Composer Thomas Pasatieri was born October 20, 1945 in New York. By the age of ten Pasatieri had established himself as an accomplished performing pianist, and at fifteen he began his work as a composer. As a teenager, he studied with the renowned French teacher Nadia Boulanger. He entered The Juilliard School at age sixteen and went on to become the school's first recipient of a doctoral degree.
Mr. Pasatieri composed and wrote the libretto for his first opera, The Trysting Place, while an undergraduate at Juilliard. His first staged opera was The Women, a one-act work based on an original story. It premiered at the 1965 Aspen Festival and won the composition contest for that year. Among his 19 operas are La Divina (1966), Padrevia (1967), Black Widow (1972), The Trial of Mary Lincoln (1972), Signor Deluso (1974), Washington Square (1976), Before Breakfast (1980), Three Sisters (1986), and his best known work, The Seagull (1972), which received its world premiere recording in 2003 (Albany Records).
In 2007, Mr. Pasatieri made his highly-anticipated return to opera with the premieres of two new works. Frau Margot, an opera in three acts, was commissioned by the Fort Worth Opera and premiered in June with Joseph Illick conducting and librettist Frank Corsaro directing. August 2007 saw the premiere of Mr. Pasatieri’s new two-act comic opera, The Hotel Casablanca, with a libretto by the composer. The Hotel Casablanca was premiered by the San Francisco Opera Center Merola Singers, also under the baton of Joseph Illick, with direction by Richard Kagey. Both operas were well-received by audience members and critics alike. In the words of Georgia Rowe (Contra Costa Times), "The Hotel Casablanca is one of those rarer-than-hen’s-teeth works: contemporary, well-crafted, richly musical and riotously funny…" And Frau Margot, replete with "a score of a voluptuous splendor that suggests Klimt’s gilded paintings set to music… has all the markings of a masterpiece" (Wes Blomster, operatoday.com).
In addition to his sizeable opera catalogue, Mr. Pasatieri has composed hundreds of songs, which have been performed and recorded by such artists as Janet Baker, Jane Eaglen, Sheri Greenawald, Thomas Hampson, Evelyn Lear, Catherine Malfitano, Ashley Putnam, Frederica von Stade, Thomas Stewart and Shirley Verrett. These works include Heloïse and Abelard (1971), Rites of Passage (1974), Three Poems of James Agee (1974), Canciones del barrio (1983), Three Sonnets from the Portuguese (1984), Sieben Lehmannlieder (Seven Lehmann Songs to texts by Lotte Lehmann) (1988), Three Poems of Oscar Wilde (1998) and the orchestral song cycle, with chorus, Letter to Warsaw (2003).
A prolific composer for chorus, Mr. Pasatieri's works for this genre include Permit Me Voyage (1974), The Harvest Frost (1993), Bang the Drum Loudly (1994) and Mornings Innocent (1995), which was premiered and recorded by the Los Angeles Gay Men's Chorus. Among his instrumental works are: Invocation, commissioned and premiered by Leonard Slatkin and the New York Youth Symphony (1968); Theatrepieces, for Clarinet, Violin and Piano (1987); Concerto for Piano and Strings (1994); Sonata for Viola and Piano (1995); Quartet for Flute and Strings (1995); Sonata for Flute and Piano (1997); Windsong, premiered and recorded by Trio Ariana (2001); and three piano sonatas.
Recent works include Lady Macbeth and The Daughter of Capulet, two concert monodramas taken from the Shakespeare plays, and two instrumental works: Rhapsody for Double bass and Piano and Concerto for Harpsichord.
Mr. Pasatieri has taught composition at Juilliard, the Manhattan School of Music and Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. From 1980 through 1984, he held the post of Artistic Director at Atlanta Opera. In 1984, he moved to Los Angeles, where he formed his film music production company, Topaz Productions. His film orchestrations can be heard in Road to Perdition, American Beauty, The Little Mermaid, The Shawshank Redemption, Fried Green Tomatoes, Legends of the Fall, Scent of a Woman, and Angels in America, among many others.
Rhapsody for Double Bass and Piano -- 10' Cb. Pno. Premiere Information: September 14th 2008. Jeff Bradetich, Bass, Joe Illick, Piano; Voices of Change, Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, TX Additional Information: Published: #114-41313 • Reviews
Sonata for Flute and Piano (1997) -- 15' Published: #114-41032 Premiere Information: 1997, Music Academy of the West, Timothy Day, flute and Pasatieri, piano.
