Fabiano's first experience at a major international opera house proved unsettling. "A terrible experience professionally" is how he sums up his two months at La Scala.
Arriving in Milan, he expected to sing the premiere and the telecast after an Italian tenor was fired before rehearsals began. Conductor Riccardo Chailly embarked on what Fabiano calls "a firing jag." Fabiano survived the firings. Then Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo suddenly arrived. Grigolo got the premiere and the telecast.
To make matters worse, the conductor and the coaches at La Scala forced Fabiano to rework his technique.
Midway through rehearsals, Fabiano's grandfather died. He was unable to return home to attend the funeral. "I was like a bird with clipped wings," he explains. "I didn't know what was going on. I didn't know when I was singing. I needed someone to support me and tell me I could do it. No one at La Scala gave a *&^ about me!"
Fabiano finally sang three performances at the end of the run. He was cheered when he took his curtain call.
Fabiano returned to Philadelphia wiser in the ways of the operatic world.