Reference Entry

Kern, Patricia

Alan Blyth

in Oxford Music Online

Published in print December 1992 |
Published online January 2002 | e-ISBN: 9781561592630 | DOI:

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(b Swansea, July 4, 1927). Welsh mezzo-soprano. From 1949 to 1952 she studied with Parry Jones at the Guildhall School, London. She began her career with Opera for All (1952–5). In 1959 she joined Sadler’s Wells, making her début in Rusalka; for ten seasons she was a valued and busy member of the company, her most notable achievement being her interpretations, at once mischievous and sensitive, of Cenerentola, Rosina, Isolier (Le comte Ory) and Isabella (L’italiana in Algeri). Her Iolanthe, Hänsel, Cherubino, Pippo (in Rossini’s La gazza ladra), Messenger (in Monteverdi’s Orfeo) and Josephine (in the première of Malcolm Williamson’s The Violins of St Jacques, 1966) were also much admired. She made her Covent Garden début in 1967 as Zerlina. Her American début was at Washington, DC, in 1969 and in 1987 she sang Marcellina in Chicago. Kern possessed a smooth, creamy voice, imaginative of phrase and easily capable of negotiating Rossinian fioritura – her account of Cenerentola’s final rondo was a tour de force. Her stage personality was engaging and sympathetic....

Reference Entry.  182 words. 

Subjects: Opera ; Contemporary Music

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