Lancashire-born soprano Soraya Mafi studied at the Royal Northern College of Music and Royal College of Music, supported by the Help Musicians UK Sybil Tutton Award. Soraya continues her studies with Janis Kelly. Soraya’s many awards and prizes include the Maggie Teyte Prize in 2014 and the Susan Chilcott Award in 2016. She was also the 2nd Prize winner of the 2015 Kathleen Ferrier Awards. Soraya is a Harewood Young Artist of the English National Opera.
Soraya’s roles for English National Opera have included Edith (Pirates of Penzance), Papagena (Magic Flute) and Karolka (Jeunfa). This season, she returned to the English National Opera as Mabel (Pirates of Penzance) and next year makes her role début as Tytania (A Midsummer Night’s Dream). She made her American début in June with Seattle Symphony Orchestra (Ludovic Morlot) and toured with Ensemble Matheus (Jean-Chrisophe Spinosi) to Chapelles Versailles.
Next season Soraya makes role débuts as Cleopatra (Giulio Cesare – English Touring Opera) and Nanetta (Falstaff – Garsington Fesitval Opera).
Simon Lepper, Piano
Simon Lepper was educated at King’s College, Cambridge and the Royal Academy of Music. He is currently professor of piano accompaniment at the Royal College of Music and teaches at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. He is an official accompanist for the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.