• Born 1953
Often appears with
Internationally appreciated for the tenderness and beauty of her soprano voice, Patrizia Kwella was born to a Polish father and Venetian mother, both non-musicians. Nevertheless, she sang and played the piano at an early age. She also learned to play the cello and was a member of the Nottinghamshire County Youth Orchestra. Her formal musical education began when she entered the Royal College of Music where she studied singing, cello, and piano. Gradually, her interest turned to singing as more glamorous than instrumental playing. While still a student, Kwella was the soprano soloist in the annual televised performance of Handel's Messiah from Royal Albert Hall. The next year at Albert Hall, she gave her debut live broadcast singing the impassioned solo Lamento della ninfa by Monteverdi under the direction of Sir John Eliot Gardiner at a BBC Promenade Concert. Kwella has performed throughout the world. In the United States, she sang with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra and with the San Francisco, Houston, and Washington Symphony Orchestras. She appeared to great acclaim with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and sang the title role on Handel's Theodora at the British Embassy in Paris. Kwella has also premiered many contemporary works, such as Night's Mask and Pli de Lin by Colin Matthews, The Sleeping Lord by David Matthews, and the Colin Matthews orchestration of Gustav Holst's song cycle Dream City. In May 2001, she gave the first performance of the Gloria in excelsis Deo by Handel, which had recently been uncovered in the archives of the Royal Academy of Music. Her other re-creations of rarely performed older works have included Haydn's The Creation with Anne Hunter's recently discovered libretto, the first performance in modern times of Zelenka's Requiem, Weber's Mass in E flat major, and a well-received presentation of an Elizabethan Masque in the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Her repertoire also includes solo Bach cantatas, Mahler's Symphony No. 2, Mozart's Mass in C minor, Vaughan Williams' Sea Symphony, and Tippett's A Child of Our Time.