Soraya Mafi

Harewood Artist at the English National Opera

Credit: Christina Haldane


Soraya Mafi is a graduate of the Royal College of Music. She is the winner of the 2016 Susan Chilcott Award – an award from the Susan Chilcott Scholarship to support a ‘major young artist with the potential to make an international impact’.

A Harewood Artist at the English National Opera, her roles for the company have so far included Tytania A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Mabel The Pirates of Penzance, Karolka Jenůfa and Papagena The Magic Flute. Elsewhere she has sung for Garsington Opera, Grange Park Opera, English Touring Opera, Chatelet Theatre Paris, Welsh National Opera, Opera North, Opéra national du Rhin Strasbourg and Opera National de Lorraine, and made her U.S. opera debut with the Seattle Opera; appearances in concert have been with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra (Morlot), Ensemble Matheus (Spinosi), Scottish Chamber Orchestra (Dijkstra/Cohen), Academy of Ancient Music, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra,

During the 2019/20 season, Soraya Mafi will appear in opera as Yum-Yum Mikado and Amor Orfeo at ENO, Susanna Le nozze di Figaro for Welsh National Opera and Gilda Rigoletto for the Seattle Opera. Future projects will include her debut with the Zurich Opera.

Performance Schedule

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    14:00 11 Aug 2019 Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, SEATTLE

    GIUSEPPE VERDI Rigoletto

    Rigoletto: Giuseppe Altomare
    Duke of Mantua: Yongzhao Yu
    Maddalena: Emily Fons
    Giovanna: Nerys Jones
    Counte Monterone: Clayton Brainerd
    Sparafucile: Ante Jerkunica

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    19:30 14 Aug 2019 Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, SEATTLE

    GIUSEPPE VERDI Rigoletto

    Rigoletto: Giuseppe Altomare
    Duke of Mantua: Yongzhao Yu
    Maddalena: Emily Fons
    Giovanna: Nerys Jones
    Counte Monterone: Clayton Brainerd
    Sparafucile: Ante Jerkunica

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    14:00 18 Aug 2019 Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, SEATTLE

    GIUSEPPE VERDI Rigoletto

    Rigoletto: Giuseppe Altomare
    Duke of Mantua: Yongzhao Yu
    Maddalena: Emily Fons
    Giovanna: Nerys Jones
    Counte Monterone: Clayton Brainerd
    Sparafucile: Ante Jerkunica

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    19:30 24 Aug 2019 Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, SEATTLE

    GIUSEPPE VERDI Rigoletto

    Rigoletto: Giuseppe Altomare
    Duke of Mantua: Yongzhao Yu
    Maddalena: Emily Fons
    Giovanna: Nerys Jones
    Counte Monterone: Clayton Brainerd
    Sparafucile: Ante Jerkunica

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    19:00 30 Aug 2019 Philharmonie Cologne, COLOGNE

    GIOVANNI LEGRENZI La Divisione del mondo

    Conductor: Christophe Rousset
    Giove: Carlo Allemano
    Nettuno: Stuart Jackson
    Plutone: André Morsch
    Saturno: Arnaud Richard
    Juno: Axelle Fanyo
    Venere: Sophie Junker
    Apollo: Jake Arditti
    Marte: Paul-Antoine Bénos-Djian
    Amore / Cupido: Ada Elodie Tuca
    Mercurio: Rupert Enticknap
    Discordia: Alberto Miguélez Rouco
    Ensemble: Les Talens Lyriques

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    28 Dec 18 The Times Arts Highlights of 2019 Face to watch: Soraya Mafi

    Surrey’s Grange Park Opera has its Theatre in the Woods, so it was surely only a matter of time before it would give us the sylvan Hansel and Gretel. A star attraction of the Humperdinck opera coming in June is the Lancashire-born soprano Soraya Mafi, who plays Gretel. A Harewood artist at ENO, she stole the show as a sparkling Cleopatra for English Touring Opera in 2017. You can also hear her in recital at the Wigmore Hall in London on June 2, partnered by the rising mezzo Catriona Morison.
    Neil Fisher, The Times

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    Mozart Arias Academy of Ancient Music
    London, Cambridge and Oxford, November 2018

    At the end of the first half of the programme were three arias sung by Soraya Mafi. Their disparate nature enabled Mafi to reveal great variety in the way in which she performed them, but all were characterised by total commitment and a voice that remained precise and focused even as it reached quite expansive and passionate heights. ‘Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben’ from his uncompleted Zaide of around 1779 was suitably dreamy, while ‘Aer tranquillo e dì sereni’ from Il rè pastore of 1775 had an appropriate sense of the joie de vivre. Nehmt meinen Dank, K383 of 1782 was composed for Aloysia Weber for a special benefit concert, which meant that she received the box office takings. As a result, since this aria explicitly thanks those in attendance for their support and generosity, Mafi really had the chance to communicate with her audience.
    Sam Smith, Music OMH

