Music trumps drama in S.F. Opera “Luisa Miller”
“…the star of this “Luisa Miller” was tenor Michael Fabiano, who brought a high-voltage blend of tonal beauty and fearless athleticism to the role of Rodolfo. Over the course of the evening, it emerged that there was simply nothing Fabiano couldn’t achieve — from limpid, sweetly lyrical phrases to full-throated and intricate passagework, all of it delivered with honeyed but muscular tone.
Not even the dramatic absurdities of the piece seemed to hold any terrors for him. Rodolfo’s sense of betrayal when he believes that Luisa has betrayed him (thanks to machinations too boring to delve into here) was conjured up with an air of wonderful immediacy. All those virtues came together most thrillingly in the Act 2 aria “Quando le sere al placido,” in which Rodolfo reminisces about happier times with Luisa and then faces down the villainous (and aptly named) Wurm — Fabiano’s performance here was simply breathtaking.
San Francisco Gate
San Francisco Opera season opener, a stellar cast carries a dull staging
“Fabiano’s warmth and power of tone were complemented by the air of genuine despair he exuded. Never has an operatic murder-suicide seemed more plausible. The emotionally cold show suddenly became profoundly affecting.”
S.F. opera allures with “Luisa Miller”
“Tenor Michael Fabiano offered a splendid account as Luisa’s lover Rodolfo. Fabiano gave a passionate, dramatically agile performance while alternately wooing and scorning his beloved Tyrolean maiden. Fabiano was superb with his luscious tone, sublime phrasing and outstanding passage work, most notably in his Act 2 aria, ‘Quando le sere al placido.'”
San Francisco Examiner
Uneven “Luisa Miller” carried by Great Performances
“For much of the evening, Verdi’s tragedy simmered along without really catching fire. Then, in the second half, tenor Michael Fabiano turned up the heat. Singing Rodolfo’s aria “Quando le sere al placido,” Fabiano gave an impassioned, fully committed performance, delivering the music with big, rich tone and elegant phrasing. The aria comes just after Rodolfo realizes that he’s losing the title character — the woman he loves and hopes to marry — and Fabiano, one of the music world’s fastest-rising stars, seemed to pour his soul into it. It was a breathtaking, “you were there” moment, the kind that opera lovers treasure, and the audience responded with a long, heartfelt ovation.”
San Jose Mercury News
Michael Fabiano’s star ascends in Verdi’s “Luisa Miller”
The San Francisco Opera opened its 2015-16 season with a rousing revival of Verdi’s “Luisa Miller”. Famously a “tenor’s opera”, it is unabashedly a vehicle for the brilliant lyric tenor voice of Michael Fabiano, a rapidly rising star on the world’s operatic stages.
Only the third tenor to appear in San Francisco as the opera’s hero Rodolfo (his predecessors were the legendary Luciano Pavarotti and the young Marcello Giordani), it was a triumphant evening for Fabiano, with a resounding and deserved ovation for Rodolfo’s great aria Quando le sere al placido.
Fabiano, still only in his early 30s, proved convincing in portraying each of the Rodolfo’s facets – Luisa’s ardent lover, Walter’s disobedient son, Wurm’s vengeful rival, Federica’s childhood friend whom he must gently dissuade from pursuing marriage with him, and, driven to fury by treacherous misinformation, the suicidal murderer of the person he loves.
For each of these facets Verdi created multi-hued music to convey passion and pathos, for which Fabiano’s lyric voice is beautifully suited.
Verdi’s Luisa Miller opens SF Opera Fall season”
….this production’s real star is tenor Michael Fabiano, who sings the role of Rodolfo with a muscular tone and intense passion. Fabiano’s Act II recitative which culminates in the bitter fulmination, “Tutto è menzogna, tradimento, inganno” (“Everything is falsehoods, betrayal, deceit”), was delivered in a full-throated outburst of despair; and the aria which follows, “Quando le sere, al placido” (“When in the stillness of evening”), one of the finest arias Verdi ever wrote, was sung with bitter poignancy. As the first singer to win both the Richard Tucker Award and the Beverly Sill Artist Award in the same year (2014), Michael Fabiano has quickly established himself as a leading tenor in the world of opera.’
