Patrick Alexander Keefe
Winner of the 2021 Richard Lewis-Jean Shanks Award, Patrick is an emerging British-Irish baritone. He is currently in his last year on the Opera course at the Royal Academy of Music, where he is supported by The Countess of Munster Trust, the Josephine Baker Trust, the John Baker Award for Opera, and D'Oyly Carte Memorial/Fordyce Awards, and is a member of the Song Circle. He is a Help Musicians Sybil Tutton Award holder for 2021-2022, and an Opera Prelude Young Artist. Before Royal Academy Opera, he studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the University of Oxford. His principal study teachers have included Mark Wildman, Robert Dean, Jonathan Lemalu, Alexander Ashworth, Glenville Hargreaves, Giles Underwood, and Andrew Kidd. He has been delighted to participate in masterclasses with Sir Thomas Allen, Brindley Sherratt, Christopher Purves, Kamal Khan, Dame Emma Kirkby, Richard Burkhard, David Stout, Jonathon Swinard, Stephen Langridge, Katie Mitchell, and Jane Glover. He is also grateful to have had coachings from baritones Etienne Dupuis and Yuriy Yurchuk. His Principal Study Coach is Jonathan Papp.
At RAO, Patrick has recently performed the title role in Gianni Schicchi, Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, taking on the latter at short notice. Similarly, he also stepped in for the role of Demetrius in A Midsummer Night's Dream in his first term following a drop-out caused by Covid-19. Patrick's recent performances include Don Parmenione in Rossini's L'occasione fa il ladro for British Youth Opera at Opera Holland Park, the Pavarotti Prize at RAM in which he took the 2nd Prize, the BBC Singers semi-chorus for Prisoner of the State with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican, and the semi-chorus for Romeo et Juliette with Michael Tilson Thomas and the LSO. He looks forward to performing the Musiklehrer in the Prologue to Strauss' Ariade auf Naxos with RAO in March, alongside Minstrel/Executioner in the premiere of Waley-Cohen's WITCH.
Before London, Patrick spent four years at the University of Oxford, completing a Bachelors degree in Music and a Masters in Composition, his second study, which he passed with distinction. For examples of his work, please see the Composition page. He began a doctorate in the discipline at New College, Oxford, before being advised by industry professionals that the time was right to focus on his singing. He remains active as a composer in his spare time and has hopes of resuming his DPhil at some point in the future.
Whilst at Oxford, he was a choral scholar, and later Peter Phillips Scholar, in the Choir of Merton College. He appeared with them as a soloist numerous times in concert, on disc, and on Radio 3, including for the first Anglican Evensong at St. Peter’s, Vatican City. His solo on their 2018 release was commended by Gramophone and BBC Music magazines. He was also a member of the Schola Cantorum of Oxford.
He maintains a busy choral and oratorio schedule alongside operatic singing, with recent highlights including the bass solos in the opening gala of the Vache Baroque Festival alongside Nick Pritchard and Helen Charlston, bass solos in Bach's B Minor Mass at St. John's Smith Square alongside Mary Bevan, Christus (St. John Passion) for Shrewsbury Abbey and Zebul (Jeptha) at Oxford University Church, alongside James Gilchrist in the title role. In Oxford he has sung as a lay clerk for the Oxford Oratory, Christ Church Cathedral, and Pusey House, and performed for many of the college choirs as well as the Oxford Bach Soloists, Vespri Segreti, and Fount and Origin.
In London he has performed with the BBC Singers and the London Symphony Chorus, and deputises for the Brompton Oratory, the Carmelite Priory, Kensington, St James's Spanish Place, St. Luke’s Chelsea, and St. John’s Hyde Park.
Outside of singing, Patrick’s 6ft 5-inch frame led him to rowing, a sport he continues to enjoy - although mostly now from the riverbank. He captained the Lincoln College, Oxford team for the 2015-2016 season, and was part of the development squad for Oxford University Boat Club. He also enjoys rugby, sailing, surfing, and Monopoly.
Academically, Patrick’s interests take him away from the core operatic repertoire, focusing on both 15th/16th-century music and music since 1970. His research has examined Fayrfax’s compositional process and its modern applications, and as an Oxford tutor he taught modules on continental polyphony, particularly Josquin and Palestrina, to undergraduate students.
In his spare time, Patrick can be found listening to Pink Floyd and Dire Straits, tinkering with his coffee machine, and cooking large amounts of fresh pasta. Often all at the same time.