Patricia O'Callaghan

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Patricia O'Callaghan
Birth name Patricia Mary O'Callaghan
Born (1970-10-02) 2 October 1970 (age 48)
Dryden, Ontario, Canada
Genres Cabaret, pop, contemporary opera
Occupation(s) Singer, record producer
Years active 1997–present
Associated acts Gryphon Trio

Patricia Mary O'Callaghan (born 2 October 1970) is a classically trained Canadian singer. She is a soprano who has built an international reputation as a performer of contemporary opera, early 20th-century cabaret music and the songs of Leonard Cohen.

She trained as an opera singer after being unable as a teenager to decide whether to become a rockstar or a nun and JazzTimes magazine has labelled her "the stunning Canadian chanteuse with the chilling soprano voice".[1]

Early life[edit]

Of Irish Catholic heritage, O'Callaghan was born in Dryden, Ontario, and spent her childhood in Iroquois Falls and other northern Canadian towns.[2] She says that it was while she was an exchange student in Mexico that she decided that rather than becoming "either a rockstar or a nun" she would combine both these ambitions by becoming an opera singer. Her first voice teacher was Rosanne Simunovic of the Timmins Youth Singers. She went on to study music at the University of Toronto and The Banff Centre in Alberta.[3]


O’Callaghan’s first recording, Youkali, was released in 1997 and features cabaret songs by Kurt Weill, Erik Satie and Francis Poulenc. She followed it with Slow Fox (1999), which contains “Hallelujah”, the first of her many interpretations of Leonard Cohen's songs; Real Emotional Girl (2001) and Naked Beauty (2004). But it was 2011–12 before her recording career appeared to hit its full stride. That year O’Callaghan sang on Broken Hearts & Madmen with the Canadian chamber music ensemble the Gryphon Trio and released Matador: The Songs of Leonard Cohen, which one critic pointed out was in several respects a better work than the 1987 Cohen tribute album Famous Blue Raincoat recorded by Jennifer Warnes.[4] Another, Jon O’Brien, wrote in a review for the AllMusic website: “A graceful and respectful homage to a true musical icon, Matador: The Songs of Leonard Cohen cements O’Callaghan’s position as one of his most accomplished interpreters.”[5] O’Callaghan was an artist in residence with Soulpepper Theatre Company in the Distillery District of Toronto for six years where she worked "towards her heart's ambition to bring her distinctive brand of cabaret to a broad-based audience".[6]

O'Callaghan was featured as a singing character in the 1999 CBC Television series Foolish Heart and in the 2004 Canadian TV movie Youkali Hotel produced by Enigmatico Films and WestWind Pictures.[7][8]

The singer is perhaps best known for her cover version of Cohen's “Hallelujah”, recorded in 1999 and reissued in 2001 and 2012, and her many live performances of the song.[9][10]


Solo albums

Collaborative albums


  1. ^ "Christopher Loudon, Patricia O'Callaghan Real Emotional Girl". JazzTimes. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  2. ^ Timothy White, Music To My Ears: Patricia O'Callaghan Recasts Cabaret. Billboard. 17 April 1999. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  3. ^ Interview with Patricia O'Callaghan 15 May 2013.
  4. ^ "Matador: The Songs of Leonard Cohen". iTunes. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  5. ^ "Matador: The Songs of Leonard Cohen Review by Jon O'Brien". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  6. ^ "Resident Artists". Young Centre for the Performing Arts. Archived from the original on 5 October 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  7. ^ "Youkali Hotel". WestWind Pictures. Archived from the original on 2008-06-29.
  8. ^ "Youkali Hotel". Telefilm Canada. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  9. ^ "Hallelujah – Patricia O'Callaghan". YouTube. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  10. ^ "Patricia O'Callaghan, Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen)". YouTube. Retrieved 4 May 2014.

External links[edit]