Born in Aveiro - Portugal, Ricardo has distinguished himself for his interpretation of the florid baritone Bel Canto roles, deemed beguilingly sonorous, a technical tour-de-force and mesmerising by different music publications.
Currently focusing on the main Lyric Baritone roles from the Classical Period to Verismo, the 2015 - 2016 season saw Ricardo debut to critical acclaim at his home country’s National Opera House in Lisbon, in Poulenc’s Les Dialogues des Carmelites, directed by Luís Miguel Cintra, one of the most influential portuguese actors/directors of his generation and a lifelong collaborator of award-winning film director Manoel de Oliveira.
This year will see Ricardo have another company and role debut in Opera Holland Park's Young Artist production of Don Giovanni, as Masetto.
Previous career highlights have included the London premieres of Saverio Mercadante’s Don Chisciotte at Leighton House Museum and of Federico Ruiz’s Los Martirios de Colón at the Southbank Centre.
Equally at home in Opera, Oratorio and Recital, Ricardo has also performed, amongst others, for Wexford Festival Opera, Longborough Festival Opera and Casa da Música - Porto, under the baton of conductors like Jeremy Silver, Andrew Bisantz, Jean Sébastien-Berau or Jean-Luc Tingaud.
He regularly gives Lecture-Recitals at London’s Cadogan Hall for Opera Prelude, having recently completed a cycle of lectures where he researched and explored the impact of Censorship and Political Propaganda in Operatic Performance and Composition from the Baroque period through to the Second World War.
Ricardo is also a two-time bursary recipient of The International Opera Awards Foundation, who have generously supported him for the last 2 years.
Having started his musical studies with brazilian soprano Juracyara Baptista, Ricardo then continued studying at the University of Aveiro with portuguese bass-baritone António Salgado, where he achieved a BMus in Vocal Performance and Teaching with Distinction, before moving to London to work with Laura Sarti at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, where he completed his MMus in Performance. After Guildhall he furthered his studies at the Welsh International Academy of Voice with Dennis O'Neill.
Ricardo sang in masterclasses with artists such as Montserrat Caballé, Teresa Berganza, Sir John Tomlinson, Della Jones or Nelly Miricioiu.
Q&A with Ricardo Panela
Which singer has most inspired you?
The singer who inspires me the most is actually a tenor. José Carreras. The sounds he made when he was at the beginning of his career were absolutely divine: a full, passionate, golden and thrilling sound charged with great pathos and emotion, but always incredibly classy and elegant. Very few tenors come close to him when it comes to shaping a phrase, colouring and understanding it. When I show people who only know him from “The Three Tenors” or from late recordings, some excerpts from the early-mid 70’s, their reaction is always “Oh my God, this is the most glorious tenor singing ever!”
Has anything ever made you want to give up?
Great question! I think we all hit the wall from time to time and at different levels, but I strongly believe that everyone goes through those moments of “Do I really want to do this?” So, yes! I’ve had quite a lot of disappointing moments in my life/career when things went bad or horribly wrong (auditions, performances, bank account…), and I’m sure that I’ll have more of those moments ahead. However, I see every “crisis” I go through as an opportunity to grow and toughen up because, in the end, it’s all part of the process of growing up as an artist and as a human being. The bottom line is that you still enjoy that process and, for the time being and all things considered, I’m still having a ball and immensely enjoying what I’m doing!
Unexpected moments on stage?
Portugal. An open air arena-like performance of Magic Flute with me singing Papageno. My microphone had all types of technical issues. The first time they replaced it, they took so much time that I had to deliver the first lines of my next scene (portrait scene with Pamina) backstage. When the microphone was finally secured to my belt, I stormed on stage and immediately realise I didn’t have the portrait with me. What followed can only be described as the biggest improvisation exercise I ever had the misfortune of going through. It all ended well and no one realised there was nothing wrong/missing, but I’m pretty sure that the stress levels during those 3 minutes took away 3 years from my life expectancy!