The Polish bass Rafał Siwek has distinguished himself as an interpreter of Verdi’s roles, including Filippo II in Don Carlo in Tel Aviv with Zubin Mehta, at the Teatro Regio in Turin with Semyon Bychkov, at the New National Theatre in Tokyo and at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Zaccaria in Nabucco at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa and in Tel Aviv with Daniel Oren and at the Polish National Opera in Warsaw, Fiesco in Simone Boccanegra at the Teatro Regio in Parma, the title role in Attila at the PNO in Warsaw, and Silva in Ernani at the Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania. Under the baton of Lorin Maazel, he has sung Wurm in Luisa Miller in Valencia and Ramfis in Aida in São Paolo and Rio de Janeiro.
In 2011, he made debuts at the Teatro alla Scala as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, the Staatsoper Berlin as the Grande Inquisitore in Don Carlo and the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich as Timur in Turandot and Ramfis in Aida, a role ha has also sung at the Terme di Caracalla in Rome. At the Opéra de Nice, he was Hunding in Die Walküre; at the PNO in Warsaw, Zaccaria in Nabucco, Nerbal in Les Troyens (cond. Valery Gergiev) and Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor.
In 2012, Siwek returned to the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, as Wurm in Luisa Miller and Fafner in a new production of Siegfried under Kent Nagano, and to the Staatsoper Berlin, as the Grande Inquisitore in Don Carlo. He also debuted at the Hamburg Staatsoper, in the season-opening new production of Prince Igor as Galitski, and at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in the Perelada Festival, as the Commendatore in Don Giovanni.
He began Verdi Year 2013 as Filippo II in a new production of Don Carlo and Zaccaria in Nabucco at the PNO in Warsaw, then sung Ramfis in Aida at the Staatsoper Berlin and returned to the Teatro alla Scala as the Grande Inquisitore in Don Carlo and the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich as Sparafucile in Rigoletto. He also debuted at the Opernhaus Zurich, as the Commendatore in a new production of Don Giovanni under Fabio Luisi, and at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, as Filippo II in a new production of Don Carlo.
In 2014, Siwek sang Gremin in Eugene Onegin under Kiril Petrenko and Sparafucile in Rigoletto at the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich under Marco Armiliato, the Grande Inquisitore at the Staatsoper Berlin. He then returned to the Opernhaus Zurich as Ramfis in a new production of Aida and as the Grande Inquisitore in Don Carlo – both conducted by Fabio Luisi. He was also Filippo II in Don Carlo at Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and at the New National Theatre in Tokyo, and Timur in Turandot at Teatro Lirico di Cagliari and at Arena di Verona.
2015 opened with Nabucco and Halka at Warsaw Opera, followed by Der fliegende Holländer (Daland) at the New National Theatre in Tokyo, Nabucco at Israeli Opera, Prince Igor (Galitsky) at Mariinsky in St. Petersburg, Don Giovanni (Commendatore) at Arena di Verona, and Don Carlo (Grande Inquisitore) at Bayerische Staatsoper Munich. He sang a concert version of Thomas’s Hamlet with the Russian National Orchestra, The Haunted Manor (Zbigniew) in Warsaw, and Don Carlo (Filippo II) at Bolshoi in Moscow. He debuted at Madrid’s Teatro Real as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, and at the Opéra Bastille in Paris as Sparafucile in Rigoletto. Moreover, he sang Nabucco in Warsaw, Boris Godunov in Poznan, Aida (Ramfis) at Arena di Verona, and Verdi’s Requiem at the Gewandhaus Leipzig conducted by M° Roberto Abbado.
Season 2016-17 opened with Lucia di Lammermoor and Lohengrin (Heinrich der Vogler) at the Opéra Bastille in Paris, followed by Don Carlo at Opernhaus Zürich (Grande Inquisitore) and at the Bolshoi (Filippo II), Rigoletto at the Dutch National Opera, Nabucco at Arena di Verona.
Plans in season 2017-18 include Aida (Ramfis) at Teatro Real in Madrid and at Arena di Verona, Die Zauberflöte and Turandot in Warsaw, The Maid of Pskov at the Bolshoi, as well as a concert version of Simon Boccanegra at the Concertgebouw and Verdi’s Requiem with the Basque National Orchestra.
He appears frequently in Italian theatres, where he has sung Colline in La bohème at the Arena di Verona and at the Teatro Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Count Rodolfo in La Sonnambula at the Teatro Verdi in Trieste, King Mark in a new production of Tristan und Isolde at the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome, Oroveso in Norma at the Teatro Comunale in Bologna, Wurm in Luisa Miller at the Teatro Regio in Parma and the Teatro Comunale in Modena, Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia at the theatres of Bari, Palermo and Piacenza, and Timur in Turandot at the Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago.
Rafał Siwek is also an active concert artist. Under the baton of Lorin Maazel, he has sung in Verdi’s Requiem in Milan, Venice, Casablanca, Busseto, Assisi and Jerusalem, and in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in Rome, the Vatican, Milan, Brussels and Taormina. He has also worked with Zubin Mehta at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, in Verdi’s Requiem, and at the Teatro Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, in Beethoven’s Ninth. Audiences in Verona have heard Siwek in Rossini’s Stabat Mater, conducted by Alberto Zedda. At the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, he has sung Thibaut d’Arc in Tchaikovsky’s The Maid of Orleans.
Siwek’s discography includes two recordings of Verdi’s Requiem, under Zubin Mehta for TDK and with Lorin Maazel for Medici Arts, Puccini’s Edgar for Deutsche Grammophon with Plácido Domingo, Luisa Miller for Unitel, Norma for Hardy Classic and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony under Maazel for Kultur.