"... a supple, communicative voice that is honeyed and forthright by turns."
Erica Jeal, The Guardian
"…his singing of lyrical music is unfailingly rewarding, especially since he also boasts an excellent messa di voce... Sabata is also excellent with passaggi, articulating with precision and a high level of musicality…"
Brian Robins, Opera
"Sabata has one of the richest of counter-tenor voices, his warmth of tone carrying intimations of decadence. A perceptive vocal actor, he gets to the essence of his protagonists… The beauty of Sabata's singing is breathtaking, however unsettling his characters…"
Tim Ashley, The Guardian
Catalan countertenor Xavier Sabata trained as an actor at Barcelona’s Institut del Teatre before studying singing at the Escola Superior de Musica Catalunya and at the Musikhochschule, Karlsruhe, where his teachers were Hartmut Höll and Mitsuko Shirai.
Opera productions have led him to the most distinguished opera houses worldwide including Teatro Real Madrid, Teatro del Liceu in Barcelona, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Theater an der Wien, Teatro La Fenice in Venice and the Grand Théâtre de Genève.
Sabata's repertoire spans from Cavalli and Monteverdi and the heroes of baroque opera seria to contemporary works. Recent roles have included Bertarido in Handel Rodelinda with Claus Guth under Stefano Montanari at Opéra de Lyon, and also at Teatro Municipal de Santiago, Chile; Ottone in a revival of Monteverdi L’incoronazione di Poppea under Diego Fasolis at Staatsoper Unter den Linden; Endimione La Calisto directed by David Alden with Ivor Bolton at Teatro Real, Madrid; the world premiere of L’enigma di Lea at Gran Teatro del Liceu, Barcelona; title role in Handel Rinaldo at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and on tour with Christophe Rousset and the Kammerorchester Basel and most recently the title role in Orlando for the Perelada Festival.
He has appeared with such ensembles as Les Arts Florissants, Europa Galante, Collegium 1704, the Venice Baroque Orchestra and Orquesta Barroca Sevilla and Il Pomo D’Oro and collaborates regularly with conductors such as Fabio Biondi, René Jacobs, Jordi Savall, Alan Curtis, Gabriel Garrido, Andrea Marcon, Xavier Dìaz Latorre, Maxim Emelyanychev and Ivor Bolton. He performs regularly as many of the major international concert venues and festivals including the Salzburg Festival, the Festival d’Aix-en- Provence, Innsbruck Festival of Early Music and the Halle, Gottingen and Dresdner Musikfestspiele.
He was awarded the Premio Ópera Actual in 2013, and the Premi Tendències d’el Mundo in 2014, and was nominated for best male artist in the 2019 International Opera Awards.
His extensive discography under major labels such as Virgin Classics/EMI and Decca includes recordings of Handel's operas Faramando, Arminio, Ottone, the multi-award-winning recording of Alessandro, and the title role in Tamerlano. The Guardian described his solo disc ‘Bad Guys’ as ranking ‘among the most intelligent and striking recital discs of recent years’. He also participated in the Gala Night of Countertenors team, alongside Max Emanuel Cencic, Yuriy Mynenko and Franco Fagioli, released by DECCA. In addition to his performances on the opera stage Xavier has a passion for Lied, and has recently recorded Schubert Winterreise for the Berlin Classics label.
In 21/22 he will return to Vienna Staastoper to reprise the role of Ottone in Monteverdi’s Poppea under Pablo Heras-Casado after his house debut there last season. Other highlights include a tour of Winterreise, Voce di dio in Scarlatti Il Primo Omicidio for Essen Opera and Orlando for Halle Oper. He will also direct and star in Schoenberg’s iconic piece Pierrot Lunaire at the Teatro del Liceu in Barcelona.
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Handel's Orlando, title role
Festival Castell de Perelada (July 2021)
The hero of Ariosto and the evening was Xavier Sabata, involved in the project since its genesis and who had previously collaborated with Villalobos. That absolute rapport with the Sevillian director gave rise to an interpretation of great dramatic stature and full of delivery. Sabata dived into the psychological recesses of the character extracting scenic and musical moments of great expressive force. His vocal line was always elegant, the coloratura precise and the accentuation adequate. A personal triumph in a role created for the great Senesino and that fits him like a ring to his finger.
Pablo Melendez-Haddad, Opera Actual
Monteverdi's L’incoronazione di Poppea, Ottone
Wiener Staatsoper (May 2021)
The Countertenor Xavier Sabata gives an impeccable Ottone.
Peter Jarolin, Kurier
Countertenor Xavier Sabata celebrated an intense House debut as Ottone.
Maria Scholl, APA
Xavier Sebata’s Ottone also seems to be on the side of reason with his creamy, masculine counter. In any case, he sings his impressive part with warmth and deep feeling…
Bernd Feuchtner, Klassikinfo.de
Auditorium of CaixaForum (March 2021)
Sabata has shown on many occasions that he is a stage animal, with a magnificent natural ability to represent what he sings. It is not a countertenor given, but is always an earthly experience, which is to be thankful. In this stage Winterreise had the complicity of Francisco Poyato, someone from whom we could say that it is on the piano what Sabata is in the voice, two natural performances, sensitive, far from the artifice and totally dedicated to the musical experience.
Manel Haro, Llegir, Barcelona
[…] Sabata demonstrates excessive ability to overcome a challenge such as Winterreise and make a coherent and respectful version at the same time as personal.
Gemma Bayod, nuvol.com
…immense performance and hypnotic singing of a Xavier Sabata who knew how to control himself and who tore the songs apart as if they were scenes of a monodrama as contained as it was heartbreaking. His vocality made his songs his own, overcoming extreme bass without problems.
Pablo Melendez-Haddad, itsnews
Handel's Agrippina, Ottone
Orquesta Barroca de Sevilla, Enrico Onofri, Teatro de la Maestranza Seville (February 2020)
Xavier Sabata’s well-constructed Ottone also stood out from the rest of the cast because he knows Handel well: his controlled singing and beautiful timbre are ideal for this role.
Pedro Coco, Il mundo classico
Scarlatti's Il Primo Omicidio, Voce di dio
Aalto-Musiktheater Essen (January 2020)
Finally Xavier Sabata as God with a countertenor voice. Focussed singing with explosive statements of power …
Andreas Falentin, Die Deutsche Bühne
Xavier Sabata portrays God with a dark-timbred countertenor voice, giving him a certain dignity.
Thomas Molke, Online Musik Magazin
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