Tenor Rafael Davila has quickly risen to be one of the most sought after tenors of his generation. With almost 60 roles already under his belt, in the 2014-15 season he debuted as Des Grieux in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut under Maestro Plácido Domingo’s baton in Valencia, Dick Johnson in La Fanciulla del West and Don Jose in Carmen for Minnesota Opera, and also performed Cavaradossi in Leipzig. 2015-16 engagements included a return to Washington National Opera as Don José in Carmen, Opera de Puerto Rico as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly opposite soprano Ana María Martínez, his debut with Chicago Lyric Opera in the world premiere of the opera Bel Canto, his return to Valencia for Aida, his debut with the Macerata Festival as Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana, and his return to Lyric Opera of Kansas City as Don Jose in Carmen. This season he makes his Metropolitan Opera debut as Don Jose in Carmen performs La Fanciulla del West with Michigan Opera Theatre, Carmen and Un Ballo in Maschera with the Florida Grand Opera, and the title role in Otello with Teatro de la Opera. Future engagements include his debut as Verdi’s Don Carlo with the Washington National Opera, Des Grieux in Manon Lescaut for his debut with Gran Liceu de Barcelona, his return to the Met covering Rodolfo in Luisa Miller, Cavaradossi in Tosca and Don Jose in Carmen with Opera de Puerto Rico, Tosca with Arizona Opera, and a recital at Wigmore Hall presented by the Rosenblatt Recital series.
The 2014-15 season marked the tenor’s return to the historic Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Italy as Canio in I Pagliacci and as Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana after his debut with the company in 2004 in the title role of Verdi’s Gustavo III (Riccardo in Un ballo in Maschera). This past season also marked his debut as Don Alvaro in La Forza del Destino for Washington National Opera as well as his debut with Florida Grand Opera as Cavaradossi in Tosca. Prior to that Mr. Dávila made his debut at the Washington National Opera as Pollione in Norma opposite Angela Meade and Dolora Zajick, as well as his debut as Radames in Aida for Manitoba Opera in Canada. In 2012 he made his debut in the title role of Verdi’s Otello for Sarasota Opera and as Manrico in Il Trovatore for Opera New Jersey and Kansas City Opera. That same year Rafael also made his debut in Spain in Nabucco with Opera de Bilbao and reprised the role of Calaf in Turandot for Opera de Puerto Rico.
Abroad he made his debut as Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Boheme for the Netherlands Reisopera, and for the New Zealand Opera as Don Jose in Carmen and Alfredo in La Traviata. He made his debut as Calaf in Puccini’s Turandot for Connecticut Grand Opera, a role he also sang for the National Lyric Opera of New York, and the premiere of the opera Time and Again Barelas with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra. His repertory also includes the leading tenor roles in the operas; Werther, Gianni Schicchi, Lucia di Lamermoor, Rigoletto, Attila, Giovanna D’Arco and I Lombardi. Rafael has also appeared in the leading tenor roles of the operettas Die Fledermaus and The Merry Widow, as well as in the Spanish zarzuelas, Luisa Fernanda, El Huesped del Sevillano, Venezuelan zarzuela Alma Llanera, and the Cuban zarzuelas María La O and Cecilia Valdés.
His concert experience includes Verdi’s Requiem, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Bach’s Magnificat, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (for the prestigious Casals’ Festival), Mozart’s Coronation Mass with soprano June Anderson and Estevez’ Cantata Criolla which he performed with The Seattle Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Gerard Schwarz. His recordings of Ariel Ramírez’ Misa Criolla as well as another recording of the operetta Cofresí by Rafael Hernández were both nominated for a Grammy Award.
Rafael began his musical training at the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music, completing later a Master’s degree in Opera Performance at the University of Texas at Austin under the guidance of Metropolitan Opera tenor William Lewis. Mr. Davila has also appeared with L’Opéra du Montréal, Palm Beach Opera, Los Angeles Opera, San Antonio Opera, Opera Tampa, Austin Lyric Opera, Teatro de la Opera and Fort Worth Opera, among others having the opportunity to work with stage directors like; Anne Bogart, John Caird, Ron Daniels, Pippo Delbono, Anthony Laciura, John Pascoe, Ira Siff, Bernard Uzan and Francesca Zambello. He has also worked with some of the most renowned conductors including; Nello Santi, Teo Alcantara, Sarah Caldwell, Anton Coppola, Eugene Kohn, Renato Palumbo, Massimo Zanetti and Xian Shang, among others.
Tenor Rafael Davila was wonderfully cast as Norma’s two-timing lover Pollione. In his Act I aria “Meco all’altar di Venere” (“With me at the altar of Venus”), Davila displayed a lyrical voice with a spectacular upper range and beautifully focused tone. – Kansas City Star