Mezzo-soprano, Raffaella has been described as a singer with a “rich, unique and intriguing” vocal quality who delivers beautiful, elegant singing in a variety of genres, from opera to romantic ballads and Broadway favorites.
Born and raised in South Africa, Italian-American mezzo-soprano, Raffaella Lo Castro moved to the United States to pursue her music career after a fortuitous meeting and opportunity to sing for the late Ms. Kathleen Cassello who was on tour in South Africa as one of the Three Sopranos. Surrounded by musical influences (her father was a violinist in Milan), she discovered her love for singing and later received a music grant from the Natal Playhouse Foundation in South Africa for continued studies in the U.S.
Professional concert engagements include performing with the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra as soloist in Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and in concert with the Natal Philharmonic Orchestra. She has given solo recitals through the Natal province in South Africa, and appeared in recital in Singapore and Hiroshima, Japan. In the U.S., solo appearances include Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. and New York City.
Recently, Raffaella made her solo debut in Beethoven's Symphony no. 9 at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia with VoxAmaDeus. Raffaella also made her debut with the Wayne Oratorio Society in Elijah which was performed and recorded at The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. and is available on her YouTube channel. She also returned to the Wayne Oratorio Society to perform as alto soloist in Beethoven's Mass in C. This December, Raffaella will perform with the group in Handel's Messiah as alto soloist. Raffaella is also part of the esteemed Philadelphia Chorale which performs with Andrea Bocelli. She will join the tour again this year for performances in Philadelphia and at New York City's Madison Square Garden.
On stage, Raffaella made her debut in the title role of Carmen with the Delaware Valley Opera Company (DVOC) and the title role in Mascagni’s Zanetto with Capitol Opera Harrisburg. Recently, Raffaella will made her role debut as Mother Superior-Madame de Croissy, in DVOC's production of The Dialogues of the Carmelites. Other roles include Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica with OperaLancaster and The Duchess in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Gondoliers with Rose Valley Chorus and Orchestra.
Raffaella originated the role of Madame Germaine de Staël in the world premiere of Girondines with Wilmington Concert Opera in the fall of 2022 and is part of the original cast album recording which was released in February 2023.
Raffaella made her mainstage debut in contemporary opera with OperaDelaware as First Mother in Heggie's Dead Man Walking and understudied the role of Jade Boucher. She has appeared as soloist with The Orchestra Society of Philadelphia, and with members of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed with Opera Philadelphia and the vocal ensemble with the Pennsylvania Ballet. Raffaella was also a member of the prestigious Philadelphia Singers, which for many years was the resident chorus of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Among select singers from this group, Raffaella collaborated on a world premiere recording of Randall Thompson's Requiem released by Naxos Records.
Raffaella has had the privilege of working with world-renowned teachers and coaches in the United States. In South Africa, her first teacher at the age of 9, was Eve Boswell who had a successful singing career in Britain. From an early age, Raffaella was exposed to high-caliber training and performance opportunities while pursuing her love for singing and acting.
In addition to her independent music studies, Raffaella holds partial credits toward her Bachelor of Music Degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Natal, South Africa. Since immigrating to the United States, she earned her M.B.A. in Organizational Management from Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration/Marketing Management from Goldey-Beacom College in Wilmington, Delaware. Raffaella is the founder and principal consultant of Accent Strategies LLC, a business strategy, communications, and professional development consultancy. Raffaella lives near Philadelphia with her husband and their West Highland Terrier.
Raffaella is a proud member of the American Guild of Musical Artists, the Public Relations Society of America and the National Association of Women Business Owners.