Ten Questions with Daniel Shirley

Ten Questions with…

Daniel Shirley, tenor
in Acis and Galatea

1. My favorite thing about being a singer is: 

Meeting interesting people from all over the world.

2. The greatest challenge in being a singer is:
Being away from home, often for weeks or months at a time.

3. A live music performance I’ve attended that I will never forget is:
My first concert ever: M.C. Hammer, 1991, Mississippi Coliseum, Jackson MS. U can’t touch this!!! I wore the pants and everything. I wonder if my parents have any pictures of this infamous evening. 

4. A few of my favorite films are:
Fargo, The Big Lebowski, The Man Who Wasn’t There, O Brother Where Art Thou?, No Country for Old Men
. That’s more than a few, but I love the Coen brothers.  Everything they do is compelling. I also think Christopher Guest is a brilliant writer/actor, and I can quote most of Best in Show and Waiting for Guffman (like any true theater nerd).

5. Three things I can’t live without are:
My wife, my dog, YouTube.

6. My number one hobby is:
Wasting time on the internet.

7. If you could perform with any singer, retired or deceased, who would it be?
The person that immediately comes to mind is the English tenor Anthony Rolfe Johnson. He is a real inspiration to me. I find myself constantly turning to his Britten and Handel recordings, and am always left in awe at his expressive singing and the range of colors he could produce. I believe he did some teaching in his later years – what a joy it would have been to work with him.

8. If you weren’t a singer, what profession would you be in?
I’m fascinated by urban planning and American/Southern history, so I’d probably work in historical preservation in a place like New Orleans.

9. What role do you wish you could sing that you could never sing because it’s the wrong voice type/gender?
Queen of the Night from Mozart’s The Magic Flute! Talk about leaving an impression.

10. Describe your favorite moment on stage.
Singing a love duet with my wife Caitlin in The Merry Wives of Windsor at Indiana University, 2008.

Bonus: One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer).
Are you a dog person or a cat person?

Dog person to the core. Dogs teach us compassion and help us become better people.

See Daniel in Madison Opera’s production of Handel’s Acis and Galatea January 10-13 in The Playhouse at Overture Center. Tickets start at just $20, but they’re going fast!

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Benjamin Taylor

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