Theatrepieces for Clarinet, Violin and Piano (1987) Available From Composer
A Joyful Noise for Mixed Chorus, Brass Sextet, Organ and Percussion (1985) Available From Composer
Alleluia Version for SATB and Piano -- 2' 30" Published: #312-41620 Additional Information: Transcribed from Alleluia for Voice and Orchestra (available on rental).
Version also available for Voice, Piano and optional Harp accompaniment.
Canticle of Praise for SATB Chorus and Organ (1995) Published: #312-41707 Premiere Information: Old Christ Church in Philadelphia, PA, 1995.
Mass for SATB soloists, Mixed Chorus and Orchestra (1983) Available From G. Schirmer
Mornings Innocent for Mens' Chorus, Oboe, Cello, Harp and Piano (1995) Available From Composer
Parting for SATB, a cappella Additional Information: Out of print.
Permit Me Voyage for Soprano soloist, Mixed Chorus and Orchestra (1974) -- 16' Orch: 2(Picc.)-2(E.H.)-2(B.Cl.)-2(Cbsn.); 4-2-2-1; Timp., 2Perc., Hp., Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Premiere Information: New Haven, CT, 1974, Catherine Malfitano, soprano, and the New Haven Symphony and Chorus, Erich Kunzel conducting. Additional Information: Text by James Agee.
The Harvest Frost for Mixed Chorus and Chamber Ensemble (1993) Available From Composer
Three Mysteries for SATB Chorus (1991) -- 7' Published: #312-41592 Premiere Information: Ithaca College, NY, 1991 Additional Information: Texts by Walt Whitman, G. Meredith and P. Sidney.
Black Widow Opera in Three Acts (1972) Voices: Soprano, 2 Mezzo-Soprano, Tenor, Baritone
Orch: 2-2-2-2; 2-2-2-1; Timp., Perc., Hp., Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Premiere Information: March 2, 1972, Seattle Opera; Joanna Simon, Evelyn Mandac, Jennie Tourel and Theodor Uppman, performers. Henry Holt, conductor. Lotfi Mansouri, director. Additional Information: Libretto by the composer, based on the novella Dos Madres (1920) by Miguel de Unamuno. • Reviews
Frau Margot Opera in Three Acts -- 120' 2 1 2 1 – 2 2 2 0; Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
Voices: Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, Tenor, Baritone, Bass-Baritone Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: Commissioned by Fort Worth Opera Premiere Information: June 2nd, 8th, 10th, 2007. Fort Worth Opera, conducted by Joseph Illick, directed by Frank Corsaro. Bass Performance Hall, Fort Worth, Texas. Additional Information: libretto by Frank Corsaro
(based on his original play, Lyric Suite) • Recordings • Reviews
Ines de Castro Opera in Three Acts (1976) -- 2 hrs. Voices: Large Cast, Mixed Chorus, Boys’ Chorus
Orch: 2-2-2-2; 4-2-2-1; Timp., Perc., Hp., Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Premiere Information: April 1, 1976, Baltimore Opera. Christopher Keene, conductor. Tito Cappobianco, director. Additional Information: Libretto by Bernard Stambler. • Reviews
The Hotel Casablanca Opera in 2 acts, inspired by “A Flea in Her Ear” by Georges Feydeau. Libretto by the composer. (2007) -- 100' 1 1 1 1 – 1 1 1 0; Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.7tet (or section)
Voices: 2 Soprano, 2 Mezzo-soprano, Tenor, 2 Baritone, 2 Bass-Baritone Available from the Presser Rental Library Premiere Information: 3rd, 5th August, 2007. San Francisco Opera Center Merola Singers, conducted by Joseph Illick, directed by Richard Kagey. Cowell Theater at Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, California. Additional Information: libretto by the composer • Reviews
The Penitentes Opera in Three Acts (1967) -- 100' Voices: Large Cast, Mixed Chorus
Orch: 2-2-2-2; 4-2-2-0; Timp., Perc., Pno., Hp., Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Premiere Information: Aspen, CO, August 3, 1974. Kresimir Sipusch, conductor. Pasatieri, director. Additional Information: Libretto by Anne Howard Bailey. • Reviews
The Seagull Opera in Three Acts (1972, rev. 2002) -- 1 hr., 47' Voices: Large Cast, Off-Stage Chorus
Orch: 2-2-2-2; 4-2-2-1; Timp., Perc., Hp., Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Premiere Information: March 5, 1974, Houston Grand Opera. Performers included Frederica von Stade, Patricia Wells, Evelyn Lear, Richard Stilwell and John Reardon. Charles Rosenkrans, conductor. Frank Corsaro, director. Additional Information: Libretto by Kenward Elmslie, based on Anton Chekhov's play, The Seagull (1896). • Recordings • Reviews