Berkeley Daily Planet
Luisa Miller SF Opera
“The star of the show was certainly the prodigiously talented tenor Michael Fabiano. Blessed with good looks, physical presence, and a pingy, well-projected tenor under great expressive control, Fabiano noticeably raised the temperature whenever he was on stage, and he delivered a splendid and intimate rendition of Rodolfo’s “Quando le sere al placido” (“When in the evening calm”). His scene with the rich-toned mezzo Ekaterina Semenchuk, making a promising debut in the tiny role of Federica, packed some much-needed sizzle, despite its brevity.”
San Francisco Classical Voice
Luisa Miller – War Memorial Opera House
” … Michael Fabiano secured his reputation as one of his generation’s foremost Verdians. The American tenor lavished a wealth of colour and dynamics on Rodolfo’s celebrated aria, and mustered sheer clarion power when the plot demanded it, which was often.”
Luisa Miller at SF Opera
“Tenor Michael Fabiano sang Rodolfo for the first time. It should be a signature role for him. We have seen Fabiano before: he was an incandescent Genaro in Lucrezia Borgia, stealing the show in what was supposed to be a Renee Fleming showcase. We used the words “raw energy” to describe him. The climax of this role is an aria (“quando le sere al placido”) that simply repeats itself, the second time with increasing intensity. Verdi’s instruction to the tenor is “appassionatissimo,” which means “as passionately as possible,” and happens to be Fabiano’s middle name. Verdi instructs his tenor to intone the line “Ah! Mia tradia” with expression, then with a lot of expression, then with desperation. Expression and desperation is Fabiano’s bread and butter, he burns intensely on stage.”
A vocally arresting Luisa Miller at San Francisco Opera
“American tenor Michael Fabiano’s role debut as Rodolfo is steeped in thrilling and masterly vocal technique and accompanied by acting of the most operatically convincing. In Act II’s “Quando le sere al placido”, Fabiano’s passionately warm and fluid style and elegant open top is intoxicating as he recalls happier times with Luisa. And nothing is ever lost in his exhilarating iron-strength recitatives.”
Rare Verdi well done: San Francisco Opera stages “Luisa Miller
“As accomplished and poised as were the performers, star tenor Michael Fabiano simply sang everyone off the stage. Mr. Fabiano recalls all the strengths of the impetuous, impassioned, informed singing of the young Neil Schicoff — and with none of the eccentricities. Fabiano has a formidable thrust to his delivery, with an ability to bounce a phrase off the back wall.
Fabiano is also able to meld the tone into a whispered aside that draws an audience forward in their seats, looking to catch every subtlety of his delivery. His take-no-prisoners rendition ofQuando le sere al placido was so heartbreaking, so raw, so gorgeous it stopped the show cold. Some even stood up to cheer it. For almost two minutes, nothing happened but cheering. And the reception was deserved. Fabiano may not have the widespread name recognition (yet) of a Jonas Kaufmann or a Piotr Beczala or a Juan Diego Flores, but he delivers the same high quality goods, and then some. Committed, gifted, intelligent, focused, musical, and oh yeah, handsome, Fabiano is the real deal.”
CNY Cafe Momus
Song Over Story: San Francisco Opera’s Luisa Miller
“And Fabiano, whom we first saw in San Francisco four years ago, opposite Renée Fleming in Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia, is going to be an opera superstar. He can act–the perfect ardent lover, as we saw in last season’s La Bohème, when he was given more to work with–and his voice is so powerful and true that even at the end, when he is lying in a corner, dying, you’d think he was standing center stage. (He will return to San Francisco in June, yay, to star in Verdi’s Don Carlo.)”
