Rafi was the BBC Radio 2 Young Chorister of the Year 2017-18. In 2018 he made his debut at Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and his operatic debut as Miles in Seattle Opera’s acclaimed production of the Turn of the Screw.
Formerly Head Chorister at Chichester Cathedral, Rafi is now a music scholar at Lancing College. Approaching sixteen, his voice is now in transition, and he will not be accepting public engagements for the time being. But, over the next few months, we hope to add bonus tracks from Rafi’s prolific recording treble catalogue, across various platforms. These will be announced here.
As well as many of Rafi’s signature pieces, the album includes memorable duets with Ischia Gooda from their year as BBC Radio 2 Young Choristers. For the first time you can hear thrilling new recordings from Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with countertenor Chris Pilgrim.
Alongside popular classics The Lord Is My Shepherd, I Vow To Thee My Country, and Linden Lea, here too is Rafi in full flow with the Chichester Cathedral Choir singing the Andrews Magnificat in D, and a full version of his spectacular rendition of Handel’s Refiner’s Fire, the piece which won him his title.
- Refiner's Fire Rafi Bellamy Plaice 0:51
- The Lord Is My Shepherd Rafi Bellamy Plaice 0:48
- I Vow To Thee My Country Rafi Bellamy Plaice 1:05
- Linden Lea Rafi Bellamy Plaice 0:51
- Magnificat in D Rafi Bellamy Plaice 0:51
- Rafi’s last public performance as a treble was with the Chipperfield Choral Society on March 30 2019, where he sang the treble solo for Mendelssohn’s Hear My Prayer.
- On March 6 2019 in Lancing College Chapel, Rafi sang the stratospheric top line in the four-voice solo choir of Gregorio Allegri’s sublime Miserere Mei, Deus Tenebrae with Lancing College Chamber Choir, Hamish Dustagheer cond.
- Rafi was thrilled to have been cast by Seattle Opera in the role of Miles in Peter Kazares’ production of Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of The Screw which premièred on 13th October 2018. It was Rafi’s stage debut in the USA. This clip uploaded by Seattle Opera features a recording of him singing Malo Malo.
- In December 2018 Rafi performed at a Christmas Charity Concert at St Mary’s Church, Calton in Glasgow in aid of nursing homes for the care of the elderly. The concert also featured the Sound of Assisi, Friar Alessandro, and the Phoenix Choir.
- Rafi’s voice could be heard soaring high over Brighton in September 2018 when he was the soloist for a midair mass celebrated with the Wagner Group of Churches on the British Airways i360.
- In June 2018 Rafi and Ischia were invited to perform two hymns for BBC1’s Songs of Praise – Be Thou My Guardian and The Lord is My Shepherd (Goodall). These were recorded in York in early July and broadcast in late 2018 and early 2019.
- Following his appearance at the launch of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s autobiography in March 2018, Rafi was asked to sing at the musical celebration for Andrew’s birthday in the following June, live at the Royal Chelsea Hospital. Together with American soprano, Megan Picerno, he sang Andrew’s Pie Jesu, accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra.
- The prestigious Tanglewood Festival in Massachusetts invited Rafi to be the treble soloist for Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, as part of the composer’s centenary celebrations. The performance took place on Sunday July 15th 2018, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Andris Nelsons. Chichester Psalms was commissioned from Bernstein by Chichester Cathedral for the Southern Cathedral’s Festival in 1965. So it’s very appropriate that Rafi was chosen for this great honour.
- In early 2018 the BBC broadcast two services from Lancing College Chapel, featuring Rafi’s current choir, The Lancing College Chapel Choir, under the direction of Neil Cox. On Saturday April 28th the choir recorded Evensong at 1.30pm for later broadcast on Radio 3. The following morning, Sunday Worship was broadcast live on Radio 4 from the Chapel, beginning at 7.45am.
- Rafi was invited to perform at the London launch of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s autobiography Unmasked at the New London Theatre in March 2018. He sang ‘Pie Jesu’ with the Australian soprano Anna O’Byrne, best known for her role as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera.
- The BBC website contains a link to the duet that Rafi sang with Ischia Gooda, Young Girl Chorister of the Year, at the conclusion of the final of BBC Radio 2 Young Chorister of the Year 2017, John Rutter’s ‘I Will Sing With the Spirit’.
- With the Southbank Sinfonia, Rafi sang ‘Walking in the Air’ in a special showing, with live soundtrack, of Raymond Brigg’s The Snowman at the Brighton Dome on Saturday December 16th 2017.
- In late November 2017 Rafi and Ischia recorded Christmas Carols for the BBC at Broadcasting House in late November. This series of duets was broadcast on Radio 2 on The Sunday Hour on Christmas Eve, and Good Morning Christmas on Christmas Day, both hosted by the Rev Kate Bottley, then on Radio 4’s The Daily Service during Christmas week
- Just before Christmas 2017 Rafi was broadcast live on BBC South Today from Chichester Cathedral, back in his old colours in the choir stalls. You can see the footage here.
