Patricia Barretto


On March 3, 2020, Patricia Barretto – Harris Theater President and CEO from 2017 to 2020, and our beloved friend and colleague – died following a courageous battle with breast cancer. 

Patricia led the Harris Theater through three extraordinary seasons as its President and CEO, bringing passion, brilliance, and generosity to the work she loved. She built and mentored a dedicated team; fostered a culture of respect and collaboration; and brought ambitious, significant, and exquisitely beautiful performances to Chicago.

Under her leadership, Harris Theater Presents programming featured such esteemed artists and projects as Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Monteverdi 450, the U.S. premiere and exclusive presentation of English National Ballet in Akram Khan’s Giselle, Angélique Kidjo, Bangarra Dance Theatre Australia, and many more. She grew the Theater’s Mix at Six and Family Series, bringing new art forms and audiences into the Theater each year.

Patricia first joined the Harris Theater executive team as Vice President of Sales and Marketing in 2015, following five years as Executive Director of Toronto’s Opera Atelier. During her tenure, Opera Atelier expanded its profile to international stages, including Mozartwöche (Salzburg), the Salzburg Festival, The Glimmerglass Festival, the Royal Opera House (Versailles, France), and Teatro alla Scala (Milan). Born in Mumbai, she moved to Toronto after university and began her twenty-year career in the arts in the box office of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO).

Patricia believed that the arts transcend boundaries and are a powerful tool to foster empathy and connection. She believed in presenting diverse voices, providing a platform for untold stories, and removing physical, financial, and social barriers to the arts. She leaves an incredible legacy and a clear vision for the Harris Theater — to be a home for music and dance, where everyone feels welcome and can see themselves reflected on our stage. 

If you would like to share a story or memory, you can do so through this form to be collected and shared with the Barretto family.

To make a gift in honor of Patricia, please visit