“…elegant and stylish… His voice is big and round, beautifully produced, blessed with high As he tosses off as if they were nothing at all.”Washington Post
While still in high school and a member of the David Beckwith voice studio, J. Patrick Raftery was invited to sing for two of the greatest baritones of the twentieth century: Todd Duncan, an established teacher in Washington DC and the original Porgy in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and the great opera star George London, who was director of the Washington National Opera at the time.
Many years later, Patrick learned from his mother that George London himself had called her and advised that Patrick’s voice was one to be nurtured and should be encouraged towards classical voice studies with an idea of moving towards Opera.
It was also in this period that, by fluke (or dare from friends), Patrick auditioned for Wolf Trap’s summer opera at just 18. Astonishingly, he was invited on the spot by Frank Rizzo and John Moriarty to audit the young artists’ program that bi-centennial summer of 1976.
In 1979, Patrick was introduced to Armen Boyajian by the bass Paul Plishka and Patrick has remained a loyal member of the Boyajian studio since that time. Patrick considers Armen Boyajian to be his greatest vocal influence, followed closely by pianist/conductor John Moriarty and The Metropolitan Opera’s Jane Klaviter.
In 2014, after years of teaching as a sessional instructor for The University of Western Ontario and The University of Toronto, Patrick accepted an appointment with The University of British Columbia's School of Music as Assistant Professor of Voice and Opera.
Many current and former members of Patrick’s studio are now performing around the world at theatres like the Bavarian State Opera, the Zurich Opera and The Canadian Opera Company, at the summer festivals of Glimmerglass and Santa Fe, and at Young Artist Programs in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Munich, and some even on Broadway!
Schedule & History
Jane Raftery Award
At the University of British Columbia’s School of Music Summer Vocal Workshop, Patrick has established an award in the name of his sister Jane Raftery who died of cancer in December 2016. Each summer, this award is presented to a Summer Vocal Workshop participant who shows potential for a continued life in performance.
Jane Marie Raftery (age 56) died on Saturday, December 31, 2016 after a surprisingly sudden and grueling fight with cancer. A native Washingtonian the beloved daughter, friend and sister spent much of her professional life in New York, Atlanta and Chicago and ultimately back in the Washington DC area. Born to S. Frank "Bud" Raftery and his wife Marjorie Jane "Marge", (née Belt) Raftery. Ms. Raftery is survived by her sisters, Marjorie Jo "Maggie" Raftery, Barbara Sue "Bobbie" Raftery, Mary Ann Forbes, Virginia "Ginny" Cameron and brother J. Patrick Raftery. Warm hearted, talented, bold and charming Ms. Raftery was a specialist in HR and at the time of her death worked for The National Institutes of Health. A passionate stage performer she was often heard singing in DC area theatres and as a cabaret artist in New York City. Jane was comforted in the final stages of her life by close friends and family, her religious community and her strong faith.
2018: Thomas Fong
2017: Kaiyao Zheng
If you are interested in supporting the Jane Raftery Award for the UBC Summer Vocal Workshop, please contact Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.