    Elegance was of the essence in her singing and in the excerpt taken from the unfinished Zaide her voice was balanced ideally with the orchestra; rather than stress the drama underlying the words she shaped the themes as if her voice were a further instrument. K383 was sung with grace and sympathy – a peaceful interlude. The words are banal but the way in which Mozart sets them is beautiful. Turning from German texts to Italian, the more theatrical-sounding selection from Il rè pastore suitably rounded-off the progression and it was refreshing to hear the theatrical high-lying phrases achieved with sonorous calmness, while avoiding over-dramatisation.
    Antony Hodgson, Classical Source

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    16 Jun 18 VERDI Falstaff
    Garsington Opera

    “Soraya Mafi, and ENO Harewood Alumna made the most of Nannetta’s long-held top notes in her duet with Fenton (Oliver Johnston) and soared effortlessly across the orchestra as the Fairy Queen.”
    Amanda Holloway, Opera, August 2018

    “…the serene beauty of Mafi’s lovely aria as queen of the fairies.”
    Michael Church, The Independent

    “…a nicely sparkling Nannetta from Soraya Mafi…”
    Richard Fairman, Financial Times

    “…Soraya Mafi’s entrancing Nannetta…”
    George Hall, The Stage

    “The young lovers Nanetta and Fenton both shone as performed by Soraya Mafi and Oliver Johnston…”
    Sebastian Scotney, The Arts Desk

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    02 Mar 18 BRITTEN A Midsummer Night's Dream
    English National Opera

    “…Soraya Mafi’s sparkling Tytania…”
    Erica Jeal, Opera, May 2018

    “Soraya Mafi polishes her growing reputation with glintingly radiant singing as Tytania.”
    Richard Morrison, The Times, 05 March 2018

    “Soprano Soraya Mafi, one of five young ENO Harewood Artists in the cast, is bewitching as Tytania.”
    Clare Colvin, Express, 11 March 2018

    “With several ENO Harewood artists in the cast, Soraya Mafi’s regal Tytania stood out.”
    Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian, 11 March 2018

    “Soraya Mafi continues to ride the upward trajectory of her career with a diamanatine Titania, scattering coloratura like stardust.”
    Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 02 March 2018

    “Outstanding in quality [is] Soraya Mafi’s entrancing Tytania.”
    George Hall, The Stage, 02 March 2018

    “Five of the roles are taken by members of the company’s young Harewood artists programme, of whom Soraya Mafi’s bright Tytania and David Webb’s well-focused Lysander stand out.”
    Martin Kettle, The Guardian, 02 March 2018

    “Soraya Mafi’s vivid Tytania has the right imperiousness, and her wooing of Joshua Bloom’s splendidly-sung Bottom is wickedly suggestive.”
    Michael Church, The Independent, 02 March 2018

    “Five members of ENO’s Harewood Artists Programme took part, including Soraya Mafi (excellent as Tytania), with fine performances also from Eleanor Dennis (Helena), Matthew Durkan (Demetrius), David Webb (Lysander) and Andri Björn Róbertsson (Theseus).”
    Barry Millington, Evening Standard, 02 March 2019  

    “There’s a lovely gleam to the sound of Soraya Mafi’s spirited Tytania.”
    David Benedict, The Arts Desk, 02 March 2018

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    09 Oct 17 HANDEL Giulio Cesare
    English Touring Opera

    “Not since Masterson has London seen such a rounded, witty and moving Cleopatra, whom the late Winton Dean called ‘the equal of Shakespeare’s’. Every one of her eight demanding arias were thrown off with insouciant bravura and spellbinding breath control. Definitely a star Handel soprano in the making.”
    Hugh Canning, Opera, December 2017

    “The star turn is Soraya Mafi as the Egyptian queen, Handel’s “immortal sex kitten”, as Winton Dean put it. She sings all eight of her sublime and witty arias with an immaculate, instrumental clarity, bravura and emotional expressiveness… she is a budding Handelian of the highest calibre and a captivating performer.”
    Hugh Canning, Sunday Times

