Opera singer exhibits paintings at Art Box


Raquel Rubí has mastered not one, but two artistic realms. Known internationally as an exceptional opera singer, she is also an accomplished painter.

And recently, she had an opportunity to exhibit both her fine-art skills and her vocal talents during an event at Art Box 137 in St. Augustine.

Visitors attending the exhibit’s opening on Saturday, July 22, were greeted by a self-portrait titled “La Cubana,” an oil on canvas measuring 48-by-46 inches. It depicts Rubi in an ornate, Flamenco-style dress. Next to it was another large painting, “La Divina II,” which depicts one of the artist’s favorite singers: opera star Maria Callas.

Further in the gallery, one discovers another work, “La Divina,” with a much different depiction of Callas.

Rubí called the legendary soprano “a big inspiration.”

Other works in the show depict characters that Rubí has portrayed in operas, operettas and zarzuelas. The collection is named “Stage Works,” for good reason.

“My inspiration has been my music, my roles,” Rubí said.

During Saturday’s opening, the soprano who recently performed at St. Augustine’s Romanza Festivale of Music & The Arts, sang some of her favorite pieces for her guests. She also unveiled a new painting inspired by a favorite aria, “Song to the Moon” from Dvořák’s “Rusalka.”

A native of Havana, Cuba, Rubí liked to paint as far back as childhood. But music soon took center stage.

She studied piano and composition with composer Harold Gramatges at the Instituto Superior de Arte and took vocal lessons from soprano María Eugenia Barrios. She performed with and directed ensembles before launching her solo career in 2001.

Among her many endeavors, she was also cast in the film “Scent of Oak,” winning her the Caricato 2003 award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

Moving to South Florida, she earned her Doctorate in Musical Arts in 2016. She performed at a variety of events in Miami, and her original composition, “Hosanna,” premiered in Carlos Barba’s film, “Humberto.”

She relocated to St. Augustine two years ago.

“When I moved here, I decided to spend more time with my painting, learning more techniques,” she said.

She credited her mentor, artist Paulo Jimenez, with helping her.

Rubí’s work will be on exhibit through the fall. Art Box 137 is located at 137 King St.

For further information on Rubí, her art and her singing, go to raquelrubi.com.