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Subject: Re: Patricia Racette to Replace Catherine Naglestad in Metropolitan Opera's SALOME
From: "G. Paul Padillo" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:G. Paul Padillo
Date:Tue, 22 Nov 2016 17:30:19 -0500

text/plain (99 lines)

Wherever she’s singing the role she’s garnering some of the best reviews 
she’s had in years.  We had her here in Maine with the Portland Symphony 
for the Final Scene earlier this year and she was tremendous.  Other 
reviews follow from San Antonio Opera, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and 
her recent performances with Pittsburgh Opera.  

Opera San Antonio:

“Racette proved to have the right mix in the opening performance Jan. 8, 
delivering the goods with intelligent musicianship and a more robust, silver-
flecked instrument than she normally displays.  Any concerns about 
bringing her brighter sound to what amounts to a Wagnerian role generally 
were put to rest. Salome’s vocal range covers more than two octaves, from 
the top of the treble staff down to G below middle C. Racette’s ringing high 
notes were well supported, while most of the lower phrases were rich and 
mahogany-hued. Some lines were mere whispers, others – especially when 
she reacted to Jochanaan’s rebuffs – were almost shrieking. Later, as she 
wheedled Herod to give her the gruesome reward, her dramatic pacing was 
carefully considered as she wove a tapestry of ever-increasing madness 
that was downright chilling.

Full article at:

Chicago Symphony Orchestra 

The evening found Racette in excellent vocal estate. There was some minor 
slippage of pitch in the early scenes perhaps, but also a luminous thread of 
silver in the timbre that worked beautifully in establishing the character's 
girlishness. (Strauss, it must be remembered, suggested the role to a 
number of sopranos more lyric in endowment than the Wagneriennes 
generally associated with the opera including, albeit with reduced 
orchestration, Elisabeth Schumann.)  Racette's skill with word-painting is 
formidable and she did marvelous things with the text, deploying a telling 
bite in her description of the "Schreckliche Dinge" Jochanaan voiced from 
his cistern, and a spun-sugar manipulation of Narraboth. Racette was 
clearly operating at maximum capacity in the final monologue, but 
evidenced no tonal spreading under pressure and maintained an attractive, 
fully supported sound throughout.

Full Review at:

Portland Symphony Orchestra

Racette's voice, with its Sills-like brightness is deceptive in its size, her 
silvery tone shining through the roles most difficult passages with ease. 
There is an enormous difference between singing with a full Strauss 
orchestra in the pit versus having the band onstage and at times I feared 
Moody would get carried away by the opportunity of showing the sheer 
sound-capacity of such an ensemble, particularly in the score's loudest 
sections. The soprano did get overpowered, not where one would think, but 
rather in some of the role's lower passages where she could still be heard, 
if just barely, as the orchestra roared with thunder. Some brakes, perhaps, 
should have been applied in such moments. The major climaxes however, 
held no such problems, with Racette's voice easily soaring, the high notes, 
bright, focused and secure. Her phrasing, nuance of text and belief in this 
music made me, now more than ever, wish to experience her in the 
complete role.

Full Review at:

Pittsburgh Opera:

Ms. Racette . . . at 51 . . . has the vocal stamina to get through sounding 
as fresh at the end as in her first lines, clear German diction, and the 
physical prowess to create an illusion of youth and give an unembarrassed 
flash of nudity at the end of her dance. The dance itself was a 
disappointing segment, weakly choreographed by Attack Theatre’s Michele 
de la Reza, but in every other way Ms. Racette proved herself one of 
today’s major protagonists of this challenging and arduous role.

Full Review at:

People will perhaps compare her unfavorably to some of the great 
interpreters of the role, but she's putting her stamp on it and garnering 
some fine reviews.  


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