    “A Cleopatra to die for – Without a doubt, however, the show’s star is Soraya Mafi, whose beguiling Cleopatra melts hearts in “Giusto ciel” and “Piangero la sorte mia” before dazzling us with “Da tempeste il legno infranto”. Her voice is diamantine in projection, perfectly in tune, easy with the coloratura and happy to frolic high above the stave. When Mafi is singing, we get lift off.”
    Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 06 October 2017

    “Mafi, her tone silvery yet sensuous, is a comparably outstanding Cleopatra; Se Pietà is particularly exquisite – one of the advantages of the overlapping material is that we get to hear her sing it twice.”
    Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 09 October 2017

    “Soraya Mafi as sparkling, opportunistic Cleopatra, affecting in her arias”
    Neil Fisher, The Times, 06 October 2017

    “Soraya Mafi’s Cleopatra charts Handel’s delicate but ornate lines with skill”
    George Hall, The Stage, 05 October 2017 

    “Soraya Mafi’s Cleopatra is one of dainty, coquettish charm, rather than flashy, blazing virtuosity, and there is almost a fragile delicacy in the roulades of her and Ainslie’s ornamentations for their concluding duet, which is moving to hear.”
    Curtis Roger, Classicalsource, 07 October 2017 

    “…the standout performance comes from Soraya Mafi as Cleopatra. Displaying a sweet and strong soprano, she effortlessly meets of all the part’s considerable vocal demands, and radiates real presence and allure.”
    Sam Smith, MusicOHM, 07 October 2017

    “Soraya Mafi, dazzling as Cleopatra, was heartbreakingly beautiful in “Piangerò la sorte mia”, while her duet with Christopher Ainslie’s Caesar, “Caro! – Bella! – Più amabile beltà” is mesmerising…I could, to be fair, have listened to Mafi’s devastating “Se pietà” another hundred times without complaint”
    Olivia Bell, Bachtrack, 09 October 2017

    “English Touring Opera has assembled an outstanding cast for this prestige production, dominated by a performance from Soraya Mafi as Cleopatra that verges on the divine…Astounding highlights (among too many to mention) included Mafi’s third-act showpieces “Piangerò” and “Da tempeste”
    Mark Valencia, What’s on Stage, 09 October 2017

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    13 Feb 17 SULLIVAN The Pirates of Penzance
    English National Opera

    “Soraya Mafi outstanding, in both voice and comic acting, as Mabel”
    William Hartston, Express

    “Soraya Mafi is an adorable little minx of a Mabel, singing with diamantine accuracy and clarity – old-timers will be impressed if I say that her scintillating “Poor wand’ring one” was in the Valerie Masterson class.”
    Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph

    “Mabel’s flights of coloratura fancy are elegantly delivered by Soraya Mafi”
    George Hall, The Guardian

    “David Webb’s puppy-dog Frederic and Soraya Mafi’s irresistible Mabel hold the show together with their starry-eyed romance. They sing like love’s young dream.”
    Mark Valencia, What’s on Stage

    “Soraya Mafi was a brilliant, feisty Mabel, combining pertness and winning charm with a brightly accurate coloratura. The way she stepped out of the chorus for her first entry was both visually and vocally dazzling, leading into a lovely confident account of ‘Poor wandering one’ complete with sparkling vocal decorations.”
    Robert Hugill, Opera Today

    “Soraya Mafi’s almost nymphomaniac Mabel is a brilliant foil – and she dazzled in Sullivan’s dig at the coloratura arias of Italian opera in ‘Poor wandering one’, as well as evoking a perfect juxtaposition of pathos and stiff-upper-lip resolve in ‘Ah leave me not to pine’.”
    Alexander Campbell, Classical Source

    “…the rest of the cast in fact, was outshone by Soraya Mafi’s simply awe-inspiring Mabel. Her “Poor wand’ring one,” with its vocal pyrotechnics, was simply a show-stopper; she had lyricism, too, and power. One waits with anticipation as to her return in further roles at this house.”
    Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard

    “Soroya Mafi brings a shimmering coloratura soprano to Mabel, and is ideally partnered by the dashing David Webb who has an effortless vocal lyricism as Frederic, the man she falls in love with.”
    Mark Shenton, The Stage

    “Soraya Mafi’s Mabel, the female love interest, lifts the spirits. Dispensing the parodic coloratura with elegance and wit, she allows us to believe that G&S embody the best of Rossini and Donizetti.”
    Nick Kimberley, Evening Standard

    “Soraya Mafi is outstanding as coquettish love interest Mabel. She has a sweet but powerful soprano, which surprises with its sudden appearance, and displays impeccable timing and beautiful diction.”
    Aliya Al-Hassan, Broadway World

