For Racette, Puccini Heroines and Berlin Cabaret

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Patricia Racette is one of today's most respected Puccini sopranos, having made her name as the tragic heroine Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly, and later taking on Tosca and even all three soprano leads in the trilogy Il trittico last season.

But she's hardly a one-trick singer. This fall she's playing Leonore in Verdi's Il Trovatore at the Metropolitan Opera — a very different kind of role — and she recently appeared at the Neue Galerie in her occasional guise as a jazz and cabaret singer. She tells Midge Woolsey about her ecclectic career — and why she identifies with "complicated, conflicted" characters most of all.