Magazine article Opera Canada

In Memoriam

Magazine article Opera Canada

In Memoriam

Article excerpt

PATRICIA KERN

July 14, 1927-October 19, 2015

The preeminent mezzo and voice teacher Patricia Kern passed away peacefully in Toronto at the age of 88. Born in Swansea, Wales, Kern grew up during the Great Depression. To support her family, from the age of six to 12 she sang and danced in variety music halls. From 1949 to 1952, she studied with Gwynn Parry Jones at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. She made her debut in 1952 with the Arts Council Grand Opera Group, singing Cherubino and Dorabella in abridged versions. In 1959, she joined the Sadler's Wells Opera (now English National Opera), where she remained for 13 seasons. Kern was also engaged by opera houses on both sides of the Atlantic--among them the Glyndebourne Festival, Scottish Opera, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Grand Theatre de Geneve, Washington Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Stratford Festival and the Canadian Opera Company.

She is particularly remembered for her Angelina in La cenerentola, Rosina in U barbiere di Siviglia, Isolier in Le Comte Ory and Isabella in L'Italiana in Algeri. In the Grove Dictionary of Opera, English critic Alan Blyth praises her "interpretation, at once mischievous and sensitive, of Cenerentola, Rosina, Isolier, Isabella," describing her voice as "smooth and creamy, imaginative of phrase" and her stage personality as "engaging and sympathetic." She made her Canadian debut at Stratford as Angelina in 1968. In late career when she was well into her 60s, she was admired for her portrayal of Mrs. …

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