Piano/Vocal Score (#411-41107) Full Score - Large (#416-41232)
The Trial of Mary Lincoln Opera in Three Acts (1972) -- 60' Voices: 1 Lyric Soprano, 2 Mezzo-Soprano, 1 Contralto, 6 Baritone, 8 Solo Voices (4 Female, 4 Male)
Orch: 3-2-2(B.Cl.)-2(Cbsn.); 2-1-1-0; Timp., Perc., Pno., Hp. Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: WNET (New York Public Television) Premiere Information: February 12, 1972, National Education Television. Elaine Bonazzi as Mary Lincoln. Boston Symphony Orchestra, Peter Herman Adler, conductor. Kirk Browning, director. Stage premiere: January 23, 1987, San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Additional Information: Libretto by Anne Howard Bailey. • Reviews
Three Sisters Opera in 2 Acts (1979) Available from the Presser Rental Library Premiere Information: March 13, 1986, Opera Columbus (Ohio). Cal Stewart Kellogg, conductor. Albert Takazauckas, director. Additional Information: Libretto by Kenward Elmslie based on Anton Chekhov's play, Three Sisters (1901).
Washington Square Opera in Two Acts and an Epilogue (1976, rev. 1977) -- 110' Voices: 3 Soprano, 2 Mezzo-Soprano, Tenor, Baritone, Bass-Baritone
Orch: 1(Picc.)-1(E.H.)-1(B.Cl.)-1(Cbsn.); 1-1-1-0; Timp., Perc., Pno.(Cel.), Hp., Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Premiere Information: Michigan Opera Theater, Detroit, MI, October 1, 1976. Henry Holt, conductor. Nikos Psacharapoulos, director. Revised version premiere: October 13, 1977, New York Lyric Opera. Victor De Renzi, conductor. David Alden, director. Additional Information: Libretto by Kenward Elmslie after Henry James's novel, Washington Square (1880). • Reviews
Before Breakfast Opera in One Act (1980) -- 45' 1 1 1(B.Cl.) 1 – 1 1 1 0; Pno.(Cel.) Str.(5tet or section)
Pno. Premiere Information: October 9, 1980. New York City Opera, Marilyn Zschau/Soprano, Imre Pallo/Conductor, Frank
Corsaro/Director, Zoya Leporska/Choreographer, Lloyd Evans/Set and Costume Designer, Gilbert V. Helmsley, Jr./Lighting Designer. Additional Information: A lonely alcoholic addresses her off-stage husband while she prepares breakfast and in so doing we learn of the dreams she envisioned for her life and the disappointments that ultimately filled it.
Calvary One-Act Church Opera (1971) Voices: 2 Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Tenor, 3 Baritone, 2 Bass
Orch: 1-1-1-1; 1-0-0-0; Hp., Vln., Vla., Vcl. Available from the Presser Rental Library Premiere Information: St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Bellevue, WA, April 7, 1971. Henry Holt, conductor. Robert DeSimone, director. Additional Information: Libretto by the composer, based on the play by William Butler Yeats. • Reviews
Family Room, The Opera in one act (Libretto by Daphne Malfitano) (2009) -- 75' Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, Male Actor; 1 1 1 1 – 1 1 1 0; Pno. Hp. Str.5tet(or section) Available from the Presser Rental Library Additional Information: Libretto by Daphne Malfitano
Two women speak of blue skies and thunderstorms, but live in a windowless room. They speak of a child and the men they love, but their only company is the sounds from upstairs. This is The Family Room. • Reviews
La Divina Comic Opera in One Act (1965) -- 25' Voices: Soprano, Mezzo, Tenor (or Soprano), Baritone;
Orch: 2-2-2-2; 1-1-0-0; Timp., Perc., Pno.(Cel.), Hp., Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Premiere Information: The Juilliard School, New York, March 16, 1966. Allan Lewis, conductor. Christopher West, director. Additional Information: Libretto by the composer. • Recordings
Piano/Vocal Score (#411-41025)
Maria Elena Opera in One Act (1983) -- 90' Voices: 3 Soprano, 4 Mezzo-Soprano, 2 Tenor, Baritone, Bass-Baritone; Small Chorus
Orch: 2-1-2-1; 2-2-2-0; Timp., Perc., Hp., Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Premiere Information: University of Arizona (Tucson), April 6, 1983, in English and Spanish. Richard Woitach, conductor. Jerold Siena, director. Additional Information: Libretto by the composer, based on a true story.
