Fernando Varela (singer)

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Fernando Varela
Background information
Birth name Fernando Julio Varela
Born May 1, 1980
San Juan, Puerto Rico, United States
Genres Classical, Pop Music, Classical Crossover
Occupation(s) Recording Artist
Instruments Vocalist
Years active 1997–present
Labels Universal Music Group, Universal Classics, Deutsche Grammophon, Verve Label Group
Associated acts Forte Tenors, David Foster
Website http://www.fernandovarela.com

Fernando Varela (born May 1, 1980) is an American operatic and classical crossover tenor, who has performed in staged operas, as a member of the classical crossover trio Forte Tenors, and as a solo artist. As a solo artist, he has toured internationally with David Foster, and also tours independently, having completed a European tour in 2016. In 2017, Varela debuted his PBS special "Fernando Varela: Coming Home" and joined Sarah Brightman on the Royal Christmas Gala tour November - December, 2017.[1]

Early years[edit]

Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Varela's family moved to central Florida when he was 8.[2] He began singing at age 17 because he was "chasing after a girl who was an opera singer." At age 18, he auditioned for the music program at the University of Central Florida, where "they laughed at me. They told me I didn’t have what it took to be a singer." Varela said that was the spark that made him decide to pursue singing "for real."[3]


Fernando singing with David Foster at the Mandalay Bay Arena in 2011

Discovered by David Foster in his Born to Sing competition, Varela has since performed with David on multiple tours in over 31 countries across the globe. Singing anything from Nessun Dorma to taking on all the parts in Bohemian Rhapsody in a solo performance, Varela's music spans a range of genres. David said of him "Luciano Pavarotti has been reborn! Varela has the voice and personality of a superstar."[4] After performing in The Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City (produced by Walt Disney Entertainment, televised by Telemundo), Varela was approached by, and invited to study under Metropolitan Opera’s assistant director, Joan Dornemann. Varela has also been mentored by Mme. Licia Albanese, as well as by Maestro Giancarlo Chiaramello, conductor for Luciano Pavarotti. The Maestro said of Varela, "I have heard very few voices like yours."[5] In Central Florida, Varela worked extensively with Bill Doherty, under whom Varela performed with the Central Florida Lyric Opera.[6] He has also performed with the Palm Beach Opera, having performed in a total of 16 fully staged operas.[7][8] As of fall 2014, Varela embarked on a 50 city tour of the US and Canada.[9][10][11][12][13]

Varela was a founding member of the classical crossover group Forte Tenors, who placed 4th on Season 8 of America's Got Talent .[14][15][16] As a ChildFund LIVE! artist, Varela, along with his wife Susan, traveled to Ecuador, and have been working to help find sponsorship of every child in the village they visited.[17] He was named to Huffington Post's list of 50 Top Latino Voices To Follow On Twitter.[18] Varela is also a producer, having produced his own albums and those of several other artists, as well as numerous events and shows in Central Florida and across the country.[19]

Varela has recently completed production of his newest CD, "Vivere". This CD is being produced by Patrick Hamilton, who has also recently produced a chart-topping CD for Katherine Jenkins. Varela traveled to London to record with the orchestra and choir at Abbey Road Studios. He performed in his "Back to my Roots" concert, his first in Puerto Rico, on August 22, 2015, along with Puerto Rican group Tré, and accompanied by William Joseph, pianist and composer. In the fall of 2015, Varela headlined the Night of the Proms tour, held at the Ahoy Rotterdam, Netherlands, and the Sportpaleis in Antwerp Belgium through November, along with dates in Germany all throughout December.[20][21][22] Tour goers and critics have shared reviews such as this "The name that will surely be remembered is that of the classical tenor Fernando Varela. He is a master of his craft, but also dares to color outside the lines." [23] As of December 1, 2015 it was announced that Varela has been signed by Deutsche Grammophon, and his new CD under their label was released March 10, 2017. Vois Des Arts noted in a recent review "There is in the atmosphere of Varela’s new disc Vivere something of the sense of inexpressible triumph that <Maria> Callas must have felt when Chicagoans’ ovations for her singing of ‘Un bel dì vedremo’ resounded in the Civic Opera House. Rather than contorting himself into others’ musical molds, Varela finds and refines the music within himself. Vivere is not a disc that aims to say ‘I told you so’ to harsh judges. Rather, the singer says to the listener, ‘I told me so.’ ", and concluded their review with "This is what Vivere ultimately conveys most arrestingly: these are the sounds of a modern troubadour living through music." [24][25][26][27]

March 2016 found Varela touring Belgium and The Netherlands to promote the release of his new CD.[28] June and July saw Fernando singing as a special guest to trumpet player Chris Botti. July also offered Fernando the opportunity to sing in front of some 250,000 soccer fans at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate prior to Germany's Euro 2016 Semi-Final match with France. In August, Varela performed as the opening act for Lionel Richie, at the Universal Inside 2016 event at Berlin's Mercedes Benz Arena, as well as singing with the Fireworks at Potsdamer Schlössernacht at Sanssouci.[29][30] He has also recently completed taping of a PBS television special that began airing beginning in March 2017, to include a live taping of his "Coming Home" concert held in front of a sold-out crowd on November 30, 2016 at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in his hometown of Orlando, Florida. A duet of "A Thousand Years" with Jackie Evancho recorded live during this concert, has been included on Evancho's CD "Two Hearts"[31][32]

