The San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) will present internationally renowned soprano Patricia Racette with an honorary doctorate at the institution’s annual commencement ceremony on May 19, 2017. Racette, highly sought after for her dramatic interpretations of roles both iconic and new, is known the world over for her lyrical expressivity and dynamism. She has performed on the stages of La Scala, the Metropolitan Opera, and the Royal Opera House, among many others. She is also the recipient of the prized Richard Tucker Award and the Opera News Award.
“Patricia Racette is one of the great artists of our time,” says SFCM President David H. Stull. “She illuminates each role with a powerful, dramatic persona that blends seamlessly with a spectacular voice, offering us the unique and transcendent experience of true opera. We are honored to recognize Ms. Racette for her exceptional work and are delighted to have her with us for commencement.”
Each year, SFCM awards an artist of exceptional merit an honorary doctorate, a tradition which began in 1974 with the presentation of the award to violinist Isaac Stern, a conservatory alumnus. Other past recipients have included Michael Tilson Thomas ’12, Marilyn Horne ’00, and Leon Fleisher ’90, as well as other distinguished musicians. Last year, the honorary doctorate presented at commencement was awarded to pianist Garrick Ohlsson.
Click here to view the full list of past recipients of the honorary doctorate.
Patricia Racette visited SFCM as recently as January where she held an event (“Seminar in Integrative Artistry”) with voice students that focused on aspects of vocal performance that ranged from technique and health to repertoire and interpretation. Passionate about the future of opera, Racette conducts master classes and workshops regularly in addition to her performing around the world.
Racette is known for groundbreaking roles in contemporary opera, including works by eminent composers Tobias Picker, Paul Moravec, and Carlisle Floyd. She is equally at home with time-tested roles such as those in Puccini’s Tosca and Madama Butterfly and Britten’s Peter Grimes. Her portrayal of Madama Butterfly remains one of the most successful broadcasts in the history of the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series.
Racette continues to appear regularly at the world’s most acclaimed opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and the Santa Fe Opera. Internationally, she has appeared at the Royal Opera House, Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu, the English National Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Teatro alla Scala, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Teatro Comunale di Firenze, Opera di Genova, Bayerische Staatsoper, Vienna Staatsoper, and the Saito Kinen Festival.
On the concert platform, Racette has appeared with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Houston Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Dusseldorfer Philharmoniker, and the Cologne Philharmonic.
A native of New Hampshire, Patricia Racette earned her Bachelor of Music from North Texas State University before joining the Merola Opera Program and Adler Fellowship at San Francisco Opera. In addition to the Richard Tucker Award and Opera News Award, she has also received the Marian Anderson Award and the Merola Distinguished Alumni Award.