Michael Fabiano Verdi Donizetti Pentatone, from Fr.
It is often said that the worst advice you can give someone is to be yourself. After proving this beautiful debut album, however, this does not apply to the young American tenor Michael Fabiano.
Fabiano, who is a well-established international artist at the tender age of 35, could have celebrated his new contract with Pentatone with an album of popular pieces.
But no. Instead, he decided to show off his skills with a fascinating album that spanned the quarter century between the mid-1830s and early 1860s, when Verdi followed Donizetti from the middle of the period and continued it, as the liner notes we say: "From bel canto to a richer, more dramatic musical universe".
Michael Fabiano decided to show off his skills with a fascinating album that spanned the quarter century between the mid-1830s and early 1860s
Fabiano himself calls it a "paradigm shift" because "the beautiful line by Bellini" and the "crispness by Rossini" "gave way to the fire-laden later works by Donizetti". Verdi's great operas from the Middle Ages were created on the back to bring Italian opera to new musical and dramatic heights.
Landmarks Verdi masterpieces like Ernani (1844), Rigoletto (1851), Un Ballo In Maschera (1859) and La Forza del Destino (first version 1862) feature, in addition to late Donizetti masterpieces Lucia Di Lammermoor (1835), Poliuto (1848), which Fabiano sang in Glyndebourne a few years ago, and Maria Di Rohan (1843).
There are many memorable melodies and many dramatic moments in which Fabiano has to show his excellent qualities as both a lyrical and an extremely dramatic tenor.
IT'S A FACT
Fabiano was a baseball umpire from 14 to 24. The experience of audience abuse has taught him to stay cool as an opera singer.
The only concession to popular taste comes with a vivid portrayal of La Donna E Mobile (Rigoletto)Fabiano sang in Covent Garden and is just saying goodbye in Berlin.
Fabiano doesn't think the Duke of Mantua is a dedicated character to waste more of his career as a singer, and I agree.
It is a typically tenacious judgment of a singer who is very aware of the world outside the opera and feels as committed to politics on both sides of the Atlantic as he does to music.
I suspect he will give the opera his best for another 20 years and then look for a future in politics.
In the meantime, this album has become a first-class business card: a tribute not only to Fabiano's own craftsmanship, but also to Pentatone, who has linked him here to the London Philharmonic, whose opera credentials are blued every summer in Glyndebourne, and a first-class opera conductor Enrique Mazzola.
Jess Gillam Rise Decca, get out now
Years ago, ambitious young priests grew beards, put on sweaters, and played guitars in the corridors of their half-empty churches to attract a young community.
Now Radio 3 is up to the same trick and is recruiting Jess Gillam, a fun, prickly 20-year-old with a street accent that could be cut with a knife, hoping to promote the station's credibility among young people.
Will she be more successful than these Beatnik priests? Too early to say. However, one thing is certain: she is a good saxophonist. Her debut album is a business card for her talents and spectrum with pop music (Kate Bushs) This woman's work and David Bowies Where are we now?) and classical composers, from John Dowland and Alessandro Marcello to Kurt Weill and Shostakovich.
Radio 3 recruited Jess Gillam, a funny, prickly 20-year-old with a street accent that could be cut with a knife, hoping to promote the station's credibility among young people
Another piece, RANT!, composed for her by her teacher John Harle, is intended to demonstrate "her energy, her sound and her presence".
The whole album does that for sure, although 50 minutes are really light and the 14 tracks here are too bitty for really satisfying listening.
Still, it's a good advertisement for an overwhelming talent that should go far.
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