfortunately it was rather loud, especially noticeable because the music is not. The staircase that descended and ascended could have illuminated the drama in some fashion, but simply created too much noise to be revealing. The lighting was simple and unobtrusive. The dancing had some elegant lines, and was rather humorous at times. Isaac Mizrahi's dress for Euridice was pleasant enough, as was the suit for Orfeo, and the subdued historical costumes of the chorus. Amor and most of the dancers had mundane street clothes on, they all seemed to be wearing separates. I did not understand the use of glittery cloth.

In his Met debut, Antony Walker drove the orchestra at a good clip. There were times when the musicians sound just on the edge of losing control and this was engaging. The chorus was ethereal and pretty. As Euridice, Kate Royal's Met debut revealed a voice with smooth edges, not terribly voluminous, but perfectly audible. Lisette Oropesa (Amor) seemed a bit compressed, especially in her entrance, as she was suspended from the ceiling. She did have moments of pure loveliness. David Daniels warbled as Orfeo, especially at first, but had pleasing warmth throughout. "Che farò" was beautiful.

* Tattling * 
Standing room on the orchestra level was full of whispering, but most of it died down once much of the dancing was underway. After the performance, some female patrons were seen switch out their shoes in the orchestra lobby. Evidently someone did not find this dignified, commenting that it was a "show after the show."

Hercules at Lyric Opera of Chicago

Eric-Owens-Lucy-Crowe-Marckarthur-Johnson-in-Hercules-Dan-Rest * Notes *
The cast for Lyric Opera of Chicago's Hercules is nothing short of impressive. The Thursday matinée performance seemed well-attended, even the lecture from director Peter Sellars was rather full. Sellars certainly expressed a strong conception for how he staged this oratorio, and has both respect and understanding for the work. However, sometimes it is difficult to see past all the artifical miming, especially with the chorus. While the movements were humorous, I suspect one is not supposed to laugh at the lines "Jealousy! Infernal pest!"

The set is attractive, not unlike an elaborate, classically-informed water feature in an outdoor mall. The lighting was rather literal, red when fire or passion was mentioned, blue and green if water was invoked. The costumes were somewhat puzzling, the women looked like they were SCA members in their casual wear, the men vaguely like they were from the Pacific Northwest.

The orchestra lacked crispness in the overture under Harry Bicket. There were parts that were more focused and pretty, and those that were less so. The cello in "There in myrtle shades" was overwhelming, and the first brass part during the triumphal march was somewhat sour.

The chorus was slightly off from the orchestra in the second choral number, especially when the choral soloists sang. The singers did their choreography well. The last chorus, "To them your grateful notes of praise belong," was moving and beautiful.

The principals were all exceedingly fine, both in acting and in singing. Despite being ill, Richard Croft (Hyllus) sounded warm and sweet, though quiet at times. Lucy Crowe was brilliant as Iole, her voice is gorgeous, and "My breast with tender pity swells" was one of the best arias of the afternoon. David Daniels made the most of Lichas, sounding clear and lovely. In the title role, Eric Owens showed a full range of emotions with his scant three arias. The last was particularly stirring. Likewise, Alice Coote effectively displayed her dramatic abilties within the constraints of the Baroque form. Her Dejanira is incredibly human, and her voice has strong low notes and striking high ones.

* Tattling *
A phone rang during the first half of the show. Many audience members in the boxes fell asleep, at one point there was quite the chorus of snores. Worse yet, an elderly couple in Box 9 kept speaking during the music, once in the overture, once during Daniels' first aria, and once during Crowe's first aria. Thankfully, they responded fairly well to being asked to be quiet, and they left at intermission.

David Daniels at PBO

_for_website_-_Daniels___Robert_Recker_licensed_to_Virgin_Classics * Notes * 
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra opened a run of performances featuring countertenor David Daniels last night in Berkeley. Nicholas McGegan first conducted Telemann's Concerto for Three Horns and Violin in D major. The orchestra bounced delightfully but despite their efforts, the horns had more than one painful moment. One imagines this instrument must be devilishly hard to play. The concertmaster and violin soloist, Carla Moore, sounded quite good in the second movement Grave. Daniels joined the orchestra for Vivaldi's Stabat Mater. He sang with warmth and sweetness. There was a bit of warbling but nothing terribly distracting. The quietness of "Quis est homo" was lovely and the strings sounded particularly vibrant in "Eja mater, fons amoris." After the intermission, Daniels returned to sing arias from Händel's Il triofo del Tempo e del Disinganno, Radamisto, and Agrippina. "Perfido, di a quell'empio tiranno" was strident and "Voi che udite il mio lamento" mournful. Daniels sang "Qual nave smarrita" from Act III of Radamisto as an encore. The concert ended with Telemann's Suite in F major, which was played with insouciance. The Die concertierenden Frösche Krähen was rather silly but certainly amusing.

