Patricia Racette
Patricia Racette
Patricia Lynn Racette is an American operatic soprano. A winner of the Richard Tucker Award in 1998, she has been a regular presence at major opera houses internationally. Racette has enjoyed long-term partnerships with the San Francisco Opera, where she has been a regular performer since 1989, and with the Metropolitan Opera, where she has performed annually since 1995.
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The most fearless woman in opera? Patricia Racette on coming out, Trump, nudity and the demands of 'Salome'
LATimes - 10 days
One weeknight in 1985, a sophomore music student at the University of North Texas sat on the floor of her apartment and listened to a cassette tape that changed the course of her life. Patricia Racette recalls the moment vividly: Italian soprano Renata Scotto sang Puccini’s “Senza Mamma” aria from...
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LATimes article
Grammy Nominations 2017 Include Beyoncé And Adele
Huffington Post - 3 months
Awards season is about to begin and music’s biggest night will be here before you know it. On Tuesday morning, the Recording Academy announced the nominees for the 59th annual Grammy Awards.  Last year’s Best New Artist, Meghan Trainor, got things rolling by revealing the general field awards on “CBS This Morning,” and more nominations were announced throughout the day.  Beyoncé leads with nine nominations, while Drake and Rihanna follow close behind with eight each. Meanwhile, Chance the Rapper is nominated for seven awards and Adele earned herself five noms.  Head over to for a full list of all the nominations for 2017: Album Of The Year: 25 — Adele Lemonade — Beyoncé Purpose — Justin Bieber Views — Drake A Sailor’s Guide To Earth — Sturgill Simpson   Song Of The Year: “Formation”— Khalif Brown, Asheton Hogan, Beyoncé Knowles, Michael L. Williams II, songwriters (Beyoncé) “Hello” — Adele Adkins & Greg Kurstin, songwriters (Adele) “I Took A Pill In I ...
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Huffington Post article
Patricia Racette raises the emotional ante in every operatic portrayal
Chicago Times - about 1 year
Chicago Opera Theater always has been an ensemble-oriented company, as opposed to a company that presents shows emblazoned with the names of big international singers, like a certain heavyweight crosstown rival. But that template has changed this season as the city's second major opera producer,...
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Chicago Times article
Baritone Brian Mulligan - Bracing Up for 'The Fall of the House of Usher' at San Francisco Opera
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Opening Tuesday, December 8 at San Francisco Opera is the U.S. premiere of a double-bill of Gothic horror - two versions of Edgar Allan Poe's classic short story from 1839, The Fall of the House of Usher. With three additional performances between December 10-13, the program begins with Gordon Getty's Usher House followed by Claude Debussy's La Chute de la Maison. Both productions feature baritone Brian Mulligan as Roderick. The Company has kept Brian very busy and very challenged this season - beginning with his powerful interpretation of the title role in Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd and then as Enrico in the bel canto chestnut, Lucia di Lammermoor. Looking ahead to May when he will sing the role of Jack Torrance in the world premiere of Paul Moravec's The Shining at Minnesota Opera - Brian Mulligan has proved himself to be one bloody versatile Leading Man. Brian Mulligan (as Sweeney Todd). SFOpera. Photo, Cory Weaver "The Getty is fun-mad, fun-insane," said Brian. "The Deb ...
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Huffington Post article
Met Opera: The New 'Tosca' Is Back Onstage And It's Still Shocking
Huffington Post - over 3 years
The Metropolitan Opera returned its controversial production of Puccini's Tosca to the stage last night with Patricia Racette in the title role and Roberto Alagna singing her artist lover, Cavaradossi. Whatever else one may say about Luc Bondy's staging, and opera buffs have said a lot since its premiere four years ago, it is still a shocker. The Bondy version of Puccini's popular opera opened the Met season in 2009 and became an immediate touchstone of Peter Gelb's stewardship as the company's general manager. The production was excoriated by critics as a travesty and lauded by supporters as visionary. There was and still is no middle ground. Opera fans around the world will get a chance to decide for themselves which side they're on when the Met simulcasts a performance on Nov. 9 as part of its Live in HD series to some 1,900 theaters in 64 countries. It probably did not help endear the Bondy staging to the hearts of Met audiences that it replaced a 1985 production by Franco Ze ...
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Huffington Post article
You Bet Your Life!