“The American tenor Michael Fabiano, in the title role, has a thrilling, vibrant tone, fearless in top notes, powerful in the middle and subtly expressive even when, as often with Donizetti, the emotional colours tend towards the downright obvious. Fabiano won overnight fame as a late stand-in at the New York Met’s Bohème last year. Catch him in Eugene Onegin at the Royal Opera House in December.”
“The hugely demanding title role is confidently taken by the febrile American tenor Michael Fabiano. He… sang with unfailing intensity and bravado, projecting a chesty forcefulness redolent of legendary Italians of yore.”
“Michael Fabiano was on magnificent form and excelled in the principal role of Poliuto. His voice has a rich golden lustre that resounded clearly and powerfully above the orchestra and chorus at various points. His phrasing, tone colour and dynamics were beautifully controlled. He captured splendidly the inner contradictions of the character: during the course of the opera we see him denouncing his wife and thundering against his oppressors while at the end of the piece he achieves a spiritual transcendence, accepting his fate with equanimity.”
Seen and Heard International
“Michael Fabiano returns as Poliuto, glorious in all his growing Met-honed vocal power, and delighting in writing that celebrates the grit and darker shades that his voice yields so successfully. His voice and careful vocal colouring does the bulk of his acting, which is exactly as it should be …”
The Arts Desk
“In the title role, Michael Fabiano’s voice has the power to bring the entire auditorium to its knees … ”
“As Poliuto, Michael Fabiano delivered huge power along with the vocal ability to articulate his emotions … ”
Mark Ronan-Theatre Reviews
“The purity of Michael Fabiano’s tenor rings so cleanly that Paolina is convinced that any faith that can conquer death is worth having… ”
“The American tenor Michael Fabiano fearlessly delivers his stratospheric top notes as the Armenian Christian convert of the title… ”
“…Michael Fabiano’s transcendent delivery of the title role ”
“The night’s star tenor Michael Fabiano took to the stage with an attractive, powerful voice, just oozing Donizetti.”
“The three main roles feature world-class singing by American tenor Michael Fabiano, in powerful heroic form as Poliuto, Ana Maria Martinez as an exquisitely sung Paolina, and Russian baritone Igor Golovatenko’s darkly brooding Severo.”
” … intensity and ringing top notes.”
The Financial Times
“Luckily, there is some fine singing, especially from Michael Fabiano’s heroic- toned Poliuto… ”
Fabiano, a dynamic American tenor, has been something of an MVP this season. In early December, during the down time between high profile European engagements, he jumped for two performances of “Bohème” when Ramón Vargas canceled. But Fabiano had only seven hours to prepare on April 1 when he stepped in as Edgardo in “Lucia di Lammermoor,” commuting from Philadelphia to replace Joseph Calleja, who had canceled that morning due to a lingering throat infection. He went on without rehearsal and having never seen Mary Zimmerman’s production –– even on video… Edgardo’s interruption of Lucia’s betrothal to Arturo in Act II was electrifying. After a high voltage Wolf’s Crag duet in Act III, Fabiano banged his forehead on a low-hanging lighting unit as he exited through a doorway. Hiding his bandage under a wig, he sang the tomb scene with melting mezza voce tones and musical poise.
Michael Fabiano, a dashing Faust at the Opéra Bastille
Michael Fabiano, recently back from Australia, wore for two performances the costumes of Faust [a role] that he had just performed in Sydney. From the first act, his clear and well projected sound captures one’s attention. The American tenor portrays a stunningly spirited and youthful Faust. His impeccably elegant vocal line does wonders in the garden scene: “O nuit d’amour! Ciel radieux!” [O night of love! Radiant sky!] is whispered with such delicacy and sweetness that it is easy to understand why Margherite is unable to resist such vocal sex appeal, all the more since Fabiano also possesses a rather attractive figure.
Tonight, Michael Fabiano has confirmed the favorable impression that he left in Lucia di Lammermoor in September 2013. This bodes well for the Duke of Mantua that he will offer in May 2016.
Forum Opéra.com (Translated from French)