Cher Public

Light up the sky

Either tonight’s concert performance of I Lombardi by Opera Orchestra of New York was a “star is born” moment for Michael Fabiano, or else there is no such thing as a “star is born” moment any more. La Cieca, who always tries to look on the bright side, will simply that Fabiano sang the way opera is supposed to be sung: warm, ardent, full-throated, fully Italianate… but only to the top, not over.

Our Own JJ will have more to say about the performance later this week via the electrons of Musical America, but La Cieca will simply add, “You should have been there.”

Photo: Arielle Doneson

  • redbear

    He is singing in the opening of the Opera National de Paris season in September. He is sharing the Edgardo with Grigolo. His cast, with Yoncheva and Petean, looks not at all “second” to Tezier and Ciofi.

  • Benedetta Funghi-Trifolati

    I had not heard Fabiano live until last night and thought he was unquestionably the highlight of the evening. This is an impressive young singer and his performance reminded me of first hearing a very young and unknown Jose Carreras at the NYCO, not that they sound particularly alike (there ARE moments) but in the sense of hearing an important and lovely voice, stirringly-used. Fabiano sings and sounds like he has a clue about Italy, Busseto or Parma, and not like the standard-issue, correct, but churned-out-of-an-American-conservatory-or-regional-apprentice program. It sounded Italian, it sounded like Verdi; idiomatic, and with understanding and attention to the words. He sang with long line, supported tone, legato, feeling and plenty of ping and squillo for higher tones that required it. He interacted or attempted to interact with his colleagues, most of whom had their heads buried in the score. Even in love music, Miss Meade barely turned her head to look at Mr. Fabiano. Miss Meade has strong raw material, some sporadic moments of excitement, but lacks polish. There’s still too much emphasis on technique and getting the notes out, not leaving much leeway to shape or play with words, infuse emotion into the tone. The top at forte or pianissimo (both impressive) sounds somewhat separated from the rest of the voice. Sadly, she just seems utterly lacking in personality (at least in concert performances which is where I’ve seen her — perhaps she’s more animated in staged performances.) She pours out prodigious amounts of sound but remains visibly impassive, expressionless and phlegmatic even in moments of supposed anger, passion, grief, ecstasy. Her face does not reflect the music. Pagano has a lot to sing and Kevin Short gave a capable, yeoman-like performance, producing the required tone, but without ever remotely sounding like a Pinza, De Angelis, Siepi, etc. All the smaller roles were well cast with special kudos to Noah Baetge as Arvino and Brandon Cedel as Pirro. Concertmaster Erica Kiesewetter ably performed the mini-concerto-like introduction to the famous Act III Trio. Eve Queler conducted in her usual plodding, foursquare style; loud, rhythmically slack and devoid of slancio, but is to be thanked for providing New Yorkers with evenings of lesser-known works sung by promising talents. Hearing the healthy voice and beautiful singing of Mr. Fabiano, as the deceased Oronte, Giselda’s vision from Heaven, floating out into the auditorium from where he was strategically placed high in a 2nd-tier side box, intoning, ‘In cielo benedetto Giselda per te sono’ was quite a stirring moment. Viva Verdi!

  • ianw2

    Well done everyone for the restraint in not insisting that Gelb immediately sack everyone and put Fabiano in as Chenier, Nemorino, Lensky, Tamino, Lysander, The Emperor, the Duke and the Drum Major.

    • All that goes without saying, Ian!

    • Camille

      You forgot Otello, ian. A broad jump from Cassio to the Big Guy would be a spectacular feat, nicht?

      The first time I heard him, as the evil lover Raffaele, of the straying wife Lina in Stiffelio, I fervently wished someone would throw a sack over Señor Cura’s head and haul him off the stage, to substitute Fab Fabiano instead.

      Very talented guy and here’s hoping it all goes at an even pace so he can cope with the ride onto bigger and better things. God knows, decent tenors are always scarcer than hens teeth.

    • Bianca Castafiore

      Too bad your snark knows no restraints…

      • ianw2

        I look forward to his Tristan opposite Matos’ Isolde, right?

        • Bianca Castafiore

          No, you don’t… You are too busy being snarky than to add anything of substance, cherie…

    • zinka

      Michael is too smart..i told him last night I was naming all his roles in my head…but he wisely said,”In 10 years.” BUT I want ADRIANA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a Maurizio!!!!!!

