ne felt the crackle of a strong artistic intelligence . . . this was a voice you wanted to hear and, even more, an artist you wanted to follow”, is how the New York Times has described mezzo-soprano Brenda Patterson, who is recognized as much for her artistic courage and inventiveness as for the beauty and warmth of her singular voice.
Previously in residence at the Hamburgische Staatsoper in Germany, she has sung most of the major roles for her voice type, such as Idamante, Octavian, Dorabella, Niklausse, Annio, Hänsel, Cherubino, and Rosina, and was on the roster of the Metropolitan Opera for seven seasons, singing and covering in several productions, including Rusalka (Wood Sprite), Lulu (Gymnasiast), Le Nozze di Figaro (Cherubino), and Iphigénie en Tauride (Diane).
A graduate of Juilliard (where she received the Taranow Prize in Voice) and Barnard College, she was the 2004 Winner of the Alice Tully Vocal Arts Debut Recital Competition in New York.
She recently made her Carnegie Hall debut with the American Symphony Orchestra (Elsbeth in Strauss's Feuersnot), and has sung at the Teatro alla Scala, Glimmerglass Opera, Opera Colorado, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Florida Grand Opera, among others.
Projects have included a solo show with the Gotham Chamber Opera and the Armitage Gone! dance troupe entitled Ariadne Unhinged, in which Opera Today described her as “electric”, and singing Bach with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and the Handel & Haydn Society, for which the New York Sun praised her as “a treasure among musicians”.
A champion of new music, Ms. Patterson has premiered over 30 vocal works, collaborating with ensembles such as Meridian Arts, the Aeolian Chamber Players, Antares, AXIOM, Huang Ruo's FIRE, and participating in new opera workshops such as New York City Opera's VOX, Opera America's New Works Showcase, and the HERE Arts Center's PROTOTYPE. She has performed in the NY Phil Biennale, with Alan Gilbert, in H.K. Gruber’s Gloria: A Pig Tale, and has recorded Su Lian Tan and Jamaica Kincaid’s Jamaica’s Songs for the ARSIS label.
Last summer Ms. Patterson was featured in Laura Kaminsky's As One with West Edge Opera, a role she is reprising at New Orleans Opera this Season.
The creator of a curriculum for vocal composers titled "The Composer's Voice", Ms. Patterson has presented classes on vocal writing at Juilliard and Mannes, and is an official consultant for Opera Philadelphia's composers in residence.
She is also a co-founder and the Director of Music for Victory Hall Opera in Charlottesville, VA (victoryhallopera.org), a pioneering new company formed around a core Ensemble of extraordinary singers.
Trouble in Tahiti
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
The Rape of Lucretia
Il Matrimonio Segreto
Orfeo ed Euridice
Iphigénie en Tauride
Roméo et Juliette
Philemon und Baucis
Hänsel und Gretel
The Diary of One Who Vanished
L’Incoronazione di Poppea
Così fan tutte
Le Nozze di Figaro
La Clemenza di Tito
Les Contes d’Hoffmann
Heloise and Abelard
Dialogues des Carmelites
Dido and Aeneas
L’Enfant et les Sortiléges
Il Barbiere di Siviglia
Il Turco in Italia
Down in the Valley
2nd Wood Sprite
Niklausse/ La Muse
“ . . . one felt the crackle of a strong artistic intelligence . . . . she was luminous . . . .The overall impression Ms. Patterson made, in her stunning black evening dress, was that this was a voice you wanted to hear and, even more, an artist you wanted to follow. “
“Mezzo-soprano Brenda Patterson delivers a winning performance as Cherubino.”
“Brenda Patterson sang the trouser role of Cherubino with a strong sense of phrasing and line . . . . In Acts 3 and 4 she looked spookily like Mr. Bieber, to comic effect.”
“Brenda Patterson nailed the role of Cherubino: she (playing a “he”) was fresh and believable during the introductory number, ‘Non so più’, and Patterson continued to perfectly play a timid, insecure adolescent, complete with affable facial expressions and awkward gestures.
