I studied 6 hours a day, 6 days a week for two years. During this time I learned nine operas, plus French and Italian. My opera coach was Giacomo Spadoni, who was the chorus master at the Met. Maestro Spadoni went on to Hollywood and worked with Kathryn Grayson and Mario Lanza. Mr. Spadoni thought I was ready for the Met and I thoroughly agreed with him. After all, at the age of seventeen, how long can one wait?
I stepped on the stage and sang my first aria on the "Metropolitan Auditions of the Air" without a nerve in my body. I won and I was on my way to fame and stardom, as the youngest singer ever signed to star at the Metropolitan Opera."
Patrice not only went on to fame and fortune, she became one of the leading sopranos at the Met, starring in such roles as: "Lucia di Lammermoor", "La Boheme", "Tales of Hoffman", "Cosi Fan Tutti", "The Marriage of Figaro", "Die Fiedermaus" (one of her biggest successes),"The Barber of Seville", "Romeo and Juliet" (she loved dying), "La Perichole", "Lakme", "Rigoletto", and of course, "Mignon", in which she made her debut as "Philine." Patrice has always said that it was easy for her fans to remember her debut, because she was "a rare piece of meat..Filet Mignon."
Her opera performances brought accolades from the public and critics alike and she was featured on the covers of "Life" (twice), "Time", and "Look" magazines. Rudolf Bing always proclaimed her as the "world's greatest soubrette", referring to her huge success in "Die Fiedermaus", and other comedic roles.
Her appearances were in demand all over the country (and the world), and she was simultaneously performing on the concert stage, television, and radio at the same time. Patrice loved touring in musical comedies, and, now married to Director/Producer, Robert C. Shuler, their family included four children (two sons and two daughters). Sadly, their oldest son, Rhett, passed away in August of 2005, after a long illness. They always traveled with an entourage consisting of a housekeeper, usually a couple, whose husband served as the butler/driver, a nanny, a secretary, and an assortment of pets, whichever, were in vogue at the time and anyone else they needed to help. Speaking of their pets, Patrice, laughingly, tells of the parrot they had, who loved to vocalize, trying to imitate her cadenzas and trills or whatever she did. He would screech and sing and emit raucous sounds that were enough to send anyone into gails of laughter. The only problem, was, she says, was that she used to wonder if the residents in her building thought she was the one rehearsing and not the parrot.