Soprano Patricia Schuman to Make Her Role Debut as the Duchess in Powder Her Face

Internationally renowned soprano Patricia Schuman will step in for Nancy Gustafson as the Duchess of Argyll in Opera Philadelphia’s June 2013 Company Premiere of Powder Her Face by Thomas Adès.

The role of the notorious seductress Margaret Campbell will mark a role debut for the accomplished soprano, who has performed on the stages of many of the world’s leading opera houses. Among her many noted roles are Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and Contessa Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro at the Metropolitan Opera; Ilia in Idomeneno at La Scala; Alice Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff at Covent Garden;  and Vitellia in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito at the Salzburg and Glyndebourne festivals.

Ms. Schuman’s career includes a number of significant highlights in Philadelphia.  In 1990, she made her local debut with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra as a soloist in Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater at the Academy of Music, which was hailed as “a landmark performance” by The Philadelphia Inquirer and “striking” by The New York Times when the concert was performed at Carnegie Hall.  She returned to the role of Donna Elvira with Opera Philadelphia (then Opera Company of Philadelphia) for the 2002 production of Don Giovanni, which featured her husband, bass-baritone David Pittsinger in the title role.

“I am a huge fan of Thomas Adès and of Opera Philadelphia, and I could not resist the opportunity to take on a role as musically and dramatically lush as the The Dirty Duchess,” said Ms. Schuman.  “The music is truly bold and original, and I am eager to work with director William Kerley to bring his theatrical vision to the stage.  I cannot wait to start rehearsals and to share this experience with audiences in Philadelphia.”

Ms. Schuman has continually sought to expand her repertoire throughout her career. She has performed such diverse roles as 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; and the role of The Commander in the world premiere of Philip Glass’ The Voyageat the Metropolitan Opera.  In 2011, Ms. Schuman appeared at the Glimmerglass Festival in a world premiere by Jeanine Tesori and Tony Kushner, entitled A Blizzard in Marblehead Neck as Carlotta O’Neill, and in John Musto’s Later the Same Evening, as Estelle Ogelthorpe. 

Ms. Gustafson, who has been forced to withdraw due to a recent emergency dental procedure, shared the following statement:

“I have been looking forward to making my Opera Philadelphia debut in Powder Her Face, and I am devastated not to be coming there this June, but I have to take some time off following my recent dental surgery.   I hope that in the future I will be invited back to perform, and I send my warmest wishes to my friends at Opera Philadelphia, to my colleagues on stage, and to the city’s wonderful audiences who have always been so supportive of opera. You are very lucky to hear Patricia Schuman, who is a great artist and a wonderful human being.”

Powder Her Face runs June 7, 9m, 12, 14 and 16m, 2013 in the Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.  Maestro Corrado Rovaris conducts, with William Kerley directing.  Also starring in multiple roles are bass Ben Wager, tenor Christopher Tiesi and soprano Ashley Emerson.  


The Aurora Series at the Perelman Theater is generously underwritten by Wyncote Foundation.