Born in Manchester, and raised in Bedford, New Hampshire, Patricia studied jazz and music education at North Texas State University. After graduating from NTSU, she was invited to participate in San Francisco Opera's Merola program and, eventually, became an Adler Fellow with the company.
She made her debut with the company in 1989 as Nanetta in Falstaff. Since then, she has gone on to appear in the leading opera houses of the world in such roles as Violetta in La Traviata, Blanche in Dialogues des Carmelites, Mathilde in Guillaume Tell, both Mimi and Musetta in La Bohème and Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes.
Winner of the prestigious 1994 Marian Anderson Award, the soprano has also performed major roles with the Vienna State Opera, Netherlands Opera, Royal Opera at Covent Garden, Paris Opera, Boston Lyric Opera and many others.
The 1998 winner of the Richard Tucker Foundation award, Patricia has come to be regarded as one of the leading sopranos on the international stage and one of today's most exciting singers. She has won raves from critics and admiration from fans for both her exquisite voice and her extraordinary acting skills.
In September, she opened San Francisco Opera's 2000-01 season with a thrilling performance of the title role in Luisa Miller and then went on to Chicago, where she assumed the title role in Jenufa, earning standing ovations from the audiences and praise from the critics.
Patricia is an out lesbian. She lives with her partner, fellow opera diva Beth Clayton. In June 2002, when she was featured as the cover story for the Opera News Magazine, Patricia requested that the magazine include her public coming-out statement.
Patricia met her partner, mezzo-soprano Beth Clayton, at a performance of La Traviata: "It's the only time Violetta ever went home with Flora."
She stated that her sexuality (and long-term relationship with Beth) was a very important part of who she is as an artist. Patricia and Beth were married in the summer of 2005. The subject of Patricia's homosexuality has been covered in numerous magazine interviews and articles, since.