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Are you a compulsive gambler? Does the mere thought of betting on outcomes, guessing the odds, or "shorting" a stock make you cream your Goldman Sachs designer label jeans? If the mere suggestion of playing Truth or Dare? gives you an erection, your favorite musical is probably 1950's Guys and Dolls. Where else can you hear a driven, pulsing anthem to gambling like "Luck Be A Lady" (sung here by Brandon O'Neill in a 2011 production of the Frank Loesser musical at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre)? Some people simply can't resist the chance to make a bet or the challenge to meet one. Whether that bet involves traveling around the world in 80 days or transforming a poor Cockney flower girl into a woman of poise who could charm the Queen of England, no prize is as delicious as the satisfaction of planning one's triumph. * * * * * * * * * * Let me be frank: I had a blast watching the new French comedy, Populaire, for reasons that might elude most viewers. In the late 1950s ...
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Huffington Post article
Bondage and Leather and San Francisco Opera's <em>Mephistopheles</em>
Huffington Post - over 3 years
I was waiting for my photographer friend Tracy Johnston to meet me at San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House for a Sunday-matinee performance of Arrigo Boito's 1875 opera Mephistopheles (Mefistofele). It was a fine, sunny day, and Tracy was going to join me after taking pictures at the Folsom Street Fair. If you've never heard of it, this is an annual, perhaps only-in-San-Francisco celebration. As the organizers described this year's event, "Dressed in leather harnesses, or galloping with Edwardian carriages and the most fabulous of horses, or in latex and rubber, or in sequins, beads, and feathers, or swinging suspended on hooks, or dancing in the cage, or with the skimpiest of outfits, or with nothing at all, we came together." I happened to mention Tracy's plans to someone and laughed, saying, "So she's going to experience the widest range of what San Francisco has to offer today." The woman arched an eyebrow and said to me, "Have you seen this opera?" Now that I have, I tota ...
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Huffington Post article
Patricia Racette Comes To The Rescue At San Francisco Opera
Huffington Post - over 3 years
NEW YORK — For Patricia Racette, this was already shaping up as a memorable year at the San Francisco Opera, opening the season in Boito's "Mefistofele" and returning in June to headline two more productions. Then, suddenly, along came "Dolores Claiborne." Less than a month ago, the American soprano agreed to take on an almost unheard-of challenge – rescuing the world-premiere production of Tobias Picker's opera based on the Stephen King novel. Mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick, for whom it was written, withdrew at the last minute, and David Gockley, the company's director, appealed to Racette to step in. "I took as thorough a look at the score as I could, and it's fiendishly difficult," Racette said in a telephone interview this week. "But I'm a quick study, and I thought, gosh, it'll be to the wire, but I think I can do this if I just pull one of my turbo-sessions." Her partner, mezzo-soprano Beth Clayton, bought a 4-foot electronic keyboard for their apartment, and they used that to ...
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Huffington Post article
Second Chances
Wall Street Journal - over 3 years
Soprano Patricia Racette has made a career of second chances, including her latest, the title role in San Francisco Opera's "Dolores Claiborne."
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Wall Street Journal article
San Francisco Opera Opens 2013 Season with Boito's 'Mephistopheles'
Huffington Post - over 3 years
The Opening Night Gala this past Friday night at San Francisco Opera was nothing short of a fiery blast. And given the overflow of opulent scarlet couture among the throng of Fashionistas, it was a hellzapoppin' frolic from here to Kingdom Come. Arrigo Boito's Mephistopheles is a perfect vehicle to head SF Opera's 2013/14 Season. Designed by Robert Carsen, the production was last seen in 1994 and holds up fantastically well. It is a shiny reminder of why blue skies and fluffy clouds stand for Heaven and red lights on rippling red fabric says the Prince of Darkness is standing nearby. Conducted by Nicola Luisotti and as re-created by director Laurie Feldman, this three-and-a-half hour date with the Devil is packed with opportunity for its principal singers and multi-varied choral ensemble. Grammy Award winning bass, Ildar Abdrazakov is stunning in the title role. The voice is bright and burly - and so is Mr. Abdrazakov. He is charismatic, dramatically clever and (with red tails in the ...
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Huffington Post article
Skulls, Scores, Swains and Swells - Only SF Opera Tells
Huffington Post - over 3 years
They ate chocolate skulls at the opening of the San Francisco Opera.  There. Now that we have confirmed that the opera opening is a ritualized tribal gathering, we can let you in on its secrets: the grandiloquent greetings, the frothy frocks, the swaggering swains, the delectable delights. And the magnificent main event of Mephistophelean music. And let you know that good prevailed over evil. Guests were welcomed to a green-carpeted City Hall adorned by celebrity party personage Colin Cowie. This was Cowie's first turn as decormeister for this particular party, and he made sure to summon a spectacle. Following the theme of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," the rotunda of City Hall was bathed in emerald light, ringed with trellises and topiaries and adorned with all manner of flora and feathers. In the North Light Court, all-too-lifelike garden statues held their pose and human butterflies flitted amongst the air kisses and champagne bubbles. Cocktails and dinner were design ...
