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Michael Fabiano (left) with Renée Fleming in Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia and (right) as Rodolfo in La Bohème


PHOTOS BY CORY WEAVER COURTESY SAN FRANCISCO OPERA


belief system, what we’ve been talk- ing about. He’s a traditionalist, but as an African-American man he says ‘Times change, we have to modern- ize’ …hello! And he taught me a lot about being a gentleman on stage, having compassion for people, how to handle situations and be diplo- matic. He’s not my teacher today, but I still call him my Professor. I treat my business as a singer as if I was a com- pany, and George is on the board – I have five or six advisers and if I have a big decision I call them all and get a temperature gauge from them. If they all agree, or disagree, that’s great. If not I pick my own way. It’s important to have key figures with different views around you who can support your vision. It takes a little of the emotional weight off my shoul- ders, and adds a extra little color to my vision of what I’m trying to build for the next ten, twenty, thirty, years. Their advice must be good: after


graduating in 2005 you made your concert début at Carnegie Hall in 2006, your stage début at Klagen- furt Stadttheater in 2007, then La Scala, Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, English National Opera, Dresden, Vancouver, Berlin, Limoges, Paris, Glyndebourne... Do you have a favorite opera house or city? It’s tough. I have four cities that


are dear to my heart. I love singing at the Met in New York, because I have family that lives in New York City and New Jersey. San Francisco gave me one of my two great career breaks, in which Renée Fleming was instrumental, which I’m eternally grateful for. There’s Paris, profes- sionally and personally, I have great friends there. Then London is my home away from home – if I ever live somewhere abroad it would have to


jumped track from Spanish to Italian. I speak Italian with good fluidity, ease and comprehension but sometimes imperfect grammar and French mod- erately well. I haven’t lived in a coun- try that’s not my own language for a long period. Back to Russian, you’re coming


to London to perform in Eugene Onegin. What is special about it? It’s Tchaikovsky’s great work for


be in London. I’m making my Royal Opera House début soon but I’ve worked quite a while in England already. I love being in the UK, there’s something about the tradition of the country – hah!, I’m going back to that word. I love the people, they believe in it and honor it. Do you take anything with you


on the road to remind you of home? Yes, I take my pillow. In Europe, especially Germany and Switzerland, they have those big square unsup- portive pillows. I bring my own, it’s important to sleep well – as long as my neck is supported I’m OK. You sing in many languages – did


you speak any before your career? Only Spanish. Again, rules! I loved Spanish because there are rules for everything – how to conjugate verbs, adjectives and adverbs, rules, rules, rules. The trouble is I never lived in a Spanish-speaking place, so I got the format but never learned the language in my soul. It’s frustrat- ing. When I got to college it was all French and Italian, for my style of singing, and some Russian. I feel like I


vocal music, the one most often per- formed around the world, it has huge cachet in Russia and all over. It was written for younger singers, and has young characters, even though it’s big music. It’s a playground for young singers to use their voices. I used to think it was this huge mountain, but doing it now I can kinda see why he did what he did in it. Will you get the chance to get out and see London? Oh yeah, I’ve spent so much time


there. Being in London for me is para- dise, truly. I love London, I can’t say it more strongly. It’s my favorite city outside of America. Finally, what’s the best thing about being Michael Fabiano? I get to explore my own individu-


alism. I have the opportunity to go my own way, and to figure out life by working with and learning from oth- ers. Were I to work behind a desk or in a factory I don’t know if I’d have that opportunity, and I’ve very, very grate- ful for that.


Michael Fabiano makes his Royal Opera début as Lenski in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin on December 19, 22, 30, 2015 and January 2, 4, 7, 2016. Read Michael’s blog at michaelfabianotenor.com


The American 55


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