Left to Right: Marshall Pynkoski, Patricia Barretto & Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg. Photo by Tom Sandler.

Remembering Patricia Barretto

March 3, 2020

It is with heavy hearts Opera Atelier announces that Patricia Barretto — who was Executive Director of the company from 2011 to 2015 — has passed away today in Chicago after an extraordinary life and a courageous battle with cancer.

Opera Atelier Co-Artistic Directors Marshall Pynkoski C.M. and Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg C.M. issued the following statement:

“Patricia was one of our greatest sources of support and inspiration — loving, protective and tireless in her support of us personally and professionally. It is impossible to imagine our world without her. It is one of the greatest personal losses of our lives.”

Patricia had an immeasurable impact on Opera Atelier, shepherding the company through its most important European tours, and building lasting relationships with the Royal Opera House, Versailles, the Salzburg Festival, the Glimmerglass Festival, and La Scala. Patricia built a strong staff team at Opera Atelier, and was well-loved by everyone she worked with, from artists to patrons to volunteers.

Patricia joined the Harris Theater executive team as Vice President of Sales and Marketing in 2015 and was appointed the Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols President and CEO of the Theater in 2017. Patricia had a transformative impact on Toronto’s sister city. Under her leadership, the Harris Theater featured such esteemed artists and projects as Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Monteverdi 450, Akram Khan’s Giselle, and Angélique Kidjo. From the Harris Theater Staff: “Patricia’s vision for the Harris was to be a home for music and dance, with all that entails. She believed that the arts transcend boundaries and area powerful tool to foster empathy and connection, which is reflected in the culture she created within our team.”

Patricia was born in Mumbai and completed a BA in English Literature in India before moving to Toronto. She began her twenty-year career in the arts in the box office of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, later working in the marketing department at TSO, followed by The Royal Conservatory and Canadian Stage. Patricia served on the juries for Canada Council for the Arts and Toronto Arts Council, appeared on the 2018 Giving USA panel, and spoke about her vision for the arts in panels and conversations hosted by the Guggenheim Museum, Chicago Women in Philanthropy, and many more.

Patricia died at home surrounded by her loving husband, Sheldon, her son David, her parents and extended family, and sustained by unshakable faith in her Saviour.

“Jeannette and I had the privilege of spending an hour with her one week ago,” says Pynkoski. “Her first words upon seeing us were ‘I’m so grateful, I’m so grateful, I’m so grateful.’ We can only echo the same.”