Ola Rafało, has been called “a Mezzo with great promise”, Tim Smith, Baltimore Sun (Nabucco, Opera Baltimore 2014). She has been recognized for her large voice, described often as velvety, voluptuous, rich and dusky. “Ola Rafało proved to be a mezzo to watch, with a strong Stride la Vampa” said Anne Midgette, for the Washington Post, of The Washington Chorus’ Essential Verdi concert 2014, at the Kennedy Center. There, Rafało was featured in scenes as Azucena, and Amneris.
During the 2013-14 season, Ola debuted the title role of Carmen in La Tragedie de Carmen with Syracuse Opera, to great acclaim. Opera Times said that she “established her character immediately as a seductress par excellence, and her pitch in the devious Seguidilla was incredibly accurate — with no sign of seams when navigating through vocal registers during the spacious octave leaps that permeate this demanding aria.” Ola triumphed at Carnegie Hall as the Alto soloist in Vivaldi’s Gloria. She was featured in De Falla’s El Amor Brujo with the Pacific Symphony, which she sang with a “fine dusky quality”-L.A. Times. Ola also sang in the Essential Verdi Gala at the Kennedy Center, and in a “Pop-opera concert” with Opera Tampa. Rafało closed the season with her debut at Baltimore Lyric Opera as Fenena in Nabucco.
In the 2014-2015 season, Ola reprised the role of Fenena (Nabucco) with Opera Carolina, again to great acclaim. “Rafało produced the best singing of the evening, in spite of her role being smaller. Ola has a very powerful instrument and uses it with good technique, producing her notes with a great deal of precision. She has a very pleasant timbre an her passagio is smooth with perfect pitch control. She started up already warm and didn’t miss a beat or a note. – Opera Lively. She returned to the Pacific Symphony to sing the title role in highlights from Carmen. She was featured in another Verdi Gala, singing selections from Il Trovatore, and the Verdi Requiem with Gulfshore opera, under Maestro Paul Nadler.
In this upcoming season 2015-16, Ola is singing the title role in Bizet’s Carmen of with the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera. She will debut the role of Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana, and the role of Charlotte in Werther, with the Martha Cardona Theatre at The National Opera Center. Later this year, Ola will perform highlights from Samson et Dalila with the Springfield Symphony.
Other roles in Ms. Rafało’s diverse repertoire include Olga in Eugene Onegin, Konchakovna in Prince Igor, Adalgisa in Norma, Giovanna Seymour in Anna Bolena, and Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier. In the recent past, she performed Fricka in Die Walküre, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, and the title role of Carmen with the Lyric Orchestra. Other companies Ola has appeared with are Sarasota Opera, DuPage Opera Theatre, and Palm Beach Opera. Other notable performances include solos in Saint-Saëns’ Oratorio de Noël, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Händel’s Messiah.
Equally moving as an interpreter of modern music, Ms. Rafało performed the title role in Catan’s Florencia in El Amazonas with Palm Beach Opera, 2011, in which critics said “She was believable as a person who understands the power of love and is able to impart hard earned wisdom about it. She held the stage firmly, both vocally and dramatically.”- (Palm Beach Arts Paper).
Miss Rafało was an apprentice artist at Sarasota Opera, where she received the Leo M.Rogers award, as well as a young artist at Opera Tampa, and Palm Beach Opera. In 2009, she was awarded the audience prize at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Southeast chapter. In 2008, she was awarded Grand Prize of the Elgin Opera competition and First Prize of the Sherrill Milnes Opera Idol competition.