Patricia Racette

Patricia Racette has received rave reviews for her recent performances of Mefistofele and Dolores Claiborne at San Francisco Opera.
    On Mefistofele
"Racette is a wonder. Being called “a singing actress” is usually a way around maligning the vocal performance. There is not a whisper of that about Racette: She sings fabulously and becomes the role on stage — from the simple country girl to the tragic victim to the glamorous Helen of Troy."
San Francisco Classical Voice

"The true star of the performance, unsurprisingly, was soprano Patricia Racette, whose Margherita shifted effortlessly from girlish naivete to haunted remorse on her deathbed, with both scenes shaped by precise and pointed phrasing."
San Francisco Chronicle

    On Dolores Claiborne:
"Patricia Racette not only hit it out of the ballpark, if you will, she slammed it beyond McCovey Cove and landed it on Treasure island. Never could we have guessed she first set sight on the score late August and then worked thirteen hours a day to master the intricacies of the music. She's on stage most of the two hour performance, singing harrowingly difficult lines, with unsteady rhythms and jarring intervals, often contradicted by the orchestra; and she was as smooth, as in control as if she was doing Butterfly… And the acting icing sits on top of the singing cake: she was a convincing maiden in and as convincing as a tired old housekeeper last night.

"War Memorial Opera House is a house of singing, and oh, what singing there is in Dolores Claiborne, composer Tobias Picker's new opera based on the bestselling Stephen King novel. In case you've had your head under a blanket, its star is soprano Patricia Racette, who stepped into the title role just over three weeks ago -- an emergency move -- and sang like a house on fire at Wednesday's opening... In record time, Racette -- who took over the role of Dolores after mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick pulled out because of health problems -- has mastered the thorny 245-page score, which frequently pushes her soprano down to sub-basement levels. No problem. Wrapped in a shapeless winter coat, she passionately claims Dolores as a working-class hero, albeit a complicated one"
San Jose Mercury News

"The ovation Racette received after the final curtain from a large audience — including Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and numerous composers, including Jake Heggie — came after her stepping into the long, difficult role weeks before the premiere when Dolora Zajick withdrew, and singing faultlessly and marvelously through the opera's two-hour length. This was also the night after one of her numerous Mefistofele appearances, all in glorious, unstinting voice, with convincing stage presence, and her usual excellent diction, so important in an English-language opera.  Watching a glamorous opera star become the frumpy, downtrodden, abused, housekeeper, who tries desperately to save her daughter from incest would be noteworthy, if you had the time to observe the transformation, rather than almost instantly accept the presence of Dolores on stage, and forget about Racette ... until the final curtain"
San Francisco Classical Voice

"Racette saved the day by stepping into this difficult part only weeks ago, following the surprise withdrawal of mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick, the intended lead. Reports from the opera house, including Racette’s own published remarks, suggest that not many changes were made to the character’s part to adapt it for a soprano. Indeed, while the music occasionally dips a bit low for her, the writing otherwise fits Racette like a glove And so does the character itself. Racette is known as much for the intensity of her dramatic involvement as for the considerable beauty of her voice, and she turns in a brilliant performance as Dolores. Whether stubbornly coping with her aged and feeble employer, Vera Donovan, finally standing up to her abusive husband, or tenderly asking after Selena’s evident misery, Racette makes the character’s strength, vulnerability, and profane anger real and believable. She sounds terrific as well, whether in a long-breathed, wistful aria remembering a happier time in her life or singing the jagged music of her rage at Joe or Vera."
The Classical Review

"Racette sang faultlessly and marvelously through the opera's two hours, even after making one of numerous appearances in “Mefistofele” the night before. In glorious voice, holding nothing back, she also impressed with convincing stage presence and her usual excellent diction. The instant transformation of a glamorous opera star into the frumpy, downtrodden and abused housekeeper, trying desperately to save her daughter from incest, is a theatrical coup."
SF Examiner

"The cast was superb. Racette, replacing the originally scheduled Dolora Zajick (who withdrew from the production in August, by mutual agreement with the company), summoned her apparently limitless vocal and dramatic resources in the title role. Looking distinctly un-glamorous in a dowdy brown coat and head scarf (costumes by James Schuette) and singing with plush, expansive tone, the soprano created a rough-hewn character of pathos, intelligence and a beleaguered nobility, one that recalled nothing so much as her brilliant Jenufa for this company in 2001"
Opera News