FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2014
Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center
Imagine a three-year-old boy growing up in San Juan, Puerto Rico, imitating the musical acrobatics of the iconic Michael Jackson. Those melodious antics helped the young Fernando Varela develop a strong, tenor voice, paving the way for his discovery on YouTube by one of Jackson’s producers, hit-maker and 16-time Grammy Award winner David Foster. Ultimately, Fernando won Foster’s “Born to Sing” contest culminating in a guest appearance with David Foster and Friends at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas. Fernando’s performance was reviewed as a show stopper and has been followed by numerous appearances with Foster, singing alongside an incredible list of super stars including Barbra Streisand, Lionel Richie, Neil Diamond, Peter Cetera, Babyface, Carole Bayer Sager, Kelly Clarkson, Keith Urban, Seal, Chris Botti, Jewel, Chaka Kahn, Ruben Studdard, Jessica Sanchez, Robi Draco Rosa, Charice, Australia’s Delta Goodrem and British superstar Katherine Jenkins.
At age eight, Fernando relocated with his parents to Central Florida, and while he loved music, he neither trained as a singer nor thought of becoming one until he was well into his teenage years. During his senior year, Fernando was inspired to sing and was accepted into the Central Florida Lyric Opera. During the next five years, he was transformed from an amateur singer into a dynamic professional performer.
While with the CFLO, Fernando performed throughout the country in over 16 fully staged operas and hundreds of concerts. His favorite role remains Madame Butterfly’s Lt. Pinkerton in a production directed by Metropolitan Opera legend Licia Albanese. Fernando went on to study privately with Madame Albanese in Orlando and New York. Impressing her with his enormous potential, she invited Fernando to compete in the prestigious Licia Albanese/Puccini Foundation International Vocal Competition where, despite the fact that he was one of the youngest competitors, he received study grants from the Foundation both in 2001 and 2002. Madame Albanese has said of Fernando, “At 20 years old, he is better than Pavarotti (at that age).”
In the fall of 2004, Fernando joined the Resident Artist Program with the Palm Beach Opera and covered the role of Rodolfo in La Boheme. It was in Palm Beach that Fernando met two people who drastically changed his career. The first was world-renowned voice instructor Cesar Ulloa, with whom he was able to fine-tune his technique. The second was one of the greatest tenors of all time, Maestro Placido Domingo. Fernando was able to work for his operatic idol at Palm Beach Opera’s Gala in February 2005.
Fernando’s global performances span more than 31 countries in which he has won critical acclaim. In 2006, he was invited to coach with Maestro Giancarlo Chiaramello, conductor for the late Luciano Pavarotti in Monte Carlo, Monaco. The Maestro said of Fernando, “I have heard very few voices like yours.”
August 2008, Fernando recorded his first CD, “Dare to Live,” and performed for 50,000 guests of Spiritual Master Shri Satpal Ji Maharaj in Haridwar, India. In May, 2010 Fernando traveled to Canada to debut his orchestral pops concert with The Saskatoon Symphony. He has since performed with Florida’s Orlando Philharmonic, The Sarasota Orchestra, and more recently, as David Foster’s guest with The National Symphony at The John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Each concert has been met with rave reviews from both his presenters and the media.
September 2012 saw the release of two brand new studio albums, “Prelude” and “Inspiration,” which feature beautifully orchestrated songs from Fernando’s signature “Orbison Medley” to John Denver’s “Annie’s Song” and numerous other exciting titles. 2012 closed out with an Asian tour of 5 countries with David Foster and Friends. These performances inspired standing ovations for Fernando on every occasion in arenas as big as 10,000 people strong.
All of these accomplishments are just the beginning! Fernando is a great talent. His heart surrounds each song that he performs. His charisma warmly embraces his audiences. His music uplifts the soul – and an evening spent listening to him becomes a very memorable experience.
Fernando Varela . . . his future is in the stars!