Michael Fabiano

Verdi, Donizetti

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Tenor Michael Fabiano has been getting all kinds of good press, not only in the U.S., but also in Britain and on the European continent. This album of Donizetti and Verdi arias marks his debut for the Pentatone label in the Netherlands, and it would have been easy for him to execute a satisfying recording of popular arias. Instead, he offers an album with a specific goal, he "reveals the strong ties between late Donizetti and early Verdi... shedding light on a paradigmatic shift in Italian opera." This point is not original to Fabiano, but to hear it brought alive by a real singer is well worth your while. It was Donizetti who began to break up the duality of recitative and tune that persisted through most of the bel canto era, with the recitatives inflected into a series of dramatic moments, and the arias breaking off for outbursts of emotion. Sample the selections from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor with its deep and exciting interpenetration of recitative and aria. The whole idea is suited to Fabiano's voice, which combines a lot of power with a fair dramatic sense. On the Verdian side he delivers convincing performances of operas that are often classed as inferior, even Oberto (1839), the very first one. Fabiano's voice is a bit lacking in tonal shading, but there is every indication here that he will develop in this regard as he approaches new repertory intelligently. With lively accompaniment from the London Philharmonic under Enrique Mazzola, this is a debut worthy of your attention.

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