Name: Daniel Zillmann
Website: “I don’t have a personal website or blog and, although I have a Twitter account, Facebook doesn’t force such a ridiculous edit of my post’s content. I can be a bit verbose for my own good. I tweet through the Minnesota Opera professionally and have also been trying to get their blog off the ground.”
What’s your job?
“Communications manager at Minnesota Opera…I deal with all things communication, publicity and social media related.”
Other than your job, what are your claims to fame?
“I’ve been to 47 of the 48 continental United States and have visited over 50% of Europe’s countries. The goal is all 50 states and all of Europe by the age of 40. I’m a singer—not operatic, however—currently with Minnesota Chorale and have sung with or in about 30 different ensembles throughout my life, most notably in the St. Olaf Choir and with Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Two of the greatest moments have been my Carnegie Hall debut on an east coast tour with the St. Olaf Choir in 2000 on my half birthday—summer b-days usually get the shaft in college choir, but they sang to me at our dress rehearsal onstage at Carnegie—and my first time at Ravinia Festival in the northern suburbs of Chicago with the CSO, several big name opera stars with whom I’ve become acquainted through my years in the business, and the great maestro Christoph Eschenbach.”
What’s your relationship status?
“I love the option on Facebook: ‘It’s Complicated.’ Because it is. I’m a complete workaholic when the Opera season is up, I’ve been lucky to be rostered for a lot of Minnesota Orchestra concerts these past several years, I love to travel as much as I can, and I have a pretty involved home life: I live with my bestie/soulmate and her 4-year-old daughter and though I am neither husband nor father, I have responsibilities. There are a lot of guys out there who consider all of this to be ‘baggage.’ I consider them to be priorities and personal life choices.”
Where are you most likely to be seen?
“Anywhere that has a patio…with a beer, martini or a glass of white in my hand. I’m not choosy. Because it’s so close to work and I’m a bike/public transportation commuter, of the bars in town, I spend a lot of time at Jet Set in the North Loop. Lush is great as well, but has a strange location. But more often than not, you’ll see me brunching on Sunday morning with some of my closest friends at Hot Plate in South; Cafeteria in Uptown; Nick and Eddie or Loring Kitchen in Loring; Tom Pham’s Wondrous downtown; or the Red Stag in Nordeast. I have subscriptions at Minnesota Opera, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Jungle. I love classical and live music, theater, and dance—in that order—and feed myself culturally every chance that I get.”
Where are you least likely to be seen?
“I frankly don’t go to the bar a lot any more. You’d be lucky to see me out on First Avenue at the clubs once a year and maybe once a quarter at the Saloon, a horrible bar that I loved so much as a young pup. You will never see me at the Gay 90’s, or suburban sports bars of any kind.”
With what people are you most likely to be seen?
“I have a lot of very diverse people in my life…but former co-workers from my days at Best Buy corporate are the people with whom you’ll most likely see me.”
Where were you born?
“Eau Claire, Wisconsin…although neither my mom or dad, other than attending college at UWEC, nor my bio-parents—I’m adopted—ever lived there.”
In what neighborhood do you live now?
“I live in the lovely Standish neighborhood in South Minneapolis near to the 38th Street light rail stop, the Trylon and Riverview cinemas and, recently discovered, The Baker’s Wife. Yum!”
What’s your ride?
“I’ve been car-free for 3 1/2 years; public transit and bike are my most likely rides. Because of the nature of my job—publicity run-outs and the fact that our offices are in Minneapolis’s North Loop but we perform at the Ordway in St. Paul—and the fact that my folks now live in the lovely state of Arkansas (Bentonville, to be exact…the seat of retail fundamentalism), I’m going to be purchasing something simple in the next few months. I do, though, have a commitment of 2,000 miles on my bike this summer—possibly an annual goal—and do not mind public transit in the least.”
What’s the best way to start a conversation with you?
“‘Hey handsome…’ is really all it takes. I play well with others.”
Photo courtesy Daniel Zillmann