Daniel Taylor: Interviewby Philip Anson
/ October 1, 1997
Daniel Taylor debuted as Didymus in Handel’s Theodora at the
Glyndebourne Opera this August. I asked Daniel recently about the
challenges of working in director Peter Sellars’ avant garde
DT: I had not worked with Peter Sellars
before, but they sent me a video of last summer’s show and told me
to get used to the style. I learned the part six months in advance
and I arrived in June for a month of rehearsals, which would usually
be plenty, but because Sellars uses a kind of sign language, it took
special preparation. Luckily coaching at Glyndebourne is very
efficient. Sellars has a distinct style. You have to accept the fact
that this was a modern production — for example, that we would die
by lethal injection. For the execution scene, I was strapped to a
gurney in mid-air and could see the conductor only on monitors, so
it was a challenge to sing. I tried to make Sellars’ direction as
organic as possible. I don’t think he wanted it to be mechanical. I
disagree with the reviews which said we moved mechanically.
singing in a third cast of the same production in the same place
DT: Glyndebourne traditionally presents an opera
one summer, tours it with a UK cast, and then stages a revival. Of
course, people compared us with the first Theodora cast, which included Lorraine Hunt
and David Daniels. I just tried to bring all I had to the role,
regardless of previous interpretations.
reviews were uniformly good, while the critics were tough on almost
everyone else. How do mixed reviews affect the spirit of a
DT: At least half of the cast didn’t read
the reviews until after the final performance because they know that
reading reviews, whether they are positive or negative or right or
wrong, can upset one’s subsequent performances.
LSM: What have
you been doing since Glyndebourne?
DT: I just got back from doing Handel’s
Hercules in concert with Nick McGegan and
the Philharmonia Baroque in San Francisco. Catherine Robbin and
Kevin MacMillan were in that too.
LSM: Now you
have your first solo disc out with Atma.
DT: Yes, we have a deal for a series of solo
recordings over the next three years. On October 4, there will be a
salon concert of mostly Dowland with Les Voix humaines, which will be the next program I record for Atma.
In January, we’ll do Bach arias with oboist Bruce Haynes. After that
LSM: What else
is in the future for you?
DT: Quite a bit. In Stuttgart to record another
Jomelli opera for Orfeo. In January a recording of Messiah
with Matthew Best and the Croydon Singers for BMG.
Hercules at BAM in March. In April to Rome to sing Tolomeo in
Giulio Cesare. Next September back to San Francisco for
Solomon with McGegan. A tour of Japan with the King’s Consort
and a Decca recording of Rinaldo with Cecilia Bartoli and the
Academy of Ancient Music under Christopher Hogwood in 1999. w
Closer to home, Daniel Taylor will
sing baroque arias and duets with Susie Leblanc and the Arion
Ensemble Nov. 26 at Pollack Hall, with Les Idées Heureuses Nov.14
and the McGill Chamber Orchestra Nov. 24. In December Taylor joins
the Ottawa Choral Society for Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, and in
April he flies to Toronto for Bach’s St. John Passion with