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Opera Stars Michael Fabiano and George Shirley Talk Michigan Roots, Mentorship Through Music

Michigan Opera Theatre’s 2019-20 season opens October 12 with a gala concert featuring a renowned tenor with Michigan roots.


“An Evening with Michael Fabiano” will also include a performance from American Ballet Theatre and the MOT Orchestra.

Fabiano is a University of Michigan graduate and a student of renowned tenor George Shirley, a Detroit native who will be honored at the gala.

Shirley was the first African-American tenor to sing a leading role at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

“I believe my career as a performer was all about my learning more about being a professional singer, and in particular an opera singer, was all about so I could share it with people like Michael,” says Shirley.

“Really in the first few weeks of studying with Professor Shirley here, he kind of instilled in me this moral imperative about when one has a talent, one has a burden and a responsibility to share their talent,” says Fabiano. “That had an impact on me in a really profound sense. And if I have the ability to give people years and years of good art, I have the burden to share it, I have the moral responsibility to share it. And that’s because of George.”

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