Sunday, March 18, 2012

Opera Naples' An Evening with Patricia Racette - An Evening and an Artist to Treasure


The audience greatly enjoyed Opera Naples'  "An Evening with Patricia Racette" at Moorings Presbyterian Church on Friday, giving her a well deserved standing ovation. Patricia's  lyric soprano voice-such a wonderful instrument- is so vibrantly expressive. Her voice's rich timbre is warmly inviting. Her interpretation and passion are perfect for bringing Puccini's and Verdi's dazzling arias,  and sensual torch songs alike, to vivid life. Very few singers give "goose bumps" with their singing, and Patricia gave welcome goose bumps, shivers  and ecstatic smiles to the enthusiastic audience!
Ms. Racette's voice enveloped the audience with the soaring grandeur of Puccini's Un Bel Di from Madama Butterfly and the  richness of coquette Musetta's waltz. She soulfully sang the Judy Garland favorite, "The Man that Got Away", and warmed the sanctuary with  a mezzo-sultry Edith Piaf torch classic.

  Patricia's career started in jazz, and she was then encouraged to excel in opera. Her internationally acclaimed talent is the distillation of years of training. I sat next to her proud father, Paul- we both beamed with pleasure at Patricia's inspired performance.
Paul and Patricia Racette
 Patricia's warm personality and quick wit were apparent as she chatted with guests at the reception. This Metropolitan Opera star is so refreshingly down to earth- no narcissistic diva! After this first appearance in Naples, the audience had just one word to say about Patricia and her superb talent-"Encore!" 
Opera Naples' Founder Steffanie Pearce and Patricia Racette
Sandi and Tom Moran, with Patricia Racette, center
Former Metropolitan Opera's Soprano Judith Blegen, Patricia Racette, and Former Metropolitan Opera Concertmaster
Raymond Gniewek 
Patricia Racette will have her first CD out this Spring.

The next day, Patricia gave a two hour Master Class for FGCU and Opera Naples voice students at the beautiful FGCU Bower School of Music. She actively engages students with positive criticism. She even kicked off her heels for a hand to hand tug of war with students while they sang, to have them use certain muscles while singing. It works!
Though some baritone and tenor students could play defensive linemen, outweighing her by over a hundred pounds, she winningly got her points across, gaining several hard fought yards in the process!

    I dated a coloratura soprano for several years, and treasured attending her lessons with her talented voice teacher. Seek out a voice teacher and student, and see the hard work and practice that goes into "nailing" an aria. Patricia eschews the "park and bark" style of some who sit or stand  statue-like as they sing. She encourages students to feel the passion of the vibrant Italian and French languages and cultures, and to move expressively and purposefully about the stage. When one very talented  student "guessed" about aspects of  his aria's character and what the role entailed, Patricia made it clear that delving into one's character is a necessity, and "guessing" has little role in a reply! Teaching with kindness and swift wit; her lessons are effectively learned. You can't hide or give less than your best on her stage.  
Opera Tampa Pianist Dan Gettinger with Patricia Racette
To paraphrase the lyrics of "Not a Day Goes By," may Patricia's voice continue to "get better and stronger, deeper and nearer, richer and clearer", with every "blessed day."
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