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 at La Scala, 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. She will perform this work again with the Lower Merion Symphony during the spring of 2020. Raffaella also made her debut with the Wayne Oratorio Society in Elijah which performed and recorded at The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. and is available on YouTube.
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. In the summer of 2020, Raffaella will make 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 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 earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration/Marketing Management from Goldey-Beacom College in Delaware and holds a Certificate in Digital Communication from the Public Relations Society of America. She is the founder and principal consultant of Accent Strategies LLC, a marketing communications and performance coaching company. Raffaella lives near Philadelphia with her husband and their West Highland Terrier, Stella.
Raffaella is a member of the American Guild of Musical Artists and the Public Relations Society of America.