If there’s such a thing as operatic karma, the American soprano Patricia Racette is reaping its rewards. Ms. Racette, praised equally for her rich voice and keen dramatic instincts, is in her prime these days and a favorite at major opera houses throughout the U.S. She recently made headlines by stepping into the breach on very short notice when the San Francisco Opera needed someone to sing the title role in Tobias Picker’s “Dolores Claiborne,” a company co-commission scheduled to have its premiere here on Wednesday.

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