Michael Fabiano’s rich tenor has rung through the world’s most illustrious opera houses: New York’s Metropolitan Opera, the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, and most recently at London’s Royal Opera House, where he starred in a new production of “La Boheme.” Along the way to becoming one of the world’s leading tenors, Fabiano has collected a host of awards, including the Beverly Sills Artist Award and the Richard Tucker Award in 2014.
1 | When did you discover the specialness of your voice?
When I was a boy, I went to church in Essex Fells at St. Paul’s and I was in the choir for children. I went one summer to a children’s choir camp, but then we moved to Minnesota when I was 11 years old. Music slipped away at that point. It wasn’t nearly as important as it was in my fundamental years. And I didn’t rediscover it until my last year in high school. My aunt was staying with us and she said that when I applied to colleges, I should send a tape of my voice because it’s good enough to compel the admissions people. I was in Catholic high school and when I would sing solos, people would compliment my voice, but I never really thought about it at that age. It wasn’t a big deal to me. This is never what I thought would be my job.
Michael Fabiano is returning to the Royal Opera House this month to star as the Duke of Mantua in Sir David McVicar’s production of Verdi’s Rigoletto. In addition to being an acclaimed tenor, he’s the founder of ArtSmart, a non-profit organisation that provides free voice lessons to pupils at underprivileged schools.
When did you first discover opera?
I discovered it really when I got to university. One way was in working with a voice teacher named George Shirley who was very dear to me. He was the first African-American tenor to sing at the Metropolitan Opera.
He compelled me to believe that what I had was worth going for it. When I kind of didn’t believe him, he said, “Your voice isn’t yours; your voice is everybody’s and you have an obligation to share your instrument.”
The second way was that I watched a DVD of Mefistofele by Bointo and just realised that I had a deep passion for opera itself – what it can do to the psyche and how it can compel people.
It’s Michael Fabiano’s day off from the San Francisco Opera’s production of “Manon,” but he’s hardly taking it easy. Instead, the 33-year-old tenor is being intensely questioned by arts teacher Keith Carames’ sixth-grade students in the James Lick Middle School auditorium. They excitedly shout their queries:
“Can you hit high notes?”
Yes, Fabiano answers.
To have good high notes you need to have good low notes, he explains.
“Are you as famous as Beyoncé?”
Probably not, he laughs. Read more
The News & Observer | Tenor Michael Fabiano performs March 28 for the NC Opera, is a new breed of opera star. In addition to performing on stage at theaters around the world, his performances are transmitted in HD to theaters, and he connects with his fans on social media
American tenor Michael Fabiano doesn’t fit the opera singer stereotype. The 32-year-old’s passions include baseball (he’s a former professional umpire), automobiles (he reviews them on his blog) and airplanes (he flies his own). He also posts regularly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram about his performances as well as his opinions on exercise, books and politics.
But when Fabiano begins singing the first selection on his Tuesday recital for North Carolina Opera, there will be no question about his status as an international opera star. The intensity of his interpretations and the size of his voice have thrilled audiences around the U.S. and Europe for a decade.