Second Prize Winner in the Moniuszko International Vocal Competition and one of the Six Best Opera Singers of 2012 according to Spectator magazine, Rafal Bartminski studied singing with Prof. Eugeniusz Sasiadek at the Karol Szymanowski Music Academy in Katowice, Poland, graduating with the First Prize for Singing. His strong lyrical and commanding tenor voice with Vickers-like top and attractive physicality make him a perfect choice for leading tenor roles in romantic repertoire.
Rafal has performed at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Théâtre du Châtelet, Wexford Opera Festival, Latvian National Opera and in all major polish opera houses.
His operatic debut was as Lensky in Eugene Onegin at the Teatr Wielki (Polish National Opera) in 2002. Since 2003 he has regularly appeared with Polish National Opera in Warsaw. On tour with PNO he has performed at London's Sadlers Wells Theatre, at Vilnius Opera, and at the Peralada Festival in Spain. In 2003 and 2005 he toured Austria, Germany and Switzerland singing Tamino in The Magic Flute, a role he also sang at the Teatr Wielki in Poznan in 2005.
Since 2006 Rafal has also been a regular performer with Opera Wroclawska. Roles performed in Wroclaw include Nemorino in L'elisir d'amore, the Shepherd in King Roger by Szymanowski, Gabriel in Paradise Lost by Penderecki, Stefan in The Haunted Manor by Moniuszko, and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni. In 2006 he made his debut at Warsaw Opera as Drum-Major in Berg’s Wozzeck in a new production by Krzysztof Warlikowski.
In 2009 Rafal played Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni at Krakow Opera, and made his Russian debut at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow as the Drum-Major in Wozzeck in a production by Dmitri Tcherniakov, conducted by Teodor Currentzis.
In 2010 had his debut role as Boris in Katya Kabanova in a new David Alden production at Warsaw Opera, conducted by Tomas Hanus. He also appeared there as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, and in the title role in a concert version of Dobrzynski's Monbar, conducted by Lukasz Borowicz (subsequently released on CD).
In the autumn of 2011 Rafal received reviews for his debut as Waclaw in Roman Statkowski's Maria at the Wexford Opera Festival, followed by his acclaimed role debut as Jontek in Halka in Warsaw.
Highlights in 2012 and 2013 were a new production of Stravinsky's Le Rossignol in Warsaw and his debut at the Latvian National Opera (Riga Summer Festival) in Penderecki’s Polish Requiem, his role debut as Alfredo in La Traviata in Poznan and Bialystok, Lenski in Eugene Onegin at the Polish National Opera as well as Stefan in Moniuszko’s The Haunted Manor at the inauguration of the new opera house in Bialystok, Poland.
Rafal performs regularly in concerts with all top Polish orchestras, such as the Warsaw Philharmonic, the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice, the Polish Radio Orchestra, the Beethoven Academy Orchestra, the Sinfonia Varsovia and the Filharmonia Krakowska.
International concert appearances include Szymanowski's 3rd Symphony with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mariss Jansons in Munich and Cologne (2008, with CD recording), and with the Spanish Radio Orchestra conducted by Hannu Lintu in Madrid (2011), Penderecki's Polish Requiem with the Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Krzysztof Penderecki at the Gewandhaus Leipzig (2011), and Szymanowski's Harnasie at Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris (2011).
Rafal has worked with many international conductors including Lukasz Borowicz, Gabriel Chmura, Teodor Currentzis, Christopher Hogwood, Miguel Gomez-Martinez, Tomas Hanus, Mariss Jansons, Jacek Kaspszyk, Jan Latham-Koenig, Ewa Michnik, Marc Minkowski, Krzysztof Penderecki, Modestas Pitrenas, Andrzej Straszynski, Antoni Wit, and Alberto Zedda.
Rafal has also worked with acclaimed directors including David Alden, Dmitri Tcherniakov, Mariusz Trelinski, Krzysztof Warlikowski, and Michal Znaniecki.
Rafal won 3rd prize at the Ada Sari International Vocal Artistry Festival and Competition in Nowy Sacz in 2001, Most Promising Polish Tenor (2005) and 2nd prize (2007) at the Stanislaw Moniuszko International Vocal Competition in Warsaw.
Projects in 2013/14 include Stefan, Pinkerton, Fisherman (Le rossignol), Ismaele at the Warsaw Opera, Missa solemnis (Beethoven) with the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, a new production of in Wuppertal, and Messa da Requiem (Verdi) in Riga.
Rafal performed “Credo” by Krzysztof Penderecki under the baton of Valery Giergiev during the Jubilee Gala at the Krzysztof Penderecki Festival Marking the Composer’s 80th birthday in November 2013.
In February 2014 he toured in Israel (Tel Aviv-Bronfman Auditorium, Haifa-Muncipal Auditorium, Jerusalem-International Convention Centre) with The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra performing "Polish Requiem" by Krzysztof Penderecki, under the baton of the composer and with Gary Bertini Israeli Choir.