Bravo! Vail Gala on July 16 features exclusive Patricia Racette performance
Patricia Racette isn’t the first opera star to crossover to other non-operatic genres. The “people’s diva” Renee Fleming’s indie rock album, “Dark Hope,” debuted in 2010 with the Muse song “Endlessly” sung in a huskier tone than her famously clear soprano voice. Luciano Pavarotti did a series of fundraising concerts about 20 years ago called “Pavarotti and Friends” featuring the great tenor singing with Celine Dion, Mariah Carey and the Spice Girls.
Racette is probably most famous for her Italian operatic roles including Violetta in “La Traviata” and Mimi and Musette in “La Boheme” and Cio-Cio San in “Madama Butterfly.” But, when she appears at the Bravo! Vail Gala on Sunday, she isn’t singing opera. The show is called “Diva on Detour.” It’s an applicable name for a cabaret show performed by a world renowned opera star. But, this soprano superstar isn’t simply diverting from her operatic comfort zone to perform American classics. Jazz vocals are where she started.
Opera takes hold
Racette attended my alma mater, the University of North Texas, for its renowned jazz division famous for its Grammy Award-winning One O’Clock Lab Band. Her intent was to study jazz vocals. As the story goes, there was no jazz vocal degree offered at the time, so Racette enrolled in classical voice classes. It didn’t take long for opera to take hold of her passion.
In her senior year, she won an audition to enter the San Francisco Opera’s training program, Merola, which led to her San Francisco Opera debut in 1989 and eventually the role of Musetta in “La Boheme” at The Metropolitan Opera in 1995. Her career has taken her to major operatic stages around the world. This past year, she performed the title role of Salome for The Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera and Pittsburgh Opera.
Racette returns to her roots in “Diva on Detour,” which includes classic torch songs by Gershwin, Cole Porter and Edith Piaf in a cabaret style where the stage is positioned a few feet from dining tables. Racette is accompanied by her pianist, Craig Terry, in a duo that has mastered this show in venues all over the country.
Bravo! Vail is excited to present a new gala format for its 30th season by infusing music into every aspect of the evening. Bravo! Vail is 30 years young this season and the annual gala will be a celebration like never before — featuring this exclusive performance with opera star Patricia Racette — all with the purpose of raising money to support music education programs.
Jennifer Teisinger is the executive director of the Bravo! Vail Music Festival, which runs through Aug. 4. For more information about the season and to purchase tickets, visit bravovail.org or call 877-812-5700.