“Timbre, diction, intonation, everything approaches perfection. And combining those virtues with her naturally intense gifts as an actress, Petibon opens up our emotions to an experience of both heaven and hell.”
Le Monde, 13 December 2013
“She achieves a tragic nobility and a profoundly moving sense of sincerity.”
Forum Opera, 24 April 2014
The soprano Patricia Petibon was born in Montargis, France. Already interested in the piano and fine arts as a child, she earned a bachelor’s degree in musicology at the Paris Conservatoire and then went on to study singing there with Professor Rachel Yakar, graduating with a first prize in 1995. She was discovered by the acclaimed American conductor and harpsichordist William Christie and consequently often worked with his orchestra Les Arts Florissants, appearing with Christie at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, La Scala in Milan, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires and the Wigmore Hall in London. Patricia Petibon has been awarded three Victoires de la musique classique – as “Best Young Talent” in 1998 and as “Best Opera Singer” in 2001 and 2003.
In 1996 she made a successful debut at the Opéra de Paris in Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie, and subsequently appeared in a variety of roles including Blonde in Mozart’s Entführung aus dem Serail, Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos and Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier, Norina in Don Pasquale and Olympia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann. Subsequently she performed at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein; the opera houses in Lyon, Nancy, Toulouse and Strasbourg; following with debuts at the Opéra Bastille in Paris in Massenet’s Manon, the Zurich Opera as Blonde and the Vienna State Opera as Olympia and Sophie.
Since then her major roles have included Camille in Hérold’s Zampa at the Opéra Comique in Paris; Duchess Carolina in the zarzuela Luisa Fernanda by Federico Moreno Torroba at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna alongside Plácido Domingo; Despina in Così fan tutte at the Salzburg Festival; Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at the Opéra Bastille; Susanna in Figaro at the Aix-en-Provence Festival; Gilda in Rigoletto at the Bavarian State Opera; the title role in Berg’s Lulu in Geneva, Barcelona and the Salzburg Festival; Blanche in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and in Vienna; as well as performances of Mozart’s Mitridate in Munich and Lucio Silla in Barcelona. In March 2014, she won great acclaim in the world premiere of Philippe Boesmans’ opera Au monde at the Brussels Monnaie (“Patricia Petibon has become France’s most accomplished singing actress” – Financial Times).
The soprano has also performed numerous Baroque opera roles, including Ginevra in Handel’s Ariodante in Geneva and at the Aix-en-Provence Festival; Phani and Zima in Rameau’s Les Indes galantes under William Christie at the Opéra Bastille; Dalinda in Ariodante conducted by Marc Minkowski; and Amor in Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice under Sir John Eliot Gardiner at the reopening of the Théâtre du Châtelet. A particular success was her performance as Zelmira in Haydn’s Armida at the Vienna Musikverein, with Cecilia Bartoli and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. She has since worked frequently with Harnoncourt, appearing under his baton as Mademoiselle Silberklang in Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor in Salzburg and in Vienna’s Musikverein; Giunia in Mozart’s Lucio Silla at the Theater an der Wien; Angelica in Haydn’s Orlando paladino at the Styriarte Festival in Graz; and Worldliness in Mozart’s Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots in Vienna, Lucerne and Salzburg.
Her concert appearances in recent seasons included Carmina Burana in Munich under Daniel Harding; concert performances of Bernstein’s Candide with the Munich Philharmonic under Kristjan Järvi; Poulenc’s Gloria and Stabat Mater with the Orchestre de Paris under Paavo Järvi; Ravel’s Shéhérazade with the Berlin Staatskapelle under Michael Gielen; Baroque arias with the Ensemble Amaryllis at the Festival d’Ambronay; a Spanish programme with the Orquesta Nacional de España in Madrid and Vienna under Josep Pons; her Baroque programme Nouveau Monde on tour in France, Switzerland and Germany; Britten’s Les Illuminations in Munich under Ivor Bolton; Debussy’s Le Martyre de saint Sébastien in Vienna under Alain Altinoglu as well as Mozart and Haydn arias in Copenhagen under Andrea Marcon. She is also frequently heard as a recitalist.
Her plans for 2014–15 include Manon in Vienna, Teresa in Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini in Amsterdam, Gilda in Munich, Boesman’s Au monde in Paris, Poulenc’s Stabat Mater under Alain Altinoglu in Vienna, Ravel’s Shéhérazade under Bertrand de Billy in Dresden and a European tour with her new French recital programme La Belle Excentrique.
Patricia Petibon has been an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist since 2008. Her debut album, Amoureuses – arias by Mozart, Haydn and Gluck with Concerto Köln and Daniel Harding – was released in autumn 2008 and won 2009’s BBC Music Magazine Award for “Best Opera Album”. She is also to be seen and heard on the DVD A Mozart Gala from Salzburg, which features such renowned Deutsche Grammophon stars as Anna Netrebko and Magdalena Kožená. In 2010 Deutsche Grammophon released her Italian Baroque album Rosso with Marcon and Carmina Burana from Munich under Harding. Her releases in 2011 included Melancolia, an album of Spanish arias and songs with Josep Pons conducting the Spanish National Orchestra, which they took on an autumn tour of France and Spain in 2011, and (on DVD) her acclaimed interpretation of Berg’s Lulu in Olivier Py’s production, filmed live at the Liceu in Barcelona. 2012 saw the release of Nouveau Monde, Baroque arias and songs from England, France, Spain and Latin America, with Marcon directing La Cetra. 2013 brought Poulenc choral works with Paavo Järvi conducting the Orchestre de Paris. Her latest album – scheduled for release in September 2014 – is La Belle Excentrique, a recital of French songs ranging from Fauré, Satie, Hahn and Poulenc to Manuel Rosenthal and Léo Ferré.