The Polish bass Rafał Pawnuk studied at the Academy of Music in Kraków and was a member of the opera studio of the Bavarian State Opera, where he worked with conductors such as Marco Armiliato, Massimo Zanetti, Lothar Koenigs, Paolo Carignani and Kent Nagano, and sang roles including Thierry (Dialogues des Carmélites), a Noble of Brabant (Lohengrin) and Dr Wilhelm Reischmann in Henze’s Elegy for Young Lovers.
In the last few years, he has made various role and house debuts, including as Sciarrone and the Sacristan in Martin Kušej’s production of Tosca at the Theater an der Wien, as Hunding (Die Walküre) at the Klagenfurt State Theatre, as Nourabad in a new production of Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de perles at the Opéra de Lille, as Vodník (Rusalka) at the Opéra de Limoges and as Colline (La bohème) and Gremin (Eugene Onegin) at the Dutch National Opera. He made his debut at the Salzburg Festival in 2019 as Mars in Barrie Kosky’s new production of Offenbach’s Orphée aux enfers.
In the 2022/23 season Rafał Pawnuk returned to the Klagenfurt State Theatre as Fafner (Siegfried), performed in various productions at the Castle Opera in Szczecin and made his house debut at the German National Theatre in Weimar as Cherea in Detlef Glanert’s Caligula. He has performed works by Schumann with the Accentus choir under Laurence Equilbey at the Paris Philharmonie and the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie. In the 2023/24 season his appearances will include Ashby (La fanciulla del West) for his debut at the Opéra de Lyon and a return to the Nederlandse Reisopera as Gremin.
Rafał Pawnuk regularly appears as a guest artist at the Castle Opera in Szczecin, where he has sung roles including Guglielmo (Così fan tutte), Betto di Signa (Gianni Schicchi) and the Priest in Philip Glass’s The Trial, and participated in the world premiere of Laurent Petitgirard’s Guru. At the National Theatre in Brno he has sung Vodník and Verdi roles such as the King (Aida), Marchese d’Obigny (La traviata) and Banco (Macbeth). Other past engagements include Darlemont in Donizetti’s I pazzi per progetto at the Zurich Opera House and Angelotti (Tosca) for the Welsh National Opera.
On the concert stage he has appeared in Penderecki’s oratorio Kosmogonia with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra under Alexander Liebreich, as Angelotti with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Vasily Petrenko, in Mozart’s Coronation Mass with the NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra Hanover under Christopher Hogwood, in Mozart’s Requiem in Bydgoszcz and in Handel’s Messiah under Paul Esswood.