      • bassoprofundo

        zinka, is there any tenor with whom you are NOT on a first name basis?

        • zinka

          Mia GELOSA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • zinka

          How could I ever forget those old days at the Met in my youth?. This was when Dickie and Jan were telling me how they hated each other. Then Mario said he would leave when Franco came to the Met. Gino had a huge voice but was upset when he lost his voice during “Di quella pira,” and this left Charlie as Ruiz dumfounded.
          I also must mention how we had a great party with Lauritz, Set, Max, and Leo’s son Walter (not a tenor).
          I have so many memories but do not want to be a name dropper, although i must say that tomorrow Roberto, Massimo, Jonas, Juan Diego, and me will have a picnic by the fountain at Lincoln Center.
          Just wait till next season when I switch and will be going out with Peter, Tommy, Mariusz, and Placido(WAIT!!!!!…He does not belong!!)

          as ever Charlie…a basso less-profundo, but nicer.

          • bluecabochon

            Just as long as I can have playdates with Jay, Simon and Iestyn, you can have all of THEM others, Zinka.


          • Angelo Saccosta

            Brava Zinka, something I said to her face many times. The youngsters today just don’t get it. Sara Tucker told me to call her husband Ruby more than once in the tiny dressing room at the old Met, where I also spoke to Mario in person and to Lenny after a glorious Ernani in Fall 1956, with your namesake.

  • MontyNostry

    Good news. The Verdi Requiem with Fabiano and Farnocchia (from Norway) can still be viewed here.

  • zinka

    The dude comes out and thrills the audience beyond belief..and the crabbos here try o be big party pooooopies….

  • Michael Fabiano on sale alert: the SF Symphony concert of May 5, with a program of An Die Ferne Geliebte, Beethoven’s 4th and Adams’ semi-new Infinite Jest (a sort of concerto grosso featuring the St. Lawrence Quartet) is on sale through tomorrow with 30-dollar seats for the orchestra. Promotion code SPRINGSALESFS30

    Come for the Fabiano, stay for Geoff Nuttall’s invigorating exercise routine.

  • Liz.S

    Wait, are all those 3, Meade, Fabiano, Cedel from AVA? If so, viva Philly!

    • manou
      • MontyNostry

        It is most impressive. Interesting that Joyce DD didn’t have a good experience there, though. She said she had to reconstruct her voice and confidence afterwards (at Houston, I think).

        And I think this recent AVA alumna should be singing French repertoire around the place! Maybe not the most conventionally pretty of voices, but there’s something going on.

    • hagenschmagen

      Brandon is from The Curtis Institute.

      The next two big tenors coming out of AVA are WIlliam Davenport and Diego Silva.

      • Liz.S

        Aha, thank you. But still, viva Philly! :-)

  • MontyNostry
    • Quanto Painy Fakor

      Who is Steve Smith, the author of the NYT review?
      Are they preparing to retire TT?

      • Hippolyte

        Smith has reviewed music for the Times since 2006.

  • grandtier

    C’mon JJ, you can write a more trenchant review than Smith’s.

  • aulus agerius

    Anyone who heard MF sing only loud and louder last night wasn’t paying attention. I didn’t mind the conducting: Verdi provides the energy and excitement.

  • arepo

    After last night’s triumph from Michael Fabiano, I am a strong believer. That man can SING!
    His after-death aria, which was performed on the second tier, was nothing short of spectacular.
    He was very pleased with the well-deserved stomping and bravos that were hurled his way non-stop.

    Unlike another who dissed Meade, I must say that I was more than thrilled with her. I think two reasons were involved. The first being that it was a concert version and no acting was necessary which strengthened her performance.
    Not being familiar with the opera and having nothing to compare her exquisitely rendered arias with any other soprano to see whether she was singing off key
    or not, I truly was pleased with her voice. She has a wonderful way with pianissimos.
    The entire evening was one that was very fulfilling and a mention must be made of the magnificent chorale which did a bang up job with some rather intricate singing.

    • zinka

      Opera used to be this way a lot more…Those Fraus,Elektras,Cheniers,etc…..This perf.showed what a cast can do to make people ROAR…Rarely happens anymore……

  • grisha

  • papopera

    He’s quite classically handsome, have you been able to ascertain if he has a big basket in addition to his voice ??