Bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch was born in Ottawa and grew up in Calgary. As a boy soprano, he sang the part of Amahl in Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors. He pursued music at the Oberlin and Cincinatti Conservatories of Music, and at San Francisco Opera. Throughout his career, Okulitch has received numerous awards and prizes.
In 2002, Okulitch landed the role of Schaunard in Puccini's La Bohème on Broadway. The Baz Luhrman production won several Tony Awards, and Okulitch sang an impressive 228 performances. It brought him international fame and he found himself on operatic stages worldwide, singing time-honoured roles by Mozart, Britten, and Offenbach, among others.
Okulitch also appears in new operas. His protrayal of the condemned Joseph De Rocher in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking received rave reviews, while his most daring role may have been Seth Brundle in Howard Shore's opera The Fly. The story is based on David Cronenberg's film, with the character required to cast off his clothes when he is about to turn into a fly.
Okulitch's first solo recording of contemporary American art song had just been released at the time he hosted this episode of This Is My Music in 2011. On the program, he talks about his life on the road, and a car accident that brought his career to a brief halt. Earlier this year, Okulitch sang in Tales of Hoffman by Offenbach at Edmonton Opera, and he appears as Count Almaviva in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro this summer at Santa Fe Opera in New Mexico.
Listen to Daniel Okulitch on Saturday, April 20 on CBC Radio 2, 10:05 a.m. to noon in most of Canada, 11:05 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the East Coast.
Barihunks: Daniel Okulitch
Watch Daniel Okulitch sing Se vuol ballare from Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro