Rising star and tenor Michael Fabiano has performed in operas all over the world. Critics are praising his voice and his performances in places like the Metropolitan Opera, the English National Opera, San Francisco Opera, Dresden Semperoper and Opéra National de Paris. Now, he plans to make his American recital debut as part of the Harriman-Jewell Series in Kansas City Jan. 19.
Ironically, it’s 12 days shy of the 40th anniversary when another young tenor made his international recital debut at William Jewell College, as part of the college’s Fine Arts Program, which has since morphed into the Harriman-Jewell Series. Luciano Pavarotti, the tenor that many tenors aspire to a career of his magnitude, also started his signature handkerchief hold here in Kansas City.
Fabiano says it’s a happy coincidence. “Sure there is a great respect for Pavarotti. As singers, we herald him as a wonderful voice with his big personality. He had one of the biggest golden voices. And of course, he is someone many young tenors aspire to be. For me, it is an honor to be part of the series. I could be a little overwhelmed if I started thinking of the historic importance of this series. I treat it with great respect. For recitalists and for those who produce concerts, this is a top-notch series. Simply put, I am excited to sing in Kansas City.”
Initially, Fabiano planned on studying business in college. While his parents are both aspiring singers and his aunt had an operatic career in Germany, he figured on other pursuits. “In high school, I would sing and I had a strong vibrato. I knew I had a big voice. My church choir knew I could sing. People suggested I look at a singing, but I was also a champion debater and a baseball umpire for 10 years. I didn’t have my mind on music. It was fun do to and rewarding, but I never considered a career. I started studying business, but I found the passion with voice.” He graduated in 2005 from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s in vocal performance. He then headed to the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.
Recitals are very different from performing an opera. First and foremost, Fabiano says, they are more intimate. “You can see the faces of the public. There is a different mindset with a recital.” Fabiano describes his voice as lyric tenor, a medium-sized voice. He will be accompanied by pianist Laurent Philippe.