Rafi was a chorister at Chichester Cathedral for six years, from 2011-2017, becoming Head Chorister in his final year. During his first three years in the choir he worked under the direction of Sarah Baldock, and then in his last three under Charles Harrison.
As a chorister he toured to Germany, France and the Netherlands. He was also featured as a soloist as Young Nicholas in Britten’s St Nicholas (Petersfield Music Festival and Southern Cathedrals Festival) and in the role of the Boy in Mendelssohn’s Elijah for the Fernhurst Choral Society. As a pupil at the Prebendal School, he sang the title roles of Robin Hood and Oliver.
Rafi is now in his third year as a music scholar at Lancing College, where he sings in the choir in the stall once occupied by Sir Peter Pears.
Rafi’s favourite composers are Mozart, Purcell and Gibbons. His other passions besides music are Egyptology and the works of JRR Tolkien.
Seattle Opera, October 2018 : The Turn of the Screw
“The young singer playing Miles has a crucial task: believably portray a boy striving to appear normal on the surface but roiling underneath. On opening night, Rafi Bellamy Plaice’s angelic choirboy treble made all the more stark the contrast with the wickedness enveloping him.”
The Seattle Times, October 17, 2018
“It’s the music and the performers that are the draw here. Young Rafi Bellamy Plaice stands out with a beautiful voice as the young boy Miles. He handles the material exceptionally, a particular highlight being the first act song ‘Malo’. ”
Creatively Clo, October 2018
“Miles is portrayed by Seattle Opera newcomer Rafi Bellamy Plaice, who finely balances innocence and subversive darkness. For much of the opera, his tenderly sung reading convinces us Miles is a victim. But as the second act progresses, Plaice gradually increases the intensity, especially as Quint’s ghost engages more forcefully with him.”
Seen and Heard International, October 19, 2018
“In an opera written as a sort of love letter to the young, treble voice, Plaice shone with a wonderfully clear, innocent, and perfectly angelic tone.”
Drama in the Hood, October 19, 2018
“Opening Night audiences heard the wonderful Rafi Bellamy Plaice, a young man who won the Choir Boy of the Year award in England in 2017. His voice is amazingly mature and consistent through all registers – and how a young teenager can project into an opera house is a mystery to me.
He handled the very sensitive role of Miles with a perfect combination of innocence as an actor and sophistication as a singer. His aria ‘Malo, Malo’ (‘Bad Boy’) was delivered with chilling precision and heart-rending sorrow as Miles exposes his fear of having been corrupted by the evil Peter Quint.
I’m sure I join everyone who loves treble voices in hoping that this marvelous singer, when he comes through puberty, will possess a voice as compelling in his adulthood as it is in his youth.”
Seattle Gay News, October 19, 2018
“England’s Rafi Bellamy Plaice, an accomplished singer with a solo CD, sang with sweetness and impeccable pitch.” Opera News January 2019
“The star turn was the Miles of Rafi Bellamy Plaice, whose pure, beautifully focused treble carried effortlessly throughout the house.” Opera Magazine March 2019
Tanglewood Festival, Mass., 2018 : Chichester Psalms
“Singing Chichester Psalms well is yeoman’s work, and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, prepared by James Burton, was up to the task, singing the grinding dissonances of the opening with strength and precision. Elsewhere, the singers found an apt melting lyricism. The men of the choir sang the “Adonai, Adonai” of Psalm 131 with buttery tone, and the concluding verse from Psalm 133 floated in the air like quiet prayer.
A few tentative attacks apart, the eight soloists, drawn from the TFC ranks, sang their brief solo sections with zeal. But the star of the afternoon was Rafi Bellamy Plaice, a boy soprano with a pristine voice. Singing with both innocence and radiance, Plaice lofted a warm-hearted “Adonai ro-i, lo ehsar.” Nelsons’ sensitive accompaniment wrapping the singer in a velvety blanket of sound.”
Boston Classical Review, July 16, 2018
“Bernstein’s piece, which premièred in 1965, is a beguilingly composite work…(with) an extended lilting solo for boy soprano, delivered on Sunday by Rafi Bellamy Plaice with striking poise and tonal purity.”
Boston Globe, July 17, 2018
Chichester Chorale: “O for the Wings of a Dove”, Boxgrove Priory
“The performance opened with the Radio 2 Young Chorister of the Year, and former Head Chorister of Chichester Cathedral, Rafi Bellamy Plaice, singing “Hear my Prayer” by Mendlessohn. His voice is quite exquisite representing the best of English cathedral singing, and has both height and depth to it. He was then joined by the distingushed and much sought after tenor, Tom Robson, in a duet of Franck’s well known Panis Angelicus, which had a beautifully played and understated accompaniment by the Wessex Baroque strings – superb throughout – that was arranged by the Chorale’s conductor Arthur Robson. The two sang sensitively and joyously together.”
Music in Portsmouth, July 13,2018
Raymond Brigg’s The Snowman at the Brighton Dome
“The show’s highlight was Raphael Bellamy Plaice’s flawless performance of ‘Walking in the Air’. The uplifting music complemented his soaring voice. We were captivated throughout this enchanting performance.”
The Latest, Brighton, December 2017