    “…stellar performances gave the evening little peaks of triumph. Soraya Mafi, returning to the production but stepping up a sister, is ravishing as Mabel. Her scintillating parodic coloratura “Poor Wand’ring one” was just the right amount of sexy…”
    Olivia Bell, Bachtrack

    “…the standout performance in Act I comes from Soraya Mafi as Mabel (she played Edith in 2015). Her soprano is positively radiant as she tosses out coloratura with ease, and her gestures and movements are just as precise as her vocal output.”
    Sam Smith, MusicOMH

    “Soraya Mafi…her lyric soprano is gorgeous: she tugs at the heartstrings with Poor Wandering One and lease the lovely duet Ah, Leave Me Not To Pine with genuine pathos.”
    Tully Potter, Daily Mail, 17 February 2017

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    02 Oct 16 PUCCINI Suor Angelica
    Opera North

    “…the many cameo roles in the large cast were all strong and characterful: among them Soraya Mafi”
    The Guardian, Fiona Maddocks 

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    03 Aug 16 MOZART Così fan tutte
    West Green House Opera

    “The highlight for me was Soraya Mafi’s Despina, who acted her socks off and delivered some excellent singing with a voice and stage presence that constantly charmed. A silver clarity at the top of her voice and perky sense of line made the voice easy to listen to… The regular glint of fun in her eyes and her boisterous bustling about stage brought Despina to life.”
    Dominic Lowe, Bachtrack

    “Soraya Mafi brought maturity to the part of Despina, but the requisite, infectious sense of fun and freedom, as she spurred on her mistresses in their amorous adventures.”
    Curtis Rogers, Classical Source

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    27 Jun 16 JANACEK Jenufa
    English National Opera

    “…Soraya Mafi’s spirited Karolka.”
    Mark Berry, Seen and Heard 

    “Soraya Mafi, in her first go at the part, flounced and minced effectively.”
    Russ McDonald, Opera, September 2016

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    14 Mar 16 MOZART Die Zauberflöte
    English National Opera

    “Soraya Mafi looked and sounded winning as Papagena.”
    Russ McDonald, Opera

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    12 Oct 15 SONDHEIM Sweeney Todd
    Welsh National Opera

    “Soraya Mafi a sweet, deliquescent Johanna”
    Stephen Walsh, The Arts Desk

    “Soraya Mafi [sang] delightfully as Johanna.”
    Lucy Jeffrey, Scene and Heard 

    “Soraya Mafi is an affecting Johanna.”
    Mark Valencia, What’s on Stage

    “The lilting duets of the young lovers Anthony and Johanna – sung beautifully by Jamie Muscato and Soraya Mafi – is another highlight.”
    Eryl Crump, Welsh Daily Post

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    28 Apr 15 2015 Kathleen Ferrier Competition
    Wigmore Hall

    “Soraya Mafi, a 26-year-old Mancunian from the RCM, has already made her mark – she has small roles in ENO’s forthcoming ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ and ‘The Magic Flute’. Her charm and exuberance shone through Johann Strauss’s ‘Frühlingstimmen’, giving notice of an Adele and Zerbinetta to come. I loved her beautifully modulated reading of Liszt’s ecstatic ‘Oh! quand je dors’ and appreciated her pure enunciation in Julius Harrison’s ‘Philomel’.”
    Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph


Peter Grimes First Niece

West Side Story Maria

Gulio Cesare Cleopatra
Arianna in Creta Arianna

The Cunning Little Vixen Franzl

Il re pastore Aminta

Carousel Julie Jordan

L’incoronazione di Poppea Virtu

Dialogues des Carmélites Constance

Dido and Aeneas Belinda

L’Enfant et les Sortileges Le Feu, Le Rossignol

Die Fledermaus Adele

Sweeney Todd Johanna

The Mikado Yum-yum, Peep-Bo
The Pirates of Penzanze Mabel

Opera Scenes:

Paul Bunyan Tiny

L’Elisir d’amore Adina
Linda di Chammounix Linda

Alcina Morgana
Orlando Dorinda

Werther Sophie

Le nozze di Figaro Susanna
Così fan tutte Despina
Die Zauberflöte Pamina

Orpheus in the Underworld Eurydice

Arabella Zdenka

Falstaff Nannetta

Concert Repertoire:

St Matthew Passion
St John Passion
Cantata No.51 ‘Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen’
Mass in B minor



Israel in Egypt
Dixit Dominus
Judas Maccabeus



The Peacemakers
The Armed Man

Hear My Prayer

Missa Brevis in G minor
Exsultate Jubilate

Carmina Burana