San Francisco Symphony’s ‘all-Italian’ concert is an aural feast
“Plus, there’s the chance to hear Fabiano, who is increasingly one of the great operatic tenors of our day, diving into both familiar and off-beat repertoire and delivering it with fluency and ringing power. In the absence of an opera house stage, sets or costumes, Fabiano simply conjured up a world of theatrical intensity and let it fly.
His accounts of two Verdian scenes, from “Simon Boccanegra” and “Il Corsaro,” matched expressive ardor with tonal intensity. He brought heart-wrenching pathos to Donizetti’s “Una furtiva lagrima,” stretching the final note almost — but not quite — to the breaking point. And he shone in a rarity, Verdi’s song “Il poveretto” (“The Pauper”) done with Berio’s fascinating orchestration.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“Still, for many in the audience, the appearance of Fabiano marked the evening’s high point. The American tenor, who starred in the title role of Verdi’s “Don Carlo” at San Francisco Opera earlier this year, closed the program with three Verdi arias — “Sento avampar nell’anima” from “Simon Boccanegra,” “Tutto parea sorridere” from “Il corsaro” (joined by the men of the Symphony Chorus),” and the concert aria, “Il poveretto” (arranged by Berio). “Una furtiva lagrima” from Donizetti’s “L’elisir d’amore,” sung with melting beauty, completed the set.
Fabiano’s firm, generous tone, intelligent phrasing and impassioned emphasis are ideal in these works. This is the kind of Italian singing that opera lovers can’t get enough of, and with Tilson Thomas supplying a thrilling orchestral backdrop, the tenor’s appearance drew an enthusiastic standing ovation from the audience. If he and Tilson Thomas ever team up for a complete opera performance, it won’t be a minute too soon.”
“The rest of the Italian program had a more immediate appeal. With his enormous stage presence, American tenor Michael Fabiano didn’t need more than his voice and a few gestures to capture the audience’s attention and make a convincing, passionate Gabriele from Simon Boccanegra (Verdi) or Nemorino from L’Elisir d’amore (Donizetti).”