“ . . . Brenda Patterson's dark-hued mezzo-soprano and delightfully cavalier interpretation of Stephano ensured her triumphant Opera Colorado debut”
“ . . . Brenda Patterson was light and charming as Stéphano, her "Que fais-tu" a highlight of the evening.”
“Romeo's page, Stefano (Brenda Patterson, a thrilling mezzo-soprano) comes looking for his master, singing an impudent tune . . .”
“ . . . talented dramatically and excellent vocally was Brenda Patterson (Rosette).”
“ . . . full of haughty verve as the cocotte Rosette [was Brenda Patterson].”
“ . . . The mezzo-soprano Brenda Patterson brings vocal warmth and, in welcome moments, a calming presence, playing a solo pig full of helpful commentary on the proceedings. ”
“Brenda Patterson—the title character on the May 11 performance of the Chamber Opera’s most recent production Ariadne Unhinged—created electric moments in this little theatre . . . extraordinarily well executed.”
“Brenda Patterson sang Alcina with both suppleness and drama . . . “
“Brenda Patterson [as Alcina] has the right imperious temperament and commanding voice . . .”
“Brenda Patterson’s densely focused mezzo is perfect .”
“Mezzo Brenda Patterson gave assertive and resonant vocal power to the role of the sorceress Alcina . . . particularly commanding . . .”
“Brenda Patterson contributed a magisterial presence . . .”
“Impressive also among the younger singers is mezzo Brenda Patterson’s dark, Persephone-like danger and allure as Alcina.”
“Brenda Patterson made an impressive showing in her Met debut as one of Rusalka’s playmates.”
“And the cast was strong even down to the bit parts . . . with two notable Wood Sprites: Brenda Patterson, very pleasant in her Met Debut as Sprite #2 . . .”
“Ms. Patterson sang it beautifully, richly, soulfully. She also sang it without pretentiousness, without any fuss. She simply let it out. Moreover, her technique seems utterly natural . . . Furthermore, she sang as though she believed what she was singing. . . .Her mastery was as clear in the recitatives as in the arias. . . .She was good in every particular, but the particulars were essentially unnoticeable. What I mean is, the particulars were beneath notice, because a) they could be taken for granted, and b) the whole was so good. Always, there was vocal focus, and an intelligence about text, and a mental certainty.”
“Patterson is the real McCoy: a genuine Bach singer, making her a treasure among musicians.”
“ … top-flight . . . compelling. In the end, a satisfying release with a deeper-than-usual take on the words-and-music question.”
“Brenda Patterson, a mezzo-soprano with an appealingly warm sound, gave the work a shapely reading that pointed up Ms. Agocs’s responsiveness to the texts.”
“Soon enough, however, we got to Brenda Patterson, the mezzo-soprano of the afternoon. What a revelation. Her instrument is juicy and beautiful, and her technique is rock-solid: She sings in the center of the center of any note. And she sings with taste, style, and intelligence. One had the impression of listening to - of discovering, in my case - a great singer. If there’s any justice, she will be rich and famous.”
“compelling and frequently astonishing . . . mezzo-soprano Brenda Patterson dominates the opera in the role of Orfeo. She maintains a dark vocal tone with carefully nuanced expression, and her “Che farò senza Euridice?” is nothing short of breathtaking. Patterson handles the demanding vocal runs of Act I and the tender melodies of Act II with equal elan and sensitivity.”
“ . . . she did full justice to the music, and cannot be praised too highly.”
“ . . . her astounding voice overwhelmed the room.”
“Voi che sapete” (Le Nozze di Figaro) - Mozart
Lyric Opera of Kansas City (piano dress rehearsal)
Öffne Lippen, Mund und Seele - Bach (3:05)
The Orchestra of St. Luke’s
grazioso (Jamaica’s Songs) - Tan (4:57)
David Bowlin, violin
Darrett Adkins, cello
Don Berman, piano
The Night In Silence (Apparition) - Crumb (3:04)
Lydia Brown, piano