Padrevia Lyric Tragedy in One Act (1966) -- 52' Voices: Soprano, Tenor, Bass-Baritone;
Orch: 1-1-1-1; 1-1-1-0; Timp., Perc., Pno., Hp., Str. (1-1-2-2-1) Available from the Presser Rental Library Premiere Information: Brooklyn College, New York, November 18, 1967. Kanoly Kope, conductor and director. Additional Information: Libretto by the composer based on a story from the Decameron of Giovanni Boccaccio. • Reviews
Piano/Vocal Score (#411-41024)
Signor Deluso Opera Buffa in One Act (1974) -- 30' Voices: 2 Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Tenor, Baritone, 1 or 2 Bass-Baritone
Orch: 1-1-1-0; 1-0-0-0; Pno., Vln., Vla., Vcl. Available from the Presser Rental Library Premiere Information: The Wolf Trap, Vienna, VA, July 27, 1974. John Moriarty, conductor. David Bartholomew, director. Additional Information: Libretto by the composer, based on Molière’s Sganarelle. • Reviews
Piano/Vocal Score (#411-41092)
The Goose Girl Children's Opera in One Act (1981) Available From G. Schirmer
The Women Chamber Opera in One Act (1965) -- 12' Voices: Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Baritone
Orch: 1-1-1-1; 1-1-0-0; Timp., Perc., Pno., Hp., Str.4tet (1-0-1-1-1) Available from the Presser Rental Library Premiere Information: Aspen Festival, CO, August 20, 1965. Leonard Slatkin, conductor. Madeleine Milhaud, director. Additional Information: Libretto by the composer.
Concerto for Harpsichord -- 30' Solo Harpsichord; 1 1 0 0 – 0 0 0 0; Str. Premiere Information: 20th May, 2009, The Queen’s Band; Elaine Comparone, Harpsichord soloist and Conductor. Merkin Concert Hall, New York, NY
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (1993) -- 30' Premiere Information: Los Angeles, CA, 1993, Topanga Symphony, Gerald Kessler conductor, Pasatieri, piano. Additional Information: Study score only available from Presser on a special-order basis. Available From Subito Music (Theodore Presser Co., dist.)
Concerto for Two Pianos and Strings (1994) -- 32' Premiere Information: 1994, Armen Guzemilian and Thomas Pasatieri, pianos, Michael Novak, conductor. Additional Information: Study score only available from Presser on a special-order basis. Available From Subito Music (Theodore Presser Co., dist.)
Invocation for Orchestra (1968) Available From Composer
Serenade for Violin and Chamber Orchestra (1992) -- 9' Premiere Information: Los Angeles, CA, 1992, Peter Kent, violin, and the St. Thomas Chamber Orchestra, Thomas Neenan conductor. Additional Information: Piano reduction and Study score only available from Presser. Study score available on a special-order basis. Available From Subito Music (Theodore Presser Co., dist.)
Piano Reduction (#494-01986)
Symphony (2009) -- 22' 3 3 3 2 – 4 3 3 0; Timp. 2Perc. Hp. Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Premiere Information: 23rd September, 2011. University of Kentucky Symphony, conducted by John Nardolillo, Lexington, KY.
Letter to Warsaw for Soprano and Ensemble -- 2003 Available from the Presser Rental Library Additional Information: Composed for soprano Jane Eaglen and conductor Gerard Schwarz. Dedicated to Music of Remembrance’s founder and artistic director, Mina Miller. • Reviews
Alleluia for Medium Voice and Small Orchestra (1991) -- 2'34" Available from the Presser Rental Library Additional Information: Alternate versions available for Voice and Piano with optional Harp accompaniment, and for Mixed (SATB) Chorus with Piano. • Recordings
Rites of Passage for Medium Voice and Chamber Orchestra or String Quartet (1974) -- 11' Orch: 2(Picc.)-2-2-2; 2-1-1-1; Timp., Perc., Hp., Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Premiere Information: Ft. Lauderdale, FL, 1974. Patricia McCaffery, soprano. Additional Information: Text by Louis Phillips.
