Review: LA Opera’s Salome With Soprano Patricia Racette

“Racette becomes Salome. She’s had some practice this season, having performed the role for the Met and Pittsburgh Opera. For an opera star over 50, she does a remarkable job of portraying a playful Salome in the opening, then dancing provocatively (and ending naked) for her lecherous stepfather, King Herod, in the famous “Dance of the Seven Veils,” stubbornly demanding her revenge, and finally giving us a window onto madness. Racette is fearless. Her complete absorption in one of opera’s most demanding roles is nothing less than awe-inspiring. This is Salome’s opera, and it was Racette’s at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The other characters are almost insignificant, mere pawns to move the story along…”

—Julie Riggott, Culture Spot LA

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Published: March 9, 2017

L.A. Opera’s 30-year-old ‘Salome’ is back, and not a kid anymore

“On Saturday night at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, L.A. Opera revisited that ancient, if once steamy, “Salome,” now as a vehicle for soprano Patricia Racette, a very different, 21st century singer. …Racette’s efficient Salome and Gabriele Schnaut’s gleeful Herodias are, on the other hand, neither vulnerable nor unhinged. They are empowering.

The athletic Racette leaped with ease onto the raised lip of the cistern to get a look at John. She mastered a dance with difficult steps, and she proudly removed all veils. Vocally too, Racette (after a period of warming up and a few not-yet-there low notes) remained in full command of an exhausting role.

She never pretended to be a teen. From her attempted seductions of John to her contemptuous dance for Herod to her cavorting with John’s head brought to her on platter, she knew exactly what she wanted and how to get it. Rather than a self-destructive, narcissistic Salome undone by obscene passions, here was a woman not seductive but triumphant.

That resonated along with the gleam of her voice, and the second the curtain came down, the crowd was on its collective feet cheering.”

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Published: February 19, 2017

New York Classical Review: “A riveting Racette ignites in Met’s Salome” …and more!

“…Patricia Racette provided just that kind of rare experience, starring in a revival of Richard Strauss’s Salome at the Metropolitan Opera. She was not even originally scheduled to sing in this run, and stepped in to replace an ailing Catherine Naglestad.

Yet the veteran soprano had a career night Monday, showing she still has an enormous amount to offer, both musically and dramatically, as an artist. Racette has not had a success at the Met like this in several years–maybe ever.”
-Eric C. Simpson, New York Classical Review

 “The evening belonged, rightly, to Patricia Racette, who portrayed the princess of Judea in place of Catherine Naglestad, reportedly unwell in Europe. Racette, 51, rose to the challenge with gutsy abandon, singing with almost unflagging power and inflecting the text with illuminating stresses. She manoeuvred the cluttered stage with grace, and, yes, bared all for a brief moment as she discarded her seventh veil.”
-Martin Bernheimer, The Financial Times

“Her stamina was astounding and she did not seem out of breath after the dance of seven veils. The final scene of the opera, in front stage talking to and finally kissing the severed head, brought out her best singing of the evening, as her tireless voice rode above the surging orchestra to a thrilling finale. It was, at the end of the evening, a compelling and noteworthy performance.”
Ako Imamura, Bachtrack

Published: December 7, 2016

Patricia Racette appears as Salome in Pittsburgh, triumphs

“Soprano Patricia Racette gave a thrilling portrayal of Princess Salome, embracing in her own way the most outrageous aspects of the role, and was supported by a strong cast… Racette created a brilliantly textured picture of Salome, both privileged by rank and oppressed by the world she lives in. Her curiosity with Jochanaan grows by steps to fascination and obsession. …The soprano sang with ample power, and would no doubt have been able to ride over a louder orchestra. She encompassed the part’s wide range, including the demanding lowest register, and also had the nuance to vocally color insinuation, charm and ecstasy.”

-Mark Kanny, Trib Live

“…she has the vocal stamina to get through sounding as fresh at the end as in her first lines, clear German diction, and the physical prowess to create an illusion of youth and give an unembarrassed flash of nudity at the end of her dance. The dance itself was a disappointing segment, weakly choreographed by Attack Theatre’s Michele de la Reza, but in every other way Ms. Racette proved herself one of today’s major protagonists of this challenging and arduous role.”
-Robert Croan, Post-Gazette

Published: November 7, 2016

Patricia Racette debuts new Puccini role at The Santa Fe Opera, receives raves

“Now it’s on to Patricia Racette for her fresh take on Minnie, tender and multidimensional, soft of heart and secure of voice. Although Racette’s still growing into the role, her top notes soar with warmth and luminosity, and as a consummate actress, she’ll have you forgetting you’re in an opera house.”

-John Stege, The Santa Fe Reporter

“The piece was strongly cast. Patricia Racette, a part-time Santa Fe resident, took on the role of Minnie for the first time in her career and did it proud. Her clear, robust soprano embraced the part’s vocal demands with security. …Time and again her little soliloquies drew viewers into the realm of her deeply personal hopes and dreams, building up a well-rounded, credible characterization.”
-James M. Keller, The Santa Fe New Mexican

Published: July 5, 2016

Patricia earns raves for her first unveiling of Katerina in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk on London’s West End

“Patricia Racette is sensational as Katerina…the great American soprano contributes a three-dimensional humanity all her own. Indeed, all the singers do an excellent job of rising above the production; she, though, is a star… Racette’s interpretational subtlety is as dazzling as her rock-solid vocal command. She dominates the unravelling tale, honours to the hilt the title’s ironic sobriquet and invests her big, chromatic soliloquy with an overwhelming sense of thwarted languor. We are never allowed to forget that Katerina is victim first, multiple murderer second..”
—Mark Valencia, What’s On Stage | Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk | English National Opera, September 2015

“Patricia Racette charts Katerina’s transformation from bored, resentful chattel to emancipated woman with steely control, and unswerving musical authority”
—Andrew Clements, The Guardian | Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk | English National Opera, September 2015

“Patricia Racette makes us believe in her utterly as she veers between the desperation of being downtrodden in a loveless marriage to the triumph of controlling her own destiny back to the twin despairs of imprisonment and sexual betrayal, making Katerina’s extreme actions seem inevitable to us in the audience…Racette, Daszak, Hayward and Peter Hoare (as Katerina’s husband Zinovy) all sang well, Racette outstandingly so, with attractive timbre and phrasing, a great deal of emotion injected into each line and no difficulty in being heard above the orchestra.”
—David Karlin, Bachtrack | Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk | English National Opera, September 2015

“With Mark Wigglesworth drawing a brilliantly detailed performance from the pit, soprano Patricia Racette gilding her arias with expressive grace, and bass-baritone Robert Hayward’s father-in-law Boris effortlessly commanding the stage, we are in excellent hands.”
—Michael Church, The Independent | Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk | English National Opera, September 2015

Published: December 8, 2015

Notes The Guardian, “Patricia Racette charts Katerina’s transformation from bored, resentful chattel to emancipated woman with steely control, and unswerving musical authority…”
> Read the full review and check out Kenton’s sumptuous photos of the production!

“With Mark Wigglesworth drawing a brilliantly detailed performance from the pit, soprano Patricia Racette gilding her arias with expressive grace, and bass-baritone Robert Hayward’s father-in-law Boris effortlessly commanding the stage, we are in excellent hands.” Read more…

“Patricia Racette, singing with sometimes raw intensity, played this repressed Katerina with impressive authority, her very stillness a window on the emotions locked within.” Check out the full review!

“Singing sturdily and steadily, Patricia Racette makes a touching Katerina..” Read more of this reviewer’s opinion of the season opener.