Patricia Brooks started as a dancer, but a knee injury caused her to change her career direction. She found work as an actress in nonmusicals and then began studying singing very seriously. She eventually became a leading soprano with the New York City Opera. She was known as one of the finest actresses in opera.
Among the opera roles for which she was particularly known were Massenet's Manon, Violetta in La Traviata, the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor, Gilda in Rigoletto, Mimi in La Boheme, the title role in Lulu, and Melisande in Pelleas et Melisande.