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Huffington Post article
Zheng Cao memorial at Opera House
San Francisco Chronicle - over 3 years
Zheng Cao memorial at Opera House The basement restaurant area of the War Memorial Opera House was all but empty on Monday afternoon, save for a couple of staff members standing at the bar. Upstairs, a couple of hundred people, including friends, family and San Francisco Opera patrons, listened as musical greats Frederica von Stade, Patricia Racette and Jake Heggie paid tribute to Zheng Cao, captured in an arms-wide gesture on the beach in a sunlit photo at the back of the Opera House stage. After his death from a heart attack, she briefly thought she'd never sing again, but her voice - an exquisitely nuanced, emotionally expansive and pliant mezzo-soprano - wouldn't be silenced. A bowRacette was among the sopranos with whom Zheng performed Puccini's classic, and on Monday, as Racette concluded a dazzling "Un bel di," she turned toward the back of the stage and bowed first to the smiling photograph of her colleague and friend before bowing to the audience. Man ...
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San Francisco Chronicle article
'Claiborne' debut in 'restrained' Opera season
San Francisco Chronicle - about 4 years
'Claiborne' debut in 'restrained' Opera season "Dolores Claiborne," based on the Stephen King novel that became a 1995 film starring Kathy Bates and Jennifer Jason Leigh, will feature mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick in the title role, along with soprano Elizabeth Futral. The new production of "Dutchman," the work of director and designer Petrika Ionesco, will feature bass-baritone Greer Grimsley in the title role, with soprano Petra Maria Schnitzer as Senta. Dolores Claiborne (Tobias Picker) - Dolora Zajick, Elizabeth Futral, Susannah Biller, Wayne Tigges, Greg Fedderly, Joel Sorensen; George Manahan, conductor; James Robinson, director; Allen Moyer, set designer; James Schuette, costume designer; Christopher Akerlind, lighting designer; Greg Emetaz, projection designer; Ian Robertson, chorus director. The Flying Dutchman (Richard Wagner) - Greer Grimsley, Petra Maria Schnitzer, Ian Storey, Kristinn Sigmundsson; Patrick Summers, conductor; Petrika Ionesco, director ...
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San Francisco Chronicle article
George Heymont: Must It Always Be a Man's World?
Huffington Post - over 4 years
If the past six months proved anything about the battle between the sexes, it was that many men (though they may be married to women) have absolutely no idea how women think or feel. Their calls for transvaginal ultrasounds, idiotic notions about "legitimate rape," insistence on defunding Planned Parenthood, and the ease with which cretins like Rush Limbaugh attacked Sandra Fluke (or with which Mitt Romney assumed that women only voted for President Obama so they could get the "gift" of free birth control) made it clear that married men don't know much about their wives. Or, for that matter, single women. Conservatives like Bill O'Reilly want to take the country back to the 1950s, when the perceived ideal was a family headed by Ward and June Cleaver. Unfortunately, what these men really want is to travel even further back in time to the early 1900s. In the following scene from Act I of Hello, Dolly! Horace Vandergelder explains why he's planning to get married again: ...
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Huffington Post article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Patricia Racette
  • 2016
    Age 51
    In 2016, Racette made her role debut in Poulenc's La voix humaine for her first appearance at the Chicago Opera Theater.
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  • 2012
    Age 47
    She most recently sang the role of Cio-Cio San at the house in 2012.
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  • 2009
    Age 44
    She most recently returned to the house to portray the role of Leslie Crosby in the premiere of Paul Moravec's The Letter in 2009.
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  • 2006
    Age 41
    She was also on the cover of the February 2006 edition of the Lesbian News and was featured in the September 2002 edition of The Advocate.
    More Details Hide Details She has been known to silence critics with her pointed responses. Although a perfectionist known for exacting standards, she dislikes analysis of opera in strictly technical terms, insisting on asking "But how does it make you feel?" She and her partner, fellow opera singer Beth Clayton, whom she met in 1997, travel about 10 months of the year. For the other two months, they live in a home which they built in the middle of the desert on the outskirts of Santa Fe, New Mexico. In June 2002, she was featured as the cover story for the Opera News magazine and requested that the magazine include her public coming-out statement. She stated that her sexuality and her long-term relationship with Clayton were a very important part of who she is as an artist.