Immediately before leaving to join Sarah Brightman on the Royal Christmas Gala tour, Fernando responded to the devastation of his home island of Puerto Rico by hurricanes Irma and Maria by organizing a benefit concert. Within a very short timeframe, Fernando produced and presented Fernando and Friends for Puerto Rico. The concert was held in the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center at The Villages, Florida, with 100% of the proceeds being given to PRxPR to aid in the recovery efforts and rebuilding of Puerto Rico. Fernando was able to give 100% of ticket sales directly to aid Puerto Rico, with every typical cost associated with presenting the concert having been donated. Fully 100% of the labor, talent and equipment for the concert was given in donation, so that all of the proceeds would go directly to help Puerto Rico.[33][34]


  • "Caruso" – (with Forte Tenors) single, Sony/Columbia Records (digital release)
  • Forte – (with Forte Tenors) album, Sony/Columbia Records, Released November 12, 2013
  • "Defining The Moment" Released 2005
  • "Dare to Live" Released December 23, 2008
  • "Prelude" Released September 10, 2012
  • "Inspiration" Released September 13, 2012
  • "Vivere" - Deutsche Gramophone, Released March 10, 2017


  1. ^ "Royal Christmas Gala". 
  2. ^ Terrero, Nina (2013-07-30). "Forte singer Fernando Varela: "America's Got Talent" could be ticket to opera dreams come true". NBC Latino. Retrieved 2014-03-18. 
  3. ^ Fortuna, Michael (December 2013). "Fernando's Got Talent". The Villages Magazine. The Villages, Florida. Retrieved July 17, 2015 – via "The Villages Magazine feature on Fernando Varela": Michael L. Fortuna at WordPress.com. 
  4. ^ "Exclusive photos: Rising stars steal David Foster's show at Mandalay - Las Vegas Sun News". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2014-03-18. 
  5. ^ "Fernando Varela returns home in show with Maestro Bill Doherty". The Villages News. 
  6. ^ "Fernando Varela Reflects Whirlwind Year". The Villages News. 
  7. ^ Tomorrow’s Tenor Superstar Fernando Varela | JO LEE Magazine
  8. ^ "The Vibe: 'America's Got Talent' finalist Fernando Varela stops in El Paso". El Paso Times. Archived from the original on 2014-10-09. 
  9. ^ "Fernando Varela in Timmins". MasterClassLady. 
  10. ^ "Fernando Varela to Perform in Marshalltown". Times Republican. [permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Superstar Colin James and Tenor Fernando Varela Join It's Always Something Variety Show for Gilda's Club". Newswire.ca. 
  12. ^ "Tenor Fernando Varela to Sing at Community Concerts of Rancho Santa Fe". Rancho Santa Fe Review. 
  13. ^ "Fernando Varela to Perform at Local Concert Association". Lewistown Sentinel. [permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "Local Tenor Fernando Varela Talks With The Morning MIX Before 'America's Got Talent' Finale « MIX 105.1". MIX 105.1 CBS Local. 2013-09-18. Retrieved 2014-03-18. 
  15. ^ "In Boca Raton, A Festival to Leave you Dizzy". Sun Sentinel's SouthFlorida.com. 
  16. ^ "Tenor Trio Forte Wows Boca Festival Audience". Palm Beach Arts Paper. Archived from the original on 2015-07-04. 
  17. ^ "ChildFund LIVE! Artists". ChildFund International. 
  18. ^ "50 Top Latino Voices To Follow On Twitter". Huffington Post. 
  19. ^ "Event Producers Give the Grammys 'A-'; They Liked the Set, But Not Nicki Minaj". BizBash. 
  20. ^ "Participante boricua de America's Got Talent tendrá concierto en San Juan". PrimeraHora.com. 
  21. ^ "Fernando Varela: Un tenor boricua con una carrera brillante". El Nuevo Día. 
  22. ^ "Tenor puertorriqueño listo para su primer concierto como solista". metro.pr. 
  23. ^ "Neos Borgloon on the Night of the Proms". The Age. 
  24. ^ "Classical Crossover Sensation Signs Global Record Deal with Deutsche Grammophon of Germany". Reuters. 
  25. ^ "Villages' own Fernando on verge of big break with new album, PBS special". The Villages News. 
  26. ^ "Latin Tenor Fernando Varela to Release Debut Album 'Vivere' 3/10". Broadway World. 
  27. ^ "CD REVIEW: VIVERE - Fernando Varela, Tenor (Deutsche Grammophon/Panorama 80026389-02)". Vois Des Arts. 
  28. ^ "Interview: Fernando Varela dé verrassing van Night of the Proms". De Werf. 
  29. ^ "Potsdam Castles' Night". 
  30. ^ "Fernando Varela". KlassikAkzente. 
  31. ^ "Singer gets national platform with Orlando concert". Orlando Sentinel. 
  32. ^ "Jackie Evancho Releases New Album Two Hearts Available March 31, 2017". Yahoo Finance. 
  33. ^ "Fernando Varela y amigos cantan por Puerto Rico". La Nota Latina. 
  34. ^ "Tenor Fernando Varela celebra conciertos para ayudar a Puerto Rico". Metro PR. 

External links[edit]