In Less Than Five Minutes, Get to Know – Mezzo-Soprano Raffaella Lupinacci

By Alan Neilson
(Photo: Chiara Mirelli)

Mezzo-soprano Raffaella Lupinacci, having just completed a run of performances as Giovanna Seymour in La Monnaie’s presentation of “Bastarda,” a larger-than-life presentation of Queen Elizabeth I as seen through the musical highlights of Donizetti’s Tudor tetralogy, is currently preparing for the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, in which she will play the role of Arsace in “Aureliano in Palmira.”

OperaWire: What was the last role you played?

Raffaella Lupinacci: Giovanna Seymour in “Bastarda” in Brussels. 

OW: What is the next role you will play?

RL: Arsace in “Aureliano in Palmira” at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro.

OW: What two adjectives would you use to describe Arsace? 

RL: Proud and vocally ambiguous.

OW: What was the first opera you saw on stage? 

RL: “Carmen.” I was 12 years old and although I enjoyed it, I fell asleep through part of it.

OW: What role did you perform in your stage debut?

RL: Melibea in “Il Viaggio a Reims” in Pesaro.

OW: Which character have you most enjoyed playing?

RL: Don Elvira from “Don Giovanni.”

OW: Which character would you most like to play but have not yet had the opportunity?

RL: Elisabetta in “Maria Stuarda.”

OW: Which character would you like to play but is very unlikely to happen? 

RL: Ulrica in “Un Ballo in Maschera.”

OW: Which character you have met on stage have you most disliked?

RL: Cio-Cio San. The music is beautiful, but I don’t like characters who are sad and crying all the time.

OW: Which character would you most like to meet in person? 

RL: That is a difficult question to answer. I meet so many characters in real life; there are so many Rosinas and Cenerentolas. Also, I have met a lot of Don Giovannis; one is enough.

OW: Which character that you have played is most like you? 

RL: Romeo.

OW: Who is your favorite composer?

RL: Mozart.

OW: What do you most like about your voice? 

RL: Its flexibility.

OW: What is your favorite piece of nonclassical music?

RL: I am quite fashioned. I like traditional Italian singers, like Domenico Modugno who sang “Volare.”

OW: What book are you reading at the moment? 

RL: I like to read biographies about the characters I have to sing. At the moment, I am reading a book in Italian about the life of Maria Stuarda.

OW: If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, alive or dead, real or fictional, who would they be? 

RL: Mezzosoprano Lucia Valentini Terrani. When you listen to someone singing, I think you can feel the soul of a person, and when I listen to her, I know she had a good soul.

La Cenerentola. I would like to know if she is as genuine as she appears to be.

Antonio Pappano. I would love to work with him.

OW: If you could have any composer, alive or dead, write an opera with you in the lead role, who would it be? 

RL: Donizetti.

OW: If you weren’t a singer, what career would you have liked to follow? 

RL: A lawyer.


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