Volume 77
Number 4

Health for All

Fear of Flying

Flying II: High Anxiety

Virtual Vietnam

Uncovering the Past

Wired New World

Enigma: Physics Band

Emory University

Association of Emory Alumni

Current News and Events

Emory Report



Sports Updates





















































When Daniel B. Cole ’93C came to Emory as a freshman, he wanted to be a doctor. But after he earned a D in biology, he changed his mind and became an opera singer instead.

That kind of versatility has continued to serve him well. This year, Cole will sing the roles of Colline in a production of La Boheme in Cologne, the king in Aida at a Lisbon opera house, and Sparafucile in Rigaletto at Opera Illinois.

“This is the first year that I’ve booked a full year of singing,” he says, “so I don’t have to do temp work in a lawyer’s office or something.”

The life of a professional operatic performer, exciting though it may sound, “is not glamorous at all,” Cole adds. “The hardest part is that it’s a huge investment. You have to have time and resources for voice lessons, coaching, training, and development of your career, and most important, try to improve as a singer all the time. Olympic athletes who are really successful dedicate themselves 100 percent, and singers need to do the same kind of thing.”

Cole played the piano as a child, then, demonstrating his trademark flexibility, joined a hard core punk band in high school. As a student at Emory, after his run-in with biology, he decided to major in music. During his studies at the University, Cole worked closely with Alfred Calabrese, a music professor who is now teaching at Brevard College.

“He was, without question, the most important influence on me and the reason I am doing what I do today,” Cole says. “He is a great musician with a high standard of excellence, very demanding, inspiring, and encouraging.”

At Calabrese’s suggestion, Cole went from Emory to the renowned Indiana University School of Music, where he earned a master’s degree in conducting and began working toward a Ph.D. He was assisting the conductor on a production of Tosca at Opera Illinois when he met Robert McFarland, an internationally recognized operatic performer. Cole took a few singing lessons with McFarland, and a light came on: “I knew then that’s what I was supposed to be doing,” he says.

After studying under McFarland at Temple University for just five months, Cole advanced to the semifinals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council of Auditions competition, having won at the district and regional levels. Cole’s success opened doors at small opera companies, landed him some singing roles, and led him to seek a manager in New York.

Now, Cole’s operatic career is taking off, buoyed by an ever-widening range of roles. In addition to the major appearances in Europe, he’ll sing a handful of smaller roles this season, including a two-month stint at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis where he’ll be the speaker in The Magic Flute. At thirty–young for a bass performer–Cole says he’s often competing with more mature singers, but he will hit his vocal prime in about seven or eight years, a luxury in a business typically kinder to youth.

Cole guesses only about a hundred operatic performers in the country make a living entirely by singing, and even fewer hold a permanent place in one company or opera house; most are contractual performers like himself. It makes for an uncertain future, but Cole, true to form, keeps an open mind.

“Singing is like a faith journey,” he says. “The key is to be persistent, hang in there, and try out as many new roles on stage as you can. By the time I’m thirty-five, I’ll feel like I can sing a handful of roles anywhere and be totally comfortable. That’s how you ensure your success when you’re new: Be patient, persistent, and grateful for the work you get.”–P.P.P.

Also in Précis

Crawford Long Hospital undergoes $270 million renovation

Doc Hollywood: The Musical

A Journey of Reconciliation

Depression and high blood pressure make deadly combination

Growing Green: The Piedmont Project

Library augments literary holdings

A Race of Singers

The Poetry of Natasha Trethewey and Janet McAdams ’96PhD

Remembering Evangeline T. Papageorge ’29M



© 2002 Emory University