2019 Princess of Girona Foundation Arts and Literature Award and winner of the 7th Opera Europa - Camerata Nuova Europäischer Opernregie-Preis, 2013, Rafael is making a name for himself as one of the most exciting young stage directors after presenting some of his works at Teatro Real, La Monnaie, Gran Teatre del Liceu, or Theater an der Wien, among many other theaters in Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Hungary and the UK. He has also been a finalist of the Independent Opera at Sadler's Wells Director Fellowship competition as well as an artist-in-residence at the Academy of Spain in Rome. He has recently been nominated as Best Young Director for the International Opera Awards in London, and has been awarded at Ring Award competition in Graz as well as the YAM awards in Stockholm.
Drawn to theatre and music at a very early age, Rafael R. Villalobos studied solfège and singing at the Conservatorio Cristóbal de Morales in his hometown, Seville. He gained a BA in Performing Arts from the RESAD [Royal School for Dramatic Arts] in Madrid, and went on to obtain first-class honours with distinction in an MA in Music as an Interdisciplinary Art at the University of Barcelona in conjunction with the ESMUC [Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya]. He has also studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, and attended workshops and masterclasses with Vincent Dumestre, Eduardo Arroyo and Mario Gas.
Some recent works include Orphée by Ph. Glass -Teatro Real, Madrid-, Iphigénie en Tauride by Ch. W. Gluck -Opéra Orchestra National Montpellier-, and Tosca by G. Puccini -Gran Teatre del Liceu- next to conductors such as Pierre Dumoussaud, Henrik Nanasi or Giacomo Sagripanti.
From 2019 he has been named artistic director of [DxM], a cycle of experimental musical theatre projects commissioned by the ICAS in Seville. He is also the coordinator of the Ópera y Juventud youth workshops for Ópera XXI, the association of Spanish theatres and festivals, and teaches at the Menéndez Pelayo International University.
Future works include new productions for Teatro Real, La Monnaie, Opera Ballet Vlaanderen and Göteborgsoperan.
He will never direct Tristan und Isolde: he just wants to sit, relax and enjoy this masterwork.