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 and the 2014 Maggie Teyte Prize. She won 2nd Prize at the 2015 Kathleen Ferrier Awards.

Highlights in her 2017/18 season include Tytania A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the English National Opera, Nanetta Falstaff for her debut with Garsington Opera and Cleopatra Giulio Cesare for English Touring Opera.

Elsewhere she has sung Aminta Il re pastore at the Chatelet Theatre in Paris; Johanna Sweeney Todd for Welsh National Opera; Suor Genoveva Suor Angelica for Opera North; Constance Dialogues des Carmélites and First Niece Peter Grimes for Grange Park Opera and, at English National Opera, Mabel The Pirates of Penzance, Karolka Jenůfa and Papagena The Magic Flute.

Future seasons see her return to English National Opera and Grange Park Opera and make debuts with the Seattle Opera and the Opéra national du Rhin.


Performance Schedule

  • 09 Oct 17 Handel Giulio Cesare
    English Touring Opera
    More info  

    “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

  • 13 Feb 17 SULLIVAN 'The Pirates of Penzance'
    English National Opera
    More info  

    “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

  • 02 Oct 16 PUCCINI 'Suor Angelica' Opera North
    Grand Theatre Leeds
    More info  

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

  • 03 Aug 16 MOZART 'Così fan tutte'
    West Green House Opera
    More info  

    “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

  • 27 Jun 16 JANACEK 'Jenufa'
    English National Opera
    More info  

    “…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

  • 14 Mar 16 MOZART 'Die Zauberflöte'
    English National Opera
    More info  

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

  • 12 Oct 15 SONDHEIM 'Sweeney Todd'
    Welsh National Opera
    More info  

    “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

  • 28 Apr 15 2015 Kathleen Ferrier Competition
    Wigmore Hall
    More info  

    “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

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