Vanity Fair | by Damian Fowler | March 2, 2017
This season, the tenor (and private pilot) takes the stage as Alfredo in La Traviata.
Many opera stars are jet-setters. New York, Paris, Milan. Those arias can really boost one’s air miles. Few singers, however, fly their own plane. The 32-year-old American tenor Michael Fabiano is the exception. A couple of years ago he earned his private pilot’s license after taking his maiden voyage without an instructor. And the experience afforded him an artistic insight. “Flying solo,” he says, gave him a new appreciation for “how to be when I’m performing—free of everything in my head except for delivering great music.”
Fabiano’s career is certainly on an upward trajectory. Since winning both the Beverly Sills Artist Award and the Richard Tucker Award, in 2014, he has been busier than ever. In 2015, Fabiano made international headlines when he replaced an ailing tenor to perform Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor at the Metropolitan Opera—with only seven hours’ notice from the call to the curtain.
The New York Times | by Michael Cooper | February 28, 2017
“He’s either going to be fantastic — or dead.”
That was the verdict of some of opera’s keenest vocal judges a decade ago when they awarded Michael Fabiano, an explosively talented tenor who was 22 at the time and pushing himself hard, a career-making win at the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. A decade later, he is one of the most exciting, sought-after singers in the world — but the fatalistic warning was still ringing in my ears a few Sundays ago when Mr. Fabiano, who likes to pilot planes on his days off, took me for a flight.
As we buckled into a small Piper Archer at Essex County Airport in New Jersey, near his childhood home, Mr. Fabiano rattled off a battery of safety instructions that went well beyond the usual flight attendant script: where to find the fire extinguisher, how to brace yourself over the instrument panel if necessary, how to unlatch the door in case of a crash landing. He cried “Clear prop!” then started the propeller, and up we went. I found myself wondering if I would have felt safer flown by a singer who was not quite as well-known for risk-taking — or perhaps by a baritone, or anyone other than an impassioned tenor.
“Safe never wins,” Mr. Fabiano, 32, said in an interview, explaining the philosophy that has guided everything from his choice of roles to his decision to act on a lifelong dream and get his pilot’s license, despite the dangers. “I’m very, very big on preparation. I take prepared gambles.”
SCHMOPERA | A little over a year ago, the team that would make up ArtSmart sat down to take a hard look at the role of the arts in public school curriculum. Brian Levor is a percussionist and teacher; John Viscardi runs a health care company and is a baritone with a burgeoning career; and Michael Fabiano is one of the world’s leading operatic tenors. All three were focused on two realities of arts education: that there isn’t enough of it, and that students who do pursue arts degrees accumulate large amounts of student debt, while having a difficult time finding work in their field.
Fabiano, Levor, and Viscardi have started ArtSmart, an organization with goals to improve the quantity and quality of public school arts curriculum, and to provide meaningful work opportunities for adult graduates of esteemed music programs.
ArtSmart offers high-quality music education and private voice lessons, free of charge, to under-served students in schools with limited music programs. The teachers, one could argue, come from an under-served group of their own. Fabiano explains, “We provide teaching opportunities to recent graduates of good schools, qualified schools and universities, who are very excited to teach young teens.” He adds that bilingualism is an important quality for ArtSmart teachers, with a high rate of Spanish-speaking students within their target communities.
Houston Chronicle – Michael Fabiano, one of the most sought-after stars in opera, embodies a Hollywoodesque charisma.
The 32-year-old tenor has a piercing gaze and keen fashion sense, and he speaks in strong, declarative sentences, pounding the table in front of him and asking if he can shed his blazer when the discussion gets heated.
Photo: Dave Rossman, Freelance