The American tenor Michael Fabiano is speaking to me on the phone, laying out the reasons why his character should be considered crazier than the opera’s leading lady. He’s just touched down in Sydney, and the work in question is Opera Australia’s hotly anticipated production of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, famous for its soprano’s mad scene. An interesting argument to make, then.

Michael Fabiano. Photo © Jiyang Chen

His first time back after making his Australian debutin the title role of Faust for Opera Australia in 2015, Fabiano’s star has continued its steady ascent in the intervening years. At only 34, he had the rather gargantuan task of opening the Royal Opera House’s 2017/18 season in Richard Jones’ new production of La Bohème  (replacing John Copley’s beloved 1974 staging) as Rodolfo opposite Nicole Car’s Mimí, a role that’s been taken at that house by the likes of Domingo and Pavarotti. A string of performances at the Metropolitan Opera – he has appeared to acclaim in  Bohème, Traviataand Lucia– has made him something of an MVP, while his increasing recital work has seen him venture into art song.