Soprano Patricia Racette is known as one of the great singing actresses of our time.
She continues to appear regularly in the most acclaimed opera houses of the world, including The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and the Santa Fe Opera. Known as a great interpreter of Janáček and Puccini, she has gained particular notoriety for her portrayals of the title roles of Madama Butterfly, Tosca, Jenůfa, Kátya Kabanová, and all three leading soprano roles in Il Trittico. Her varied repertory also encompasses the leading roles of Mimi and Musetta in La Bohème, Nedda in Pagliacci, Elisabetta in Don Carlos, Leonora in Il Trovatore, Alice in Falstaff, Marguerite in Faust, Mathilde in Guillaume Tell, Madame Lidoine in Dialogues des Carmélites, Margherita in Boito’s Mefistofele, Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes, The Governess in The Turn of the Screw, and Tatyana in Eugene Onegin as well as the title roles of La Traviata, Susannah, Luisa Miller, and Iphigénie en Tauride.
Internationally Ms. Racette has appeared at the Royal Opera House, the English National Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Teatro alla Scala, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Teatro Comunale di Firenze, Opera di Genova, Bayerische Staatsoper, Vienna Staatsoper, Teater an der Wien, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Opera Australia in Sydney, and the Saito Kinen Festival.
Her performances of Madama Butterfly and Peter Grimes at the Metropolitan Opera were seen in HD in movie theaters across the world as part of The Met: Live in HD, with Madama Butterfly being one of the most successful broadcasts in the history of the series. Both were subsequently released on DVD. She is also a frequent guest host for the series, having most recently taken on that role for Werther, The Nose, and Götterdammerung.
A champion of new works by today’s leading composers, Ms. Racette most recently created the title role of Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne for San Francisco, Leslie Crosbie in the world premiere of Paul Moravec’s The Letter at the Santa Fe Opera. Other world premieres have included Roberta Alden in Tobias Picker’s An American Tragedy at the Metropolitan Opera, the title role in Tobias Picker’s Emmeline at the Santa Fe Opera (subsequently broadcast on PBS’ Great Performances and available on Albany Records), and Love Simpson in Carlisle Floyd’s Cold Sassy Tree at the Houston Grand Opera (available on Albany Records).
On the concert platform, Ms Racette has appeared with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Houston Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Dusseldorfer Philharmoniker, and the Cologne Philharmonic. She recorded Zemlinsky’s Der Traumgörge with James Conlon and the Cologne Philharmonic.
During the 2012-13 season, Ms. Racette began with acclaimed performances of the leading ladies Il Tabarro and Suor Angelica in a new production of Il Trittico for her debut at the Theater an der Wien. She went on to add her first performances of the title role of Manon Lescaut at the Washington National Opera, returned to the San Francisco Opera with Tosca, and concluded with Il Trovatore and Dialogues des Carmélites at the Metropolitan Opera. She appeared in concert with Patti Lupone at the Ravinia Festival, made her debut at the New York Philharmonic in performances of Dallapiccola’s Il Priogioniero under the baton of Alan Gilbert, and also appeared at the famed Below54 for a run of performances of her celebrated new cabaret album Diva on Detour. She concluded her season with a return to the Ravinia Festival for Diva on Detour as well as her debut with Teatro del Liceu in Madama Butterfly.
2013-14 brought Ms. Racette back to San Francisco to not only open the season with a triumphant portrayal of Margherita/Elena in Boito’s Mefistofele but also her last minute assumption of the title role of Picker’s Dolores Claiborne. She then delivered her acclaimed Tosca for the Metropolitan Opera (including a Live from the Met HD capture that set records for viewing across the world) as well as with the Torino Group in Tokyo, Japan. She will offer her touted Madama Butterly for her returns to Lyric Opera of Chicago as well as San Francisco.She also announces three role debuts: Maddalena for the Met’s Andrea Chénier, Julie La Verne in Showboat for San Francisco, and her first assumption of the title role of Salome in concert for the Ravinia Festival.
Upcoming season highlights include Ms. Racette’s debuts with both Teatro Bueños Aires and Canadian Opera Company in Toronto in her signature role of Madama Butterfly as well as her official role debut as Floyd’s Susannah in a new production for San Francisco Opera. Further appearances include her role debut as Marie Antoinette in Corigliano’s Ghosts of Versailles with L.A. Opera and a concert performance of her Tosca with Leonard Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony.
A native of New Hampshire, Ms. Racette earned her Bachelor of Music degree from North Texas State University before joining The Merola Opera Program and Adler Fellowship at San Francisco Opera. Among her honors are the Richard Tucker Award, the Marian Anderson Award, and a 2010 Opera News Award.
Photo credit: Devon Cass