Enjoying a career at the highest international level, Patricia Schuman began her career specializing in the Mozart repertoire, singing Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and Contessa Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro at the Metropolitan Opera with James Levine conducting; Ilia in Idomeneo at La Scala with Riccardo Muti; and Ilia and Pamina at Vienna State Opera, under the baton of Nikolaus Harnencourt. She made her debut at the Salzburg Festival as Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito, to much critical and popular acclaim. Since then, she has repeated the role at Covent Garden, Glyndebourne, Madrid, and Lyon.
In a continually expanding repertoire, Ms. Schuman debuted the role of Alice Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff at the Covent Garden; Rezia in Weber’s Oberon at the Flemish Opera; the title role in Schumann’s Genoveva with the Edinburgh Festival and Opera North; Blanche in Poulenc’s Les Dialogues des Carmélites with Rome Opera and Seattle Opera; Madeleine in Strauss’ Capriccio in Toulouse and the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier at the Pittsburgh Opera. She has sung the Puccini roles Liù in Turandot and Mimi in La Bohème in Zurich; the title role in Handel’s Agrippinain, Cologne; the title role in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppeain, Cologne and Bologna; and the role of The Commander in the world premiere of Philip Glass’ The Voyage at the Metropolitan Opera.
Recently, Ms. Schuman made her role debut as The Duchess in Thomas Ades’ Powder her Face with the Opera Company of Philadelphia to great critical acclaim. Preceding that, she appeared at the Glimmerglass Festival in a double bill as Estelle Oglethorpe in John Musto’s Later the Same Evening and as Carlotta O’Neill in a world premiere of A Blizzard at Marblehead Neck by Jeanine Tesori.
Ms. Schuman made her debut with the Houston Grand Opera in the title role of Florencia en el Amazonas by Daniel Catàn, which she also recorded for Albany Records. She can be seen on video as Poppea (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Donna Elvira(Don Giovanni) from the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, and Countess Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro) from Madrid Opera.
In the last few years, Ms. Schuman has concentrated on recital and chamber music. In January of 2013, she appeared with husband, David Pittsinger, in recital at the Essex Winter Series. Following that, she premiered a new oratorio, Letter from Italy, by composer Sarah Meneely-Kyder and Connecticut poet Nancy Meneely, led by Joseph d’Eugenio and the Greater Middletown Chorale.
Hailed as “a true contralto, with a big, deep, resonant projection that can fill a hall, “Heather Petrie is becoming a familiar voice throughout the Northeast.
This season’s highlights include Bach’s Mass in B minor with Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, Bach’s Magnificat and Vivaldi’s Gloria with Cappella Cantorum MasterWorks Chorus, and debuting the role of Octavian in Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier with the Connecticut Lyric Opera, with whom she performs regularly. As the alto soloist in the Verdi Requiem with Connecticut Virtuosi Orchestra, Heather was hailed as “the vocal star of the performance.”
She returned last season to debut the role of Mary in Wagner’s der Fliegende Holländer, and was alto soloist in Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater. In Manhattan, she performs frequently with Musica Sacra, the choir of St. Ignatius Loyola, and Voices of Ascension, and has also sung with the Holy Trinity Bach Vespers series, and at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. This past spring Heather made her Carnegie Hall debut with the American Symphony Orchestra, as alto soloist in Ernst Bloch’s Israel Symphony. At Symphony Space, she has given concert performances of Suor Angelica(La Zia Principessa) and Hänsel and Gretel (The Witch). Other opera roles include Larina in Eugene Onegin, Baba in The Medium, Miss Todd in the Old Maid and the Thief, Arnalta in L’incoronazione di Poppea, and Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro. She has also been a member of the chorus at both Bard Summerscape, and the Princeton Festival.
Heather is a founding member of the critically acclaimed, eight-voice treble group Etherea Vocal Ensemble and is prominently featured on both of their recordings, released by Delos. Their first CD, Ceremony of Carols, reached #4 on the Billboard Traditional Classical charts and quickly became an iTunes Best-Seller. Hymn to the Dawn, their sophomore release, contains world premiere recordings of Amy Beach, Rheinberger and Rossini pieces, among other classics. In Mendelssohn’s Drei Motetten, Heather “makes a quick but memorable solo contribution with her creamy contralto” (Opera News). Delos honored the group by highlighting them on their “40 Tracks for 40 Years” anniversary release, choosing Charles Gounod’s Noël, on which Heather is a soloist. Etherea made their Carnegie Hall debut on June 22 with harpist Grace Cloutier.
In addition to her solo and choral work, Heather has also performed extensively with her husband, guitarist and producer David Veslocki. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Voice from Bard College and a Master of Music in Opera Performance from SUNY Purchase Conservatory, and is a proud member of AGMA.