Raoul Steffani is this year’s winner of the Nederlandse Muziekprijs, the highest award that can be given to a musician by the Dutch State. He will receive the prize in October 2023 from the State Secretary for Culture Gunay Uslu during a concert with ASKO|Schönberg in the Muziekgebouw aan het IJ. He previously won the GrachtenfestivalPrijs 2018, among other prizes. He is a member of Equilibrium, Barbara Hannigan’s young artists’ programme.
In summer 2023, he sings the role of Johann in Massenet’s Werther at the Bregenzer Festspiele and makes his debut at London’s Wigmore Hall in Handel’s Chandos Anthems with ensemble Arcangelo led by Jonathan Cohen. Next season, he will sing John Adams’ The Wound Dresser at the opening of the Musica Sacra festival in Maastricht with philharmonie zuidnederland, Beethoven Symphony No 9 with Phion, Christmas concerts with the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and Mozart arias with the Residentie Orkest conducted by Richard Egarr, among other projects. He makes his recital debut at the Schubertiade Wieden in the Ehrbar-Saal in Vienna, at the LIFE Victoria Festival in Barcelona and sings Die schöne Müllerin with pianist Severin von Eckardstein.
Recently, Raoul sang the role of Ramiro in Ravel’s L’heure espagnole at the Opéra National de Lyon, after which he was invited to sing Ned Keene in Britten’s Peter Grimes in Friesland and Ramiro at the Opéra de Toulon. In 2022, he made his debut at De Nationale Opera in Operetta Land.
Other recent highlights include Bach’s St John Passion (Jesus) with Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment conducted by Mark Padmore in Brussels, Paris and London, Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with Ensemble Domestica, Frank Martin’s Ode à la musique with the Dutch Radio Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Marcus Creed, several Matthäus Passion concerts with Phion (Jesus) conducted by Reinhard Goebel and with philharmonie zuidnederland (aria’s) conducted by Duncan Ward and Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem with the Residentie Orkest conducted by Anja Bihlmaier. As a soloist, he has previously worked with conductors such as Sir Mark Elder, Vladimir Jurowsky, Sigiswald Kuijken, Ed Spanjaard, Otto Tausk, Jos van Veldhoven and David Zinman.
Since the beginning of his career, Raoul Steffani has had a great passion for the Lieder repertoire. He has given recitals at Oxford Lieder Festival, International Lied Festival Zeist, Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam and the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg. He has recorded two solo albums for Challenge Classics with pianist Gerold Huber: Love’s Spring (2021) featuring songs and duets by Robert and Clara Schumann with mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená. About his debut album Deep in a dream, featuring early works by Schumann, Grieg, Sibelius and Berg, the international press wrote: “This is all first-rate, refined singing with lucid diction, elegant technique, and a palpable affinity for what he is singing. (American Record Guide, 2018) In October 2022, Alpha Records released the album Sehnsucht, with Barbara Hannigan, Camerata RCO and Raoul Steffani, featuring his performance of Berg’s Vier Gesänge Op. 2 in a new orchestration.
Raoul studied at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna and with Margreet Honig at the conservatories of Amsterdam and Tilburg, where he graduated summa cum laude. He took master classes with Thomas Hampson, Christa Ludwig, Dame Felicity Lott and Elly Ameling, among others. From 2016 to 2018, he was a member of the Dutch National Opera Academy, where he sang the role of Guglielmo in Mozart’s Così fan tutte. In addition to his vocal studies, Raoul studied Swedish language and culture at the University of Amsterdam.