Raphaelle Farman

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Without attracting the large amounts of hype that attend other sopranos of her generation, Raphaëlle Farman throughout the 1990s established a reputation as a fine and intelligent emerging opera singer…
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Without attracting the large amounts of hype that attend other sopranos of her generation, Raphaëlle Farman throughout the 1990s established a reputation as a fine and intelligent emerging opera singer with a wide and diverse repertory.

She came to singing only after earning her university degree and then completing a Master's Degree in Law. At that point, she studied opera and singing at the Paris Conservatory and at the Lyric School of the Opera Bastille. She ended her formal studies in 1992 and started singing professionally in Paris. She has developed a national reputation, singing in Paris, Nantes, Toulouse, Lille, and other French centers, but also in Utrecht, the Royal Albert Hall in London, and Havana.

Her list of roles indicates that she is a lyric soprano, and she is also known as a sparkling operetta performer. Her portrayal of Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus was broadcast on Télévision Française's France 2 channel, and she has also sung Flora in La Traviata on a live TV broadcast.

It is, again, her list of roles that suggests she has an unusually wide range, for she sings the alto role of Miss Jessel in Britten's The Turn of the Screw as well as Micaëla in Carmen and Gilda in Rigoletto. Her repertory is unusually strong in roles the Classic era (Mademoiselle Silberklang in Mozart's Schauspieldirktor, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Arminda in La Finta Giardinera, the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Euridice in Orphée et Eurydice). But it also has bel canto era works: Elvira in Bellini's I Puritani, Contessa di Folleville in Rossini's Il viaggio a Reims, and Anna in Boildieu's La Dame Blanche.

From the standard repertory, her roles include Prilepa in Tchaikovsky's Pikovaya Dama (Queen of Spades), Mimì in La Bohème, Antonia in Tales of Hoffmann, Micaëla, Flora, Hanna in Die Lustige Witwe von Windsor and Alice Ford in Verdi's version of the same tale, Falstaff, plus Nedda in Pagliacci. Besides Johann Strauss' Rosalinde, she takes the operetta stage as the Baroness in Offenbach's La Vie Parisienne, and Lisa in Der Land das Lächelns.

She is associated with the operas of Britten and Poulenc. She sings, besides Miss Jessell, the parts of Mrs. Coyle in Owen Wingrave and Female Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia, Thérèse in Les Mamelles de Tiresias and Blanche in Dialogues of the Carmelites.

One of her greatest triumphs was her June 1998 appearance in the title role of Massenet's Esclarmonde at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall with the Chelsea Opera Group. John Higgins of the London Times, noting that the role requires "everything: the whoops of a Brünnhilde, … the passion of a Sieglinde, … a touch of coloratura and finally the grace of Massenet himself" called her account "full-blooded" and "up to all requirements." Bruno Villien of Opera International called her Nedda in Cavalleria Rusticana remarked on her portrayal of "torrid eroticism" as well as tenderness, making mention of her "spectacular silhouette."