  • 2005
    Age 40
    Racette and Clayton were married in the summer of 2005.
    More Details Hide Details The subject of Racette's homosexuality has been covered in numerous other magazine interviews and articles since.
    In 2005 she made her first appearance at the Los Angeles Opera as Cio-Cio San.
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    Among the many appearances she has made with the company are, Mathilde in William Tell (1997), the title role in Luisa Miller (2000), Violetta (2001), the title role in Leoš Janáček's Jenůfa (2001), Desdemona in Otello (2002), Liù (2002), and several performance of Cio-Cio San from 2005 through 2008 among other roles.
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    In 2005 she notably portrayed Roberta Alden in the world premiere of Tobias Picker's An American Tragedy.
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  • 2000
    Age 35
    In 2000 Racette made her debut at La Scala as Ellen Orford and her debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Jenůfa.
    More Details Hide Details She has since returned to Chicago numerous time to portray such roles as Mimì, Marguerite in Charles Gounod's Faust, Micaëla, Liù, and Madame Lidoine.
  • 1998
    Age 33
    She took over the latter part in 1998 after the firing of Angela Gheorghiu and the cancellation of Renée Fleming.
    More Details Hide Details In the 2000s she has added the roles Alice Ford in Falstaff, Blanche de la Force in Dialogues of the Carmelites, Elizabeth of Valois in Don Carlo, and Nedda in Pagliacci to her Met repertoire.
  • 1996
    Age 31
    In 1996 Racette had a major critical success portraying the title role in the world premiere of Tobias Picker's Emmeline for her debut at the Santa Fe Opera.
    More Details Hide Details She has since returned to that house frequently, portraying Violetta (1997), Blanche de la Force (1999), Tatyana in Eugene Onegin (2002), the title role in Káťa Kabanová (2003), Amelia Grimaldi in Simon Boccanegra (2004), and Liù in Turandot (2005).
  • 1995
    Age 30
    She made her debut at the house on March 4, 1995 with Mary Mills as Mimì, Luis Lima as Rodolfo, as Marcello, and John Fiore conducting.
    More Details Hide Details Her performance was so well received she was immediately engaged to sing the role of Mimì in subsequent seasons, and has remained an annual performer at the Met since her debut. Her popularlity at the house grew rapidly and she began to add more roles to her Met repertoire in the late 1990s, including Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes, Antonia/Stella in Les contes d'Hoffmann, and Violetta in La traviata.
  • 1994
    Age 29
    In 1994 Racette was offered a contract by the Metropolitan Opera to perform the role of Musetta in La bohème for performance in the spring of 1995.
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    Although she received good reviews for these performances, it was not until she won the Marian Anderson Award in 1994, an award which also helped further the careers of Sylvia McNair (1990), Denyce Graves (1991), and Nathan Gunn (1996), that she drew wider attention in the opera world.
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    She also continued her relationship with the San Francisco Opera, portraying Margherita in Mefistofele in 1994 and made her first international appearances that year at the Vienna State Opera and the Welsh National Opera.
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  • 1993
    Age 28
    In the summer of 1993 she made her debut with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni.
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    She sang one more role with the company in the spring of 1993, Micaëla in Carmen.
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  • 1992
    Age 27
    In 1992 Racette joined the roster of singers at the New York City Opera, making her debut with the company as Musetta in La bohème.
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  • 1991
    Age 26
    In 1991 she was made an Adler Fellow at the San Francisco Opera which led to several more performances at the SFO over the next two years, including Micaëla in Carmen, Dunyasha in War and Peace, the First Lady in The Magic Flute, and Mimì in La bohème.
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  • 1989
    Age 24
    She made her debut with the San Francisco Opera in 1989 as the voice of the priestess in Aida.
    More Details Hide Details She sang several more roles with the company while in the Merola program, including Alice Ford in Falstaff, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, Sister Osmina in Suor Angelica, and Freia and Helmwige in The Ring Cycle.
  • 1988
    Age 23
    After graduating from college, Racette made her professional opera debut in 1988 in Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly with the San Francisco Western Opera Theater and traveled with the company for performances in New York City.
    More Details Hide Details Critic Bernard Holland said of her performance "Patricia Racette was an especially compelling actress as Cio-Cio San, and it was acting achieved through music – just as opera performance should be. Yet Miss Racette has a soprano voice that, while musically and technically reliable, is never terribly luxurious in sound."
  • 1965
    Age 0
    Born in 1965.
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