"... 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’s 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 and at Wiener Staatsoper in Jan Lauwers’ production; 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 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.
The past season saw Xavier return to Vienna Staastoper to reprise the role of Ottone in Monteverdi’s Poppea under Pablo Heras-Casado. Other highlights included a tour of Winterreise, Voce di dio in Scarlatti Il Primo Omicidio for Essen Opera and title role Orlando for Halle Oper, which he will revisit in 22/23. He also directed and starred in Schoenberg’s iconic piece Pierrot Lunaire at the Teatro del Liceu in Barcelona.
Highlights of Xavier’s upcoming season include a series of concerts with Vespres d’Arnadi entitled ‘inVISIBILI,’ performing forgotten Baroque works at the Wigmore Hall, Palau de la Musica Orfeó Català, Auditori Nacional in Madrid and La Caixa Foundation, Seville. He will return to the Liceu in Barcelona, in the new opera Alexina B by composer Raquel García Tomás and in the role of Ottone in Calixto Bieito’s production of L’incoronazione di Poppea under Jordi Savall and sing Il disinganno in Il Trionfo del Tempo with Les Nouveaux Caractères.
This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.
Purcell's The Fairy Queen
Peralada Festival, July 2022
“Continuity was provided by the comedian and countertenor, Xavier Sabata.”
“Sabata is very funny – and he is also a fine singer, more than capable of giving Purcell due attention.”
Simon Mundy, Opera Now
Il Giardino d'Amore (Venus)
Globe Theatre Neuss, Dorothee Oberlinger
"Star-Countertenor Xavier Sabata gibt der Venus butterweiche AltKlänge"
"Star Countertenor Xavier Sabata has a buttery alto tone as Venus"
Rheinische Post, Regine Müller
"Sabata verfügt als Venere über einen sehr weichen Countertenor, der in den Koloraturen große Beweglichkeit besitzt. ... unterstreicht Sabata darstellerisch den erhabenen Charakter der Liebesgöttin. Der Tonfall in ihren Arien ist sehr melancholisch und verzweifelt."
"As Venus, Sabata has a very soft countertenor, with great flexibility in the coloratura... Sabata dramatically underlines the sublime character of the goddess of love"
OMM, Thomas Molke
Handel's Amadigi, Title Role
Auditorio Nacional, Madrid with Vespres d'Arnadi, March 2022
“Una de las grandes virtudes de Sabata es su presencia escénica, dada su formación actoral además de la canora, lo que favorece que sus roles sean siempre muy verosímiles, incluso en versiones en concierto, como fue el caso. Además, es un cantante de saborear el texto, que en su vocalidad alcanza siempre cotas de dicción y expresión muy elevadas. “
One of Sabata's great virtues is his stage presence, given his acting training as well as the singer, which makes his roles always very plausible, even in concert versions, as was the case. In addition, he is a singer to savor the text, which in his vocality always reaches very high levels of diction and expression.
Mario Guada, CodaLario
“Sabata como Amadigi resultó interesante en lo vocal y muy reseñable en lo teatral, a través de su gestualidad escénica, siempre acertada. Voz de estupenda dicción y de fácil coloratura destacó en varias de sus arias, como en la preciosa línea de canto demostrada en ‘Notte, amica dei riposi’ o la coloratura en el aria de bravura ‘Non sa temere questo mio petto’. “
Sabata as Amadigi was interesting vocally and highly noteworthy theatrically, through his stage gestures, always successful. Her voice with stupendous diction and easy coloratura stood out in several of her arias, such as in the beautiful singing line shown in ' Notte, amica dei ripos' or the coloratura in the bravura aria 'Non sa temere questo mio petto'.
Carlos Orejas, Opera World
“El reparto estaba no solo encabezado, sino protagonizado de forma casi total por Xavier Sabata, quien encarnó uno de los papeles haendelianos más extensos. Su Amadigi brilló en los momentos más delicados…Sabata transita de forma magistral por los diversos afectos con una implicación y expresividad fuera de serie.”
The cast was not only led, but starred almost entirely by Xavier Sabata, who played one of the most extensive Handelian roles. His Amadigi shone in the most delicate moments…Sabata masterfully moves through the various affects with an involvement and expressiveness that is out of the ordinary.
Javier Sarria Pueyo, Scherzo
“Sabata, en el rol protagonista, exhibió su innegable carisma y esa fascinación que siente por los personajes trágicos y torturados. Cuanto más grandioso e intenso dramáticamente es el personaje, más se crece el contratenor catalán. La voz es pulposa y de bello color, pese a adolecer de cierta falta de metal, pero lo que destaca en Sabata es su deslumbrante dominio de la coloratura, siempre precisa, y su arrolladora potencia expresiva en los recitativos y el canto spianato.”
Sabata, in the leading role, exhibited his undeniable charisma and that fascination he feels for tragic and tortured characters. The more grandiose and dramatically intense the character is, the more the Catalan countertenor grows. His voice is pulpy and beautifully colored, despite suffering from a certain lack of metal, but what stands out in Sabata is his dazzling mastery of coloratura, always precise, and his overwhelming expressive power in recitatives and canto spianato .
Antoni Colomer, Operà Actual
CASABLANCAS L’enigma di Lea (Dr. Schicksal)
Gran Teatre del Liceu (February 2019, DVD release reviewed March 2022)
…Xavier Sabata threatens to steal the show as the manipulative circus-master-turned-doctor…
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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Liederabend, Final Journeys
An Eclectic Evening
inVISIBILI with Vespres d'Arnadi
Some of the synonyms of INVISIBLE are imperceptible, covert, disguised, veiled…
INVISIBILI is a double tribute to:
-first of all to those composers whose relevance has been covert, disguised, veild… by
some complex processes during the construction of the Music History.
-And second to all those extraordinary musicians who remain covered, disguised, veiled by
the homogenizing structure of an Orchestra.
This CD is a collection of arias to put under the spot extraordinary composers -rarely performedand extraordinary musicians -since almost each aria has a solo instrument as obligato-
I am an unusual thing (with Kebyart Ensemble)
A countertenor and a saxophone quartet on stage. Undoubtedly, something unusual. Kebyart and Xavier Sabata join forces to offer an eclectic and personal songbook where all music, from Vivaldi to Pärt, takes on a new dimension under this novel combination. The song I am an unusual thing by Michael Nyman, which takes up Mozart's words three days before he died, defines the essence of the artistic proposal itself.
L'Alessandro Amante (ensemble programme)
Released on Aparté in 2018
“… a singer whose work has always combined beauty, intelligence and psychological perception in equal measure…Sabata sings this complex programme with his customary elegance and flair. His dark, warm alto has always sounded good in slower arias, where the long lines flow with ease and his breath control is exemplary…. His coloratura, always placed at the service of characterisation or drama, can be spectacular.”
Tim Ashley, Gramophone
Mad Songs (ensemble programme)
Ensemble: Soloist + 4 musicians (cello, gamba, theorb, harpsichord + positive organ)
Duration: 1 hour without break
Furioso (ensemble programme)