Australian opera singer Daniel Szesiong Todd (鄭時雄) (he/him/they) was born in Malaysia and grew up in Melbourne, Australia. He obtained a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Music with first-class honours from the University of Melbourne. Daniel was accepted into Victorian Opera’s Developing Artist Program in 2011, where he debuted as Testo in a staged setting of Monteverdi’s Il combattimento di tancredi e Clorinda and sang Tamino for their education production of Die Zauberflöte. Daniel then joined VO and the University of Melbourne’s collaborative Master of Music (Opera Performance), continuing to perform and cover various roles for the company.
After graduating, Daniel moved to Germany to join the Hamburg Staatsoper’s International Opera Studio, where he was able to work with some of the world’s leading conductors, including Simone Young, Axel Kober, Ivan Repušić, Kent Nagano, as well as perform alongside some of the world’s leading singers, including Johan Botha, Franz Grundheber, George Gagnaidze, Ivan Magri, Nino Machaidze Lise Lindström, Agnes Baltsa, Andrzej Dobber, Liudmyla Monastyrska and Ailyn Perez. After completing two seasons in the Studio, Daniel continued at the Staatsoper as a house soloist.
Daniel has performed regularly in concert and chamber music at numerous festivals, including the Beethovenfest Bonn, the Melbourne Arts Festival, the Sydney Festival, the Jinji Lake Arts Festival and the iSing Opera Festival in China. He has been a soloist with the Hamburg Philharmonic, Suzhou Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra, the ARCKO Symphonic Project, the German Federal Youth Orchestra and the Melbourne Youth Orchestra. In the realm of chamber music, he has performed with the Sutherland Trio, Forest Collective, musicians of the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra and with contemporary dance company Chunky Move.
Comfortable in historical performance practice, Daniel has sung with baroque and classical specialists Ludovico’s Band, Ensemble E21, Consort of Melbourne, Marshall McGuire, Paul Dyer and Andrew Lawrence-King.
Daniel has enjoyed masterclasses with Gerold Huber, John Fisher, Malcolm Martineau, Willy Decker, Michael Sylvester, Bo Skovhus, Jaumé Aragall, Robert Gambill, Lisa Gasteen, Siegfried Jerusalem, Renate Behle, Andreas Scholl, Andrew Lawrence-King and Francesco Aliberti.
Daniel is passionate about music education and has been involved in numerous workshops and productions for children. In Hamburg, he performed the solo chamber opera Gold! for the Staatsoper’s outreach program, as well as assisting with the Moin Mozart community singing project. In Australia, Daniel worked closely with acclaimed music educator Richard Gill in Victorian Opera’s education productions and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s Ears Wide Open program.
In 2017, Daniel moved to Suzhou, China, where he took on the role of Head of Teaching at the Explore Music 英乐迪恩 training centre. In addition to teaching choirs, group classes and individual lessons, Daniel helped design a curriculum of voice and percussion-based classroom music, which would simultaneously enhance the learning of the English through singing. He has coordinated, conducted, directed and choreographed children’s musical theatre and opera workshops and holiday programs throughout China.
Returning to Australia in 2019, Daniel became a member of Forest Collective, sang the role of Nero in Yarra Valley Opera Festival’s Coronation of Poppea, as well as featuring in Three Tales and Salome for Victorian Opera. In 2021, he will feature in Richard Meale's Voss for VO, The Enchanted Pig for Australian Contemporary Opera Co and will sing the role of Prunier for National Opera's La Rondine.
In 2020, Daniel became a freelance writer, editor and proofreader, working for such organisations as UN-Habitat, Refinitiv, and assisting
with the preparation of the manuscript for Singing in Mandarin: A Guide to Chinese Lyric Diction and Vocal Repertoire by Katherine Chu and Juliet Petrus. In 2021, he was named Forest Collective's writer-in-residence.
Daniel lives on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation - sovereign land that was never ceded.