Fabio Armiliato is one of the most respected Italian tenors of his generation. Together with his late wife Daniela Dessi, he performed all over the world in many of the most popular works. He also made a career out of championing less known operas.
While he is currently in demand in Europe, his U.S. engagements continue to be limited with his last appearance being with the New York City Opera in 2017. As we celebrate the tenor’s birthday on August 17 (he was born in 1956), let’s take a look back at his engagements with the Metropolitan Opera where he has not appeared since 2004.
Armiliato made his Met debut on February 16, 1993, in a single performance of “Il Trovatore” with Aprile Millo and Dolora Zajick. Nello Santi conducted. He would perform the role in 1998 as part of the Met’s summer concerts alongside June Anderson and Larissa Diadkova. His brother Marco Armiliato would conduct his first ever performances with the Met as well.
The following season he would appear in two performances of “Aida” with Sharon Sweet on one night and Andrea Gruber on another. Dolora Zajick performed her signature Amneris on both nights. In 1998 he would go on to sing another 10 performances of the role with Sharon Sweet and Zajick. During that same run, he would perform it with Deborah Voigt and Olga Borodina.
The following season he appeared in “Cavalleria Rusticana” with Maria Guleghina as Santuzza for four performances. In 1997, he would go on tour to Japan with the company and perform alongside Guleghina. And in 2004 he would reprise the role alongside Eva Urbanova.
In 1995 Armiliato would perform Gabriele Adorno in “Simon Boccanegra” with Kiri Te Kanawa and Vladimir Chernov. James Levine conducted the two performance he sang.
When the Met presented “Fedora” with Mirella Freni, it was well known that Plácido Domingo was her tenor. But Armiliato got three performances in 1996 and 1997 alongside the legendary singer.
The tenor got one performance in “Tosca” on tour in Japan. He performed his signature role in 1997 with Maria Guleghina and James Levine.
In 1997 Armiliato got to headline a revival of “Don Carlo” conducted by James Levine. The revival included the debut of Marina Mescheriakova as well as a distinguished cast including Thomas Hampson, James Morris and Dolora Zajick. Myung-Whun Chung conducted the performance that critics called “a special revelation.” He would sing the role four times with the company.
In 2002, Armiliato would join his wife Dessi in “Madama Butterly” for four performances. Marco Armiliato conducted and the performance was broadcast on the radio.
In 2004, he would go on to sing his final Met performances as Don José in “Carmen.” Marina Domashenko sang the title role while Plácido Domingo conducted in Franco Zeffirelli’s production in the early part of the run. His final performance at the Met was on Nov. 4 with Irina Mishura as Carmen.
In total Met audiences got to hear the famed tenor 62 times.