Dallas — The rise to fame of tenor Michael Fabiano, who performs in the Dallas Opera's Robert E. and Jean Ann Titus Art Song Recital Series on Sunday afternoon, has been fast and incendiary. In 2007, as a finalist in the Metropolitan Opera auditions, he was one of three singers profiled in Susan Froemke’s documentary The Audition. He was the Grand Prize Winner. From there, it was a progression of roles in major international opera houses. More awards followed, including the first peason to win both the Beverly Sills Artist Awards and the Richard Tucker Award in the same year, 2014.
In April of 2015, He stepped, with glorious results, into the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor with only enough notice to rush from his home in Philadelphia to New York City. Last week, he sang Rudolfo in the Met’s opulent Zefferelli production of La bohème with local favorite soprano Ailyn Pérez as Mimi.
Fabiano was one of the few singers who managed to keep his dignity while displaying his gleaming tenor in the Santa Fe Opera’s tragically misguided production of La traviata in 2013. My review is here. Locally, in 2010, he was terrific in the Fort Worth Opera’s production of Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love. My review is here.
I caught up with him in November right after his sang a magnificent performance of the leading role in Gounod’s Faust at Houston Grand Opera—no small undertaking. I was surprised that he wanted to talk with me after such an experience, one that would leave many singers exhausted from the effort. Instead, Fabiano appeared to be energized by the experience and it would not be a surprise to discover he could sing the role again right there and then.
When he entered the room, he was in a crisp white shirt with about three of the top buttons open, as if he dressed in a hurry to get down to our interview. He radiated vibrant youth and an affable openness that only added to his natural physical beauty. It all would have been a bit overwhelming except for the normalizing fact that he was munching on a box of animal crackers and drinking a soda.
“Please excuse my snack, but the performance left me a little hungry and thirsty,” he said.
We could have talked about Faust for the entire interview, but I wanted to get to his upcoming recital in Dallas.
“I like to sing recitals and they are about half of my engagements,” he says. “You can really connect with the audience as yourself, not a part you are playing like Faust.”
He also likes to sing a varied repertoire.
“I haven’t decided on the complete program for Dallas yet but I will probably include songs by composers such as Franz Liszt, Henri Duparc, Giacomo Puccini, and Amy Beach,” he said.
Songs by Amy Marcy Cheney Beach (1867-1944) is a pleasantly surprising inclusion. She was the first successful American female composer and pianist and is only recently enjoying something of a revival. In her lifetime, she was known as Mrs. H. H. Beach and her husband, a prominent Boston doctor, limited her musical activities as was befitting a proper Boston matron. He died in 1910, freeing her to resume a musical career full-time, and resume being “Amy.”
Whatever and whenever Fabiano sings, this will be a wonderful opportunity to hear this young tenor.
His reviews overflow with superlatives. Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle called him “…one of the great operatic tenors of our day, diving into both familiar and off-beat repertoire and delivering it with fluency and ringing power.”
Anne Midgette, one of the best music critics of the era, in The Washington Post raved about his “…sound heroic and translucent, with no evident strain, culminating in a show-stopping performance of his aria.”
Fabiano is well on his way to stardom, so don’t miss this chance to hear him, up close and personal, in the more intimate setting of the Dallas City Performance Hall instead of an opera house.