* Tattling * 
The people in the center of the front balcony were silent for the first half, but the women in the middle of Row E spoke during David Daniel's first aria after the break. A watch alarm was heard at 9pm during this piece as well. The couple in E 211 and 212 also talked during the second half but responded appropriately when they noticed they were audible to other audience members.

Santa Fe Opera's 2011 Season

July 1- August 27 2011: Faust
July 2- August 26 2011: La Bohème
July 16- August 19 2011: Griselda
July 23- August 25 2011: The Last Savage
July 30- August 17 2011: Wozzeck

Santa Fe just announced that their new chief conductor is Frederic Chaslin and what is coming up for the 2011 season. Bryan Hymel and Dimitri Pittas share the role of Faust, opposite of Ailyn Pérez. Ana María Martínez and David Lomelí sing in La Bohème. Meredith Arwady, David Daniels, and Amanda Majeski sing in Vivaldi's Griselda. Daniel Okulitch and Anna Christy are the leads in Menotti's The Last Savage, which is to be sung in English. Former Adler Fellow Sean Panikkar will also be in this opera. Richard Paul Fink sings the title role of Wozzeck, with Nicola Beller Carbone as Marie. Eric Owens will be the Doctor and Stuart Skelton the Drum Major.

Season | Official Site

Serse at Houston Grand Opera

Photo by Felix Sanchez, courtesy of Houston Grand Opera * Notes *
Händel's Serse had a strong opening yesterday evening at Houston Grand Opera. The production, from the English National Opera, is entertaining, and features astroturf as a main stage element. The chorus seemed to all be painted grey, and the supernumeraries white. During the overture, the principals are introduced in turn, with the names of the characters projected on a scrim. Though a diversion from the music, one imagines this is quite helpful to the audience, given how convoluted the plot of Serse is.

The orchestra, conducted by William Lacey, played nimbly, the overtures of Act I and III were spirited. "Ombra mai fù" was taken rather slowly. There were some moments when things seemed a bit awry, as in the Sinfonia of Act I, or at the the end of Act II. The chorus, on the other hand, sounded vivid and together.

Before the performance began, it was announced that Susan Graham, who is singing the title role, was feeling unwell, and begged our indulgence. She still sounded pure and clear, and she sang very beautifully. There were a few times her voice was rather quiet, or her low notes were off, but these were minor distractions. Her Act II Scene 10 aria, "Il core spera e teme" was especially fine. Laura Claycomb was convincing as Romilda, her voice is icily lovely, and though she has a lot of vibrato in her high tessitura, it is not unpleasant to the ear. She sang wonderfully with David Daniels (Arsamenes), their duet in Act III was amusing. Daniels also sang his Act II aria superbly. Sonia Prina's rich, warm voice was appropriate for Amastre, and was a nice respite from all the high voices. Heidi Stober was exceedingly funny as Atalante, and she too had a good warmth. Philip Cutlip and Adam Cioffari, in the bass roles of Ariodate and Elviro, respectively, both were hilarious.

* Tattling * 
There was talking and whispering, but it was mostly reserved for when no one was singing. It was more unfortunate that the applause made some of the music inaudible. One cellular phone rang just before Act I, another just before Act II, and yet another at the beginning of the last aria of Act II.

David Daniels and The English Concert

David-daniels * Notes * 
Countertenor David Daniels is currently on tour with the English Concert, to promote his latest recording with that ensemble. The first half of evening was devoted to Bach, starting off with Harry Bicket leading the English Concert in the Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C Major. They played primly, but not dispassionately. Daniels sang a potpourri of arias from Cantatas 170 and 82, Mass in B minor, and Saint Matthew Passion. In the middle of this was a break in which the ensemble played the Sinfonia from Cantata 42, the lack of unison in the woodwinds for their first entrance was distracting. Daniels has a pretty voice, with good volume, though at times his voice does have a cooing quality that is a bit columbid.

The second half of the performance featured Händel, and the English Concert played his Concerto Grosso No. 11 very beautifully. Daniels sang arias from Radamisto, Partenope, and Orlando. He seemed more engaged with these opera numbers than with the Bach. His encore, "Qual nave smarrita," from Radamisto, was lovely. One imagines he must be very good in this role.

* Tattling * 
There was a fair amount of whispering and talking during the music, but no electronic noise.