Michael Fabiano is a wildly talented tenor, dedicated performer, and a true operathlete. Recently named the hardest-working opera singer in show business, we feel truly honored to have had the opportunity to interview such an impressive individual! Known for his compelling performances, hard working nature, and euphonious tenor voice, it is no wonder why Michael Fabiano is the “man of the hour” in the opera world.
Mr. Fabiano has an inspiring list of accomplishments. In 2014, he was the recipient of both the Beverly Sills Artist Award and the Richard Tucker Award, making him the first person to win both awards in the same year. He has performed at some of the most prestigious opera houses in the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, Glyndebourne, San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, La Scala, Deutsche Oper Berlin, English National Opera, and more. In addition to performing a myriad of tenor “dream roles” at many of the world’s leading opera houses, Mr. Fabiano has also performed in concert with many of the world’s leading orchestras, including Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, and the Vienna Symphony. To learn more about Michael Fabiano, visit his website at http://michaelfabianotenor.com/.
Despite his busy performance schedule, Mr. Fabiano is dedicated to leading a healthy lifestyle. When he’s not practicing, Mr. Fabiano is a regular at Equinox. It is no easy feat to stay healthy and fit while on the road, but this impressive tenor has managed to find the balance. Thank you, Michael Fabiano, for sharing your weight loss story and wisdom with OPERATHLETIC!
Q: When did you begin your fitness journey? What inspired you to start?
A: I was 20. I remember the moment it happened. I was walking up the stairs in my house and was completely out of breath. Totally. Sweating after just maybe 18 steps. I went into the bathroom and saw that I weighed well over 250 lbs. I’m 6’0. In that split moment, I said enough and I started a tough diet and exercise plan. No carbs, no sugary drinks, no anything that would spike my blood sugar until I was able to scrub a lot of the weight. Tied this to walking and then got the running bug.
Q: How would you describe your weekly exercise routine?
A: It varies. My career is one where body tension and release is essential to optimal vocal performance and so I have peaks and valleys of work out intensity depending on the projects with which I’m working. Generally speaking, a routine of 3x lifting a week and 3x cardio a week is good. Sometimes I merge one or two of those days into one. As long as I reduce body tension, specifically in my upper torso and neck, I can do lots. I’ve discovered that doing leg workouts has helped me anchor my body more as I grow up.
Q: Do you follow a specific diet or nutritional plan?
A: Low carbs but no guilt. I’m not a diet fascist. Dieting to extremes will lead to massive swings down the line. If I want something fun, gluttonous, bad for me, etc…I have it…I just know that I have to balance it in short order with very clean food. Balance is the key for me. I do enjoy protein shakes and take them regularly (whey) but again, I’m not a fanatic.
Q: Who or what inspires you?
A: My trainer from Miami Juan Lugo who has helped me the most of all with my fitness goals over the years.
Q: What advice would you give to a performer who is just beginning their health & fitness journey?
A: Hard and fast in the beginning and then ease out. Tough dieting to shock your body for two weeks tied to intense walking or running depending on your physical condition. Then ease into a strict but reasonable diet consisting of whole foods, nuts, proteins, fruits, veggies, and low amounts of carbs. Keep containers of nuts around you so when you get hungry, you have something to munch on that’s not junk. Eat like a king in the morning, a prince in the afternoon and a pauper at night.
Q: Do you believe that your health & fitness journey has had a positive influence on your operatic career? How so?
A: Absolutely. We live in a visual centric world today. Our younger generation use technology all the time to watch videos up close of their favorite stars. Optics count. As a musician, my obligation is to the music first, to communicate something bigger than myself. But a fit body makes the experience even more credible. So, it’s part of my duty to my craft to be vocally and physically fit.
Q: What is your favorite mode of exercise (running, cycling, weightlifting, yoga, etc.)?
A: Running and stair stepper for cardio; Weight lifting; TRX
Q: How do you find the balance between leading a healthy lifestyle and keeping up with your performance career?
A: It’s tough. But I have a regiment. I have a specific meal I eat before each performance. I don’t eat at night (try to avoid it after performances though sometimes I slip). I work out on days I’m NOT performing.
Q: How did you discover your passion for singing?
A: I’ve always loved music but I found it when I got the University of Michigan with the help of George Shirley, my first voice teacher.
Q: What is your advice for those trying to pursue a career in opera?
A: Don’t just be an artist, build a business around your art. Singing is not enough. Consider all the elements of entering a career…good vocal technique, a repertory of operatic literature prepared, stage skill, stage combat skill, language skill, and combine it with a sense of how to balance a budget, how to manage money, build partnerships and relationships with people and organizations, and how to brand yourself into someone who is not just any person’s singer. A great voice, a sharp mind, a healthy body, and a positive spirit…they all count but if one of those is missing, the chances of a career are very low unless God has kissed your cords.