Tenor Daniel Rodriguez in concert
A member of the New York City Police Department, Daniel Rodriguez generated widespread interest when he sang God Bless America and the National Anthem at a New York Yankees game. Since September 11, his patriotic renditions have gained wide acclaim at the World Series, the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics 2002, Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, and on numerous television programs. His CD, Daniel Rodriguez - The Spirit of America, was released in March and claimed the No. 1 spot on the classical chart within one week.
"...He has great vocal chords from nature..."- Placido Domingo
"A voice heard around the world."- Associated Press
As it did for all Americans, history intervened for Daniel Rodriguez on September 11, 2001. Like his colleagues, the seven-year veteran of the New York Police Department stepped up in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on America, going above and beyond the call of duty to help restore a sense of stability and community. But Rodriguez had something unique to offer in this difficult time - the magical effect of his remarkable tenor voice. In a matter of days, his stirring a cappella performances of "God Bless America" and the National Anthem seemed to be something far greater than graceful patriotic gestures. Ringing, heartfelt and beautiful, these songs became transcendent statements of solidarity, determination and hope that galvanized his fellow New Yorkers and fellow Americans. Daniel Rodriguez became "America's tenor."
Inspired by the voice of the legendary tenor, Mario Lanza, the Brooklyn native earlier had captured the imagination of the public when former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani introduced him at a New York Yankees game, where he captivated the crowd with his rendition of the National Anthem. The wave of acclaim that greeted his appearances after 9/11 only confirmed that first impression. In the fall of 2001, Rodriguez signed a recording contract with Manhattan Records, a division of Capitol Jazz & Classics. The tenor makes his album debut in February with the release of Daniel Rodriguez-The Spirit of America, produced by Tom Scott.
Rodriguez won the admiration of operatic superstar Plácido Domingo, who has invited Rodriguez to study with him at the Washington Opera Company for three months beginning this March.
Rodriguez has been a serious student of singing since he was ten, but The Spirit of America showcases his unique ability to touch his listeners.
"I'm living my life-long dream," says Rodriguez, who continued to pursue his singing career even after taking on a "day job" as a police officer at the Manhattan South Precinct. "I'm singing songs that are both meaningful to me and that inspire others. The album is a compilation of what my life has been about - a bit of the conqueror as well as the conquered, and a lot of faith. The songs reflect my own hills and valleys."
Rodriguez and Tom Scott met last fall, when the tenor was slated to sing on the second rescheduling of the Emmy Awards telecast.
As for Rodriguez, he is pleased to have been in the right place at the right time. "This is an amazing turn of events for me," he says. "It's a dream come true. Singing is my passion...having been blessed with this gift of music, it is my heartfelt desire to, in turn, bless others with it as well." Rodriguez discovered singing when he was a student at Dewey Junior High School in Brooklyn. Like Plácido Domingo, he was trained initially as a baritone, and even sang at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall as a baritone when he was only 17. But his hero was Mario Lanza. "When I saw the movie The Great Caruso starring Lanza, I was immediately taken by his voice," Rodriguez remembers. "To me, he epitomized the tenor. I wanted to be like him. I listened to the nuances of his voice and emulated his vocal technique and eventually incorporated some of that into my own style of singing."
Rodriguez reached a personal crossroads when he turned 30, and, like many promising singers, needed an income to support his dream. Daniel decided to become a member of the New York Police Department. His vocal talent immediately impressed his superiors. When he and his police academy classmates graduated in March 1996, he was asked to sing the National Anthem at the ceremony in front of two thousand policemen in Madison Square Garden. In addition to his other duties (as a beat patrolman, then later as a police security officer at the Manhattan South precinct), Rodriguez became one of the official singers for the NYPD, performing at departmental retirement parties, groundbreakings and other events, as well as public events, such as singing the National Anthem at a New York Jets-New York Giants football game. Daniel performed at the 2002 Olympics on February 8th in Salt Lake and at the White House on March 4th for President Bush.
Young singer MaryAnn Mutoz did not falter in the least in duets with Rodriguez. She has a beautiful and strong voice which complemented Rodriguez's.
A review of the concert would not be complete without praising Victoria Ulanov, concert pianist from Saint Piterburg, Russia, who lives in New York for five years. Without her accompaniment, the concert would not be possible.?
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