THE JOURNEY SO FAR...
Raguel began singing at the age of three and his early years were spent singing in chorals or in the church. As a teenager he studied piano, composition and guitar. In a twist of fate at his day job in 2011, while serving a customer who 'heard the tenor' in his voice, he was invited to audition for a role. The role was that of Tony in a mega production of West Side Story and the 'customer' turned out to be its musical director. Raguel went on to make his professional stage debut as Tony and received rave reviews for his portrayal. It was while singing the role of Tony that he discovered the operatic potential of his voice. He very quickly started to study classical voice with June Nathaniel (Royal College of Music, London) at The Key Academy of Music, Trinidad. He joined the island's prestigious, award-winning Marionettes Chorale in which he became a featured soloist. Inspired by the role of Tony, Raguel found himself wanting to explore more acting and started studies at local drama school, Necessary Arts with acclaimed veteran actress, Penelope Spencer. His next, and first operatic role, was that of Remendado in a landmark production of Bizet's Carmen with the Marionettes.
With his classical voice further developed, Raguel decided to compete at Trinidad's Annual Music Festival and Vocal Competition. He went on to win in both categories he entered: Male Operatic Aria singing "La fleur que tu m'avais jetée" from Bizet's Carmen and Male Broadway Song with "Being Alive" from Stephen Sondheim's Company. Thereafter, Raguel joined the Classical Music Development Foundation of Trinidad's Young Artist Collective where in 2012 he sang the roles of Black Teapot and Arithmetic in Ravel's L'enfant et les sortileges.
In early 2014 he returned to opera with the CMDFTT singing the role of Alfred in Johann Strauss II's Die Fledermaus. Raguel was then cast as Marius in Les Miserables with the Marionettes Chorale in what would be the Caribbean premiere of the piece. Finding himself completely affected by the character, he worked intensely to create a most compelling version of Marius. Critics praised his 'remarkable' performance and his portrayal of the character as interpreted both 'tenderly and forcefully'. Thereafter, Raguel was awarded a Certificate of Recognition by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago as an outstanding artist in the fields of Acting and Vocal Performance. Raguel credits the experience of portraying Marius with cementing his decision to pursue serious acting training abroad. Later that year he flew to New York City to audition for the prestigious Stella Adler Studio of Acting. Thereafter, he was accepted into the school's Three Year Professional Conservatory.
Then came the lead role in a new version of Mozart's comic opera, The Impresario, by American playwright Callie Kimball. The 2012 successful production was then taken to Barbados that summer and was featured in the island's 100 Voice Project. In early 2013 Raguel sang Tamino in sold out performances of The Magic Flute with the CMDFTT to more success, receiving recognition for his 'beautiful and pleasing' tenor. Fresh off that achievement, he then sang Aeneas in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, conducted by Colin Mendez Morris of Toronto based ethnocultural opera company, ArsMusica. Following Aeneas, Raguel found himself desiring to act from a more 'real' place-with no singing or music involved. In the summer of 2013, he traveled to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art where he studied intensely with Scott Handy, James Kerr, Vincent Manna and Caroline Leslie.
Returning to Trinidad in early 2015, he prepared to reprise the role of Marius in the return of the Marionettes' critically acclaimed production of Les Miserables. Simultaneously, he worked on self- producing the first of his solo concerts. Held that summer, the successful 'Prologue' was conceived in aid of his move to NYC to begin his drama studies. 'Prologue 2: True Love' followed in early 2016. That summer he returned to Trinidad to star as Hoffmann in Offenbach's popular opera Les contes D'Hoffmann with the newly launched Picoplat Music Development Foundation Trinidad , as part of its Opera Festival. Local reviews praised his 'intensity and comic ability' in the role, his 'vocal display that was flexible and fluid' and his evident triumph in playing romantic leads.
Before returning to NYC, he produced 'Desire' a personal, themed solo piece combining music, song and text. In early 2017 he portrayed his favourite Shakespearean character Othello, at the Stella Adler Studio. He returned to Trinidad that summer for the role of Tamino in The Magic Flute with the Picoplat Music Development Foundation. While there, he produced the most personal of his solo shows called Human. The poignant, thought provoking piece was performed in memory of an actor and friend who had passed earlier that year. Returning to Stella Adler, Raguel then portrayed Sorin in The Seagull by Anton Chekov that winter. In early 2018 he starred as Nino in Six Passionate Women by Mario Fratti and Antonio in The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare. He graduated from the Stella Adler Studio of Acting NYC that spring.
In November 2018, Raguel was chosen by New York based playwright Dr. Cynthia Stephens of Sacred Ground Productions to sing the role of Amadou in the debut performance of her newly written musical, The Princess and the Golden Yam. Held at the Green Room 42 in the heart of New York City's theatre district, the highly successful, sold out performance was directed by Broadway veteran actor Nathaniel Stampley (The Lion King, The Color Purple). He worked with independent artist Lila Jean for the music video of her single "No More". In June 2019 Raguel was cast in Battle Cry, a brand new play by award winning playwright Barbara Blumenthal Ehrlich, produced by Theatre East as part of the company's 5x5 Drama Series. The production travelled to all five boroughs of New York City.
On June 12th 2021, after more than a year of preparation, reset and reflection, Raguel returned to the stage as tenor in his first fully classical vocal recital titled "Franz Schubert's Schwanengesang Live in Concert Recital". The performance featured the beloved composer's timeless song set in its entirety, performed in the order as published after his death. Accompanied by pianist and Westbeth NYC artist Dr. Jeffrey Middleton, the livestreamed performance took place at Merkin Hall at the Kaufman Music Center, one of New York City's finest venues for classical music. The recital marked the first of artistic projects executed under the banner of Raguel's very own RTG Productions.
In October 2021 Raguel performed with Sacred Ground Productions for The All Originals Concert (a collaboration with The Hudson Tourist Board). The musical piece was staged in the city of Hudson, New York. He continued his classical voice training with internationally acclaimed teacher, Mr. Neil Semer (Neil Semer Vocal Institute) and Mrs. Damgar Apel (former University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna faculty member).