Michael Fabiano is undeniably one of the great tenors of our time, recognized worldwide for his immense talent and the intensity that he devotes to his every moment on stage.
That dedication was evident on Wednesday night, Dec. 4, 2019, at the Merkin Hall at the Kaufmann Center when the tenor explored his artistry in order to support his other passion, ArtSmart. The tenor joined forces with Classical Vocal Arts International as well as famed soprano Nadine Sierra to raise awareness and money for Fabiano’s organization, which he founded with John Viscardi.
As Fabiano noted throughout the evening, ArtSmart offers underserved students around the U.S. with opportunities for weekly one on one voice lessons aimed at not only developing their vocal skills, but also helping them in their academic studies.
He noted that students that are a part of the program have experienced a 1.1 grade point average increase.
“Our students don’t go to detention or get expelled,” stated Fabiano. “English teachers, science teachers, social studies teachers that come to us and tells us that our students that are in your program are doing so much better.”
He noted that the program is growing and that by the end of the school year, ArtSmart will have given 20,000 free voice lessons in the year.
“By the end of the year, ArtSmart will be the largest mentoring organization in direct one-on-one musical instruction in the United States,” he noted.
Mentorship was at the core of the theme with both Fabiano and Sierra making comments about the importance of mentors in the development of youth.
Sierra, turning her attention to pianist Kamal Khan, the other major musical figure of the night, noted that he had been the first one to guide her into the world of opera as a teenager.
“He introduced me to basically what this career was all about and opened the door for me to even start to dream about this kind of career,” she stated before adding that he got her a job at 14 at the Palm Beach Opera as a chorus member. “If I hadn’t had Kamal, I really don’t think I would be here. I know that for a fact.”
“When young kids and young adults have that one one one relationship with someone and they have that imperative from someone else that has experience, their chance at life grows immensely,” Fabiano added regarding the importance of mentorship. He later invoked an important lesson that tenor George Shirley gave to him. “When an individual is imbued with an incredible talent, they have a moral responsibility to share that talent with the rest of society.”
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“When an individual is imbued with an incredible talent, they have a moral responsibility to share that talent with the rest of society.”George Shirley