British soprano Raphaela Papadakis was born and educated in London. Before beginning her full time operatic training at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, she graduated from Clare College, Cambridge University, with a first class degree in English Literature. Having completed the Opera Course, she recently graduated from Guildhall with a Distinction in her Artist Diploma under the tutelage of Janice Chapman.
At the Guildhall, she performed the roles of Susanna Le nozze di Figaro, Aurore Le portrait de Manon, Mrs Julian Owen Wingrave, and Tytania (understudy) A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as excerpts from Don Giovanni, Tamerlano, Flight, Der Rosenkavalier and La finta giardiniera. Other operatic roles include Pamina Die Zauberflöte for Woodhouse Opera, Olinto Olinto Pastore with Laurence Cummings, London Handel Festival, Mrs Julian Owen Wingrave Banff Centre, Canada, and Gretel Hansel and Gretel Clonter Opera. She made her professional début at Garsington Opera as Bathilde in Offenbach’s Vert-vert under the baton of David Parry in 2014, and covered the Nymph in the new Michael Boyd production of Monteverdi’s Orfeo for the Royal Opera House. In November 2015 she played the role of Anna in Independent Opera's new production of Šimon Voseček's Biedermann and the Arsonists at Sadler's Wells, which was awarded four stars in both the Guardian and the Financial Times.
Winner of the National Mozart Competition, the Clonter Opera and Audience Prizes and the Maureen Lehane Vocal Award, Raphaela’s other prizes and awards include 2nd prize at the Patricia Routledge National English Song Competition, the Harold Rosenthal Prize awarded by the Guildhall School, and the Finalist’s Prize and the York Early Music Festival Prize at the London Handel Singing Competition. She was a semi-finalist at the Kathleen Ferrier Awards, the Royal Overseas League Competition and the Das Lied International Song Competition, and a finalist for the Susan Chilcott Award. Raphaela is an Internationale Meistersinger Akademie Young Artist and a Samling Scholar, and held an Independent Opera Postgraduate Voice Fellowship from 2013-15.
Raphaela is a committed recitalist, and made her Carnegie Hall song recital début in January 2014. She has also appeared in recital at the Barbican Hall, at the Internationale Hugo Wolf Akademie’s recital series in Stuttgart with Graham Johnson’s Song Guild, and at the Oxford Lieder Festival, for whom she recorded a selection of Schubert songs with Sholto Kynoch for Schubert Lieder Year by Year, released on the Stone Records label. She returned to the OLF in 2014 for The Schubert Project, where she performed in recital with both Sholto Kynoch and Graham Johnson. She is part of the Countess of Munster’s Recital Scheme for the 2015/16 season, took part in the prestigious Ravinia Festival's Stean's Music Institute in Chicago last summer.
Raphaela loves to sing on the concert platform and is much in demand as an oratorio soloist. She recently sang the solos in Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater for the Roman River Festival, and in Handel’s Messiah for the London Handel Festival in St George’s Hanover Square. She also performed Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with Lior Shambadal and the Banff Festival Orchestra at the Banff Centre in Canada. She sang several concerts with the Arion Orchestra under the baton of Brien Stait, including repertoire such as Britten’s Les Illuminations and Bach’s Cantata 82 “Ich habe genug”. She has also sung many concerts with the Cambridge University Music Society conducted by Stephen Cleobury, with repertoire including Mozart’s Requiem at Kings Place, London, and Fauré’s Requiem, Haydn’s The Creation, and Schubert’s Mass in G all at Kings College Chapel, Cambridge, as well as the Mater Gloriosa solo in Mahler’s Eighth Symphony in Ely Cathedral.
Raphaela is particularly passionate about contemporary music and loves to work closely with composers. In 2014 she took part in workshops led by Nathalie Abrahami and Richard Hetherington at the Royal Opera House, where she performed selected scenes from Traffick, a new opera by Emma-Ruth Richards. She has worked with composer Kate Whitley on several projects including her piece Scars and her operas In Flagrante and Unknown Position. Raphaela recently created the role of Kikuyo in the world première of Tokaido Road, a Japanese-inspired chamber opera by Nicola leFanu, which was performed at the Cheltenham and Lake District Summer Festivals in 2014 and was given further performances around the country in 2015.
Raphaela’s studies would not have been possible without the generous support of a Leverhulme Arts Scholarship, the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, Independent Opera, JM Finn & Co, The Behrens Foundation, The Williams Gibbs Trust and Help Musicians UK, for which she is extremely grateful.