Music: He Sings Higher

David Daniels, the burly alto with a beard, is making opera buffs swoon

A bearded, sturdily built man strides onto the stage and opens his mouth. Out floats an exquisitely beautiful alto voice--and the crowd starts cheering. Is it a dream? A freak show? No, it's what happens whenever countertenor David Daniels makes another debut, as he did in April at New York City's Metropolitan Opera, and will be doing in August at the prestigious Edinburgh Festival. Seven short years ago, he was a frustrated tenor whose high notes refused to kick in; now he is racking up reviews that might make even Pavarotti envious.

Not that Daniels, 33, is likely to be cast...

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