Friday, November 11, 2011

Patricia Racette Sings Cabaret at the Winspear Opera House

"Last night afforded opera fans the last chance to see a Dallas Opera presentation until 2012 — well, sort of. Soprano Pat Racette, who was supposed to portray Katya Kabonova this month before the production was canceled, still managed to play the Winspear in a special 70-minute cabaret set. ('In honor of Janacek, I have translated all the lyrics into Czech,' she joked.) Although she said she wouldn’t be singing opera, just classics, she couldn’t resist the chance to turn on the pipes big-time for “La Vie en Rose,” which was met with thunderous applause. For those who sniff at the overblown style of opera, Racette could probably make a convert of ya. She was jokey and easy-going onstage with a torch singer’s facility. She also was refreshingly open. She someone from the audience yelled out, 'Is Beth here?,' Racette didn’t hesitate to give shout-outs to her wife, mezzo Beth Clayton, and her in-laws, who were all in the hall. She even played around a bit with Gershwin, changing the lyric 'I got my man' to 'I got my gal' for one verse. The set, consisted of several medleys and three encores, ran the gamut from Piaf to the novelty song “To Keep My Love Alive,” all met with warmth by the audience, populated with season subscribers. The worst thing about the evening? Being reminded that we would not get to see her do Katya. Here’s to hoping the TDO adds her back into the mix in a season real soon." [Source]

"Vocally, Racette was stellar. She easily moves from her chest voice to her diva range without a break. In fact, the change of register is barely noticeable unless she decides to make a point of it for effect. She can carry the chest voice way up into the top of a tenor's range and teeters on basso profundo territory for the bottom notes. It is really quite remarkable and as rare a vocal ability as Yma Sumac's stratospheric high C above high C, but not nearly as painful to hear. The voice is rich and creamy from top to bottom and has a mellow, as opposed to strident, spinto sound that makes her ideal for Puccini's distraught heroines such as Tosca and Butterfly. It is little wonder that she is singing both of these roles at the Met this season. When she put down the microphone and sang "La Vie en Rose" in her operatic voice, she stunned the audience." [Source]

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