The New York Times hailed Egypt native Ashraf Sewailam’s debut at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall as a “stand out performance” and Opera News described his voice as “purring and velvety with an easily produced Ramfis-like top range with a majestic tone,” and his stage presence as “strong, mysterious and with mesmerizing intensity”. In his debut with New Zealand Opera as the assassin Sparafucile in Rigoletto, he was described as “hard to better, both vocally and dramatically”.
Ashraf made his US debut in 2004 with Opera Colorado performing the role of Leporello in Don Giovanni. Quickly becoming a house favorite, he has subsequently performed there as Count Ceprano in Rigoletto, Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro, and Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia and looks forward to his return next season to perform the King in Aida.
This past season he sang the Mandarin in Turandot with Seattle Opera, Orso Faledro in La Nave with Teatro Grattacielo, Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Sacramento Opera and Pensacola Opera, Dulcamara in L’elisir d’Amore, Third Tempter/Third Knight in Pizzetti’s Murder in the Cathedral and the King in Aida, both with San Diego Opera, Achilla in Giulio Cesare with the Egyptian Philharmonic, and Alidoro in La Cenerentola with Opera Queensland.
Additional US performances have included the roles of Colline in La bohème, Pistola in Falstaff, and Mandarin in Turandot with Seattle Opera; Uin-Sci in Leoni’s L’Orocolo and Salomone in Montemezzi’s L’Incantesimo at Avery Fisher Hall with Teatro Grattacielo; Secret Police Agent in The Consul with Chautauqua Opera; Sparafucile in Rigolettowith Fresno Grand Opera; Ferrando in Il trovatore with Chautauqua Opera and Virginia Opera; Ramfis in Aida and the Bonze in Madama Butterfly with Virginia Opera; Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance with Lyric Opera San Diego; Colline in La bohème with The Chattanooga Symphony and Opera; and Escamillo in Carmen with Fargo-Moorhead Opera.
Mr. Sewailam’s recent concert appearances include a Carnegie Hall debut as the Bass soloist in Rutter’s Mass of the Children, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with The Colorado Mahlerfest, and the Bass soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Phoenix Symphony. His concert repertoire includes Bach’s Saint John’s Passion, Magnificat, Christmas Oratorio, and Lutheran Masses in F and A; Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s The Creation and Lord Nelson’s Mass; Mozart’s Requiem and Vespers, and the Verdi Requiem. Mr. Sewailam also has a commercial recording in which he performs Songs from the Hebrew by Stefan Wolpe.