SF WEEKLY – Being a professional baseball umpire from the age 14 to 24 helped prepare tenor Michael Fabiano for his life as an opera singer.
Fabiano, who plays the title role in Verdi’s Don Carlo at the San Francisco Opera, says he loved baseball, but as an overweight kid, he didn’t excel at it. So he decided to be part of the sport from behind the plate. Fabiano said he also did mock trial and debate in high school, and his playing by the rules serves him as a singer where he looks at the scores and the markings and follows the music.
And there’s another thing he learned from being an umpire, not always the most beloved person in the game.
“It taught me to be cool-headed during the times where bad things happen – and they do in opera; I’ve been booed,” he says. “When I was an umpire, I had bats thrown at me and a drunk parent jump over the fence to chase me. Those things helped me keep my cool as an opera singer.” Read more
San Francisco Classical Voice – When Michael Fabiano made his 2011 San Francisco Opera debut in Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia at age 27, the tenor already had cut a wide swath in the music world. As he returns June 12–29 to perform the title role of Verdi‘s Don Carlo for the first time, his career has gone far further still, as evidenced by his receipt of both the Richard Tucker and Beverly Sills awards and by his appearance on the cover of this month’s Opera News.
The internationally famous tenor has been very busy, both with music and with the many causes he supports. He arrived here on Monday for rehearsals from Mauritius and a United Nations International Arbitration Conference, where he sang at a gala headed by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. That came after performances in Paris (Rigoletto in Opéra Bastille), London (Onegin at Covent Garden), and Zürich (La Bohème, Opernhaus Zürich).
After May in San Francisco, Fabiano is heading to Madrid (I due Foscari, Teatro Real), Napa (opera gala at Festival Napa Valley), Houston (Faust, Houston Grand Opera), Washington (Hèrodiade, Washington Concert Opera), and the Met as Rodolfo in La Bohème and Alfredo in La Traviata.
Along with addresses by UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, delegates at the ICCA Congress in Mauritius will hear a musical recital by renowned American opera singer Michael Fabiano. GAR met him at the Royal Opera House in London before Christmas, as he prepared for a role in Tchaikovksy’s Eugene Onegin.
December 2015. Michael Fabiano wants to talk about law. The acclaimed opera tenor – the first to win both the prestigious Richard Tucker award and Beverley Sills Artist award in a single year (2014) – was a champion debater at college and thought a legal career might lie ahead. Nowadays, he closely follows the decisions of the US Supreme Court and can talk with authority on the contrasting approaches and voting patterns of the different justices.
He is looking forward to Mauritius not just because of the chance to rub shoulders with dignitaries and showcase his talent for the first time in the tropics but because he hopes to attend the congress and learn about international arbitration.
Opera News – May 2016
IF YOU CRAVE the ideal present-day embodiment of the Duke of Mantua or Rodolfo (either Bohème or Luisa Miller), no one reignites that golden-age magic the way Michael Fabiano does. There’s his magnificent, warm tone, the generous helping of squillo, and his visceral stage presence: his energy is so concentrated that he often leaves his colleagues miles behind. There’s also the thrilling inevitability of the way he sings, reminiscent of the young Luciano Pavarotti. His reviews are excellent. So why does he make so many people uneasy?
Perhaps it’s because the opera world today seems to breed a certain blandness. Many young singers push their niceness, their ordinariness, their desire to be liked and get along. Michael Fabiano is an emotional, deeply committed, bigger-than-life singer with an emotional, deeply committed, bigger-than-life personality. “I’m not a conformist,” he says. “Not at all.” Yet his fiery singing triggers a certain nervousness among opera insiders, who express concern that he brings too much intensity to his art. Fabiano is a carefully trained artist, but his brand of excitement, once a reasonable goal among Italianate tenors, seems an anomaly today.
The thirty-one-year-old singer and I are discussing this peculiar trend on the front porch of his parents’ handsome, spacious house on the New Jersey shore. It’s a picture-perfect July day at the beach, and Fabiano has had a five-mile morning run before picking me up at the train station behind the wheel of his black BMW F80 M3.