Fabiano has gone on to more than fulfill that early promise. A concert performance in Verdi’s Lombardi at David Geffen Hall, spectacularly successful last-minute assumptions of the tenor leads in Boheme and Lucia di Lammermoor, an innovative interpretation of Don Jose in this year’s Aix-en-Provence production of Carmen — all of these dramatic and high-visibility events have helped build a career which may soon rank with this generation’s greatest, if it is not already there.
Non-operatically, most notable was his recent decision to become a pilot. As with all things, Fabiano has taken this craft seriously, and flies several times a month. He calls himself a risk-taker in all things, operatically or aeronautically.
One particularly notable example of that was his assumption of the fearsome eponymous hero of Donizetti’s Poliuto. Fabiano points out that Donizetti’s orchestral texture for the opera is not particularly fearsome for the most part, and he was quite satisfied with the results. So were the critics.
Every great singer shows special affinity for one or two composers, Fabiano’s for Donizetti being very clear, with phrasing that conveys both the essence of the moment and the journey ahead. In an uncanny way, this also lets the spectator “see” before and after, thanks to the Fabiano gift at internalizing the Donizetti “narrative”, a gift attained by all too few in any composer. That is what stamps Fabiano as a true artist, not just a superb vocalist.
Fabiano has a totally distinctive sound, and one can spot that sound immediately. Yet alongside its individuality, the sound is also a virtual signature for a remarkably vivid and keen persona, marking a level of close identity between intrinsic sound and apt persona not all that common among even the most famous singers. Nothing from the Fabiano voice is abstract: always specific, in the moment, it’s impossible to distinguish the sound from the feelings expressed. He is a singer equally distinguished for vivid communication and individual timbre. In him, we have a textbook example of the lirico spinto tenor, a sweet lyric core to the sound but with the needed resilience to sustain the occasional vehement outburst without compromising musical values.
What’s to come? Fabiano has said one of his goals is to sing pretty much every single tenor role Verdi ever composed. He has already tackled one of Verdi’s most demanding tenor roles, Don Carlo. Is there a Gustavo in his future? Or an Alvaro? Stay tuned. Fabiano is an artist whose skill and fame continues to grow, a triumphant journey that is still unfolding.
Un di, felice, eterea (Fabiano, Yoncheva, Luisotti, The Metropolitan Opera)
Michael Fabiano – La Traviata Act II (Metropolitan Opera 3/11/17)
Interview with Michael Fabiano, 2014 Richard Tucker Winner
Verdi’s Il Corsaro: Tutto parea sorridere, Michael Fabiano, tenor:
Don Carlo Moving Moment with Michael Fabiano and Mariusz Kwiecien. San Francisco Opera.
An Interview with Michael Fabiano:
In Conversation with Michael Fabiano Exciting American Operatic Tenor.
About The Authors:
Geoffrey Riggs and his wife, Liz, are joint webmasters for www.operacast.com dedicated to daily listings of all feature-length web-streamed opera on the Internet. Geoffrey Riggs’ available publications include “The Assoluta Voice in Opera” (2003).
Charles H. Riggs, III is one of a pair of identical twins who are dyed-in-the-wool opera fans, and have been since earliest childhood. Charles worked as a network graphics editor for thirty years, and is now enjoying retirement by getting to see as many operas as he can.