Sieben Lehmannlieder for Voice and Orchestra (1988) -- 26' Orch: Voice; 2-2-2-2; 4-2-2-1; Timp., Perc., Hp., Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Premiere Information: Voice and Piano premiere: 1988, Music Academy of the West, Judith Beekman, soprano, and Pasatieri, piano. Voice and Orchestra premiere: 1991, Edith Davis, soprano, Louisville Symphony, Lawrence Leighton Smith, conductor. Additional Information: Texts by Lotte Lehmann. • Reviews
Alleluia for Voice, Piano and optional Harp accompaniment -- 2' 30" Published: #111-40131 Additional Information: Transcribed from Alleluia for Voice and Orchestra (available on rental).
Version also available for SATB Chorus and Piano.
Solo Part (#111-40131P)
Bel Canto Songs for Voice and Piano (2011) -- 19' Premiere Information: December 16, 2011, Ailyn Perez, soprano, Ken Noda, piano, George London Foundation concert, Morgan Library, New York, NY Additional Information: settings of six poems by William Blake
Published: #411-41122 • Reviews
Day of Love for Soprano and Piano (1983) Available From G. Schirmer
Lady Macbeth Monodrama, after Shakespeare (2008) -- 15' Soprano, Piano Premiere Information: September 14th, 2008. Lauren Flanigan, Soprano, Joseph Illick, Piano, Voices of Change concert, Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, Dallas, TX. Additional Information: Published #411-41118 • Recordings • Reviews
Selected Songs for High Voice and Piano (1971) -- 26' Published: #61083-212
Three Poems of Oscar Wilde for Baritone and Piano (1998) Published: #111-40182 Commission Information: George London Society Premiere Information: New York, 1998, Thomas Hampson, baritone, and Craig Rutenburg, piano Additional Information: Text by Oscar Wilde. • Recordings
"A bill of three one-act operas [Padrevia, Signor Deluso and The Women] by young Thomas Pasatieri… [was] featured [at] the Italian-American Bicentennial at Memorial Hall Monday… The three contrasting operas served to demonstrate Pasatieri’s skill both as composer and librettist. As a musician, he achieves potent effects with an economy of means— each opera is cannily scored for chamber orchestra. Librettist Pasatieri has a keen sense of the dramatic or, in one case, comedy."
-Samuel L. Singer, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Opera is also about conveying drama through music, and…the fact that Pasatieri knows how to make points in music comes through loud and clear.
Opera Alterna’s double bill [of The Women and Signor Deluso]
certainly showed that Pasatieri knows how to write opera."
-Anne Midgette, The Washington Post
"If you're not familiar with Pasatieri, this is a good place to start. He selects texts well and amplifies them effectively in these settings.""
"…this one-act work has ample charms, including…an invitingly melodic score, with shapely vocal writing, lively choruses and trim, colorful orchestral writing that never gets in the way of the singing."
"Pasatieri’s objective, which he successfully achieves, is to set pure bel canto-style vocal lines to a contemporary harmonic palette in the piano accompaniment. For his singer, he pulls out the full bel canto arsenal of melismas, ornamentation and contrasting dynamics, masterfully wielding them to establish mood. [Ailyn] Pérez and accompanist Ken Noda, finely attuned to each other’s every nuance and need, were a superb pair in this challenging music."
"The clever comedy of errors was very much enhanced by Pasatieri’s beautifully constructed score, in which the ensemble passages, especially, were extraordinary impressive."
-Norma McLain Stoop, After Dark
"Signor Deluso which he set to his own libretto, is a good example of Mr. Pasatieri’s facility and professionalism."
-Donal Henahan, New York Times
"Pasatieri’s adaptation of Molière remains highly satisfying in its succession of rich melodies entwined with quick comic situations."
-Robert Jacobson, Opera News
"As a musician, he achieves potent effects with an economy of means."
-Samuel Singer, Philadelphia Inquirer
"“The music of Signor Deluso is melodious, witty, effective and immediately accessible…Pasatieri possesses a unique and viable musical voice."
-John W. Lambert, The News and Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)
"Signor Deluso took the stage and never let go. It is an irresistible little gem, full of Pasatieri’s now famous blend of contemporary and Italian verismo techniques."
-Tim Smith, Prince George’s Jounral
"A delightful contemporary comic opera entered the ranks with the world premiere of Thomas Pasatieri’s Signor Deluso…he has created thirty minutes of comic concision and captivating music –a lovely thing with grateful soaring lines, graceful rhythms and transparent, often poignant scoring for eight instruments."
"…Pasatieri is the first young opera composer to come along in a long while who shows the characteristic qualities of a potentially great composer for the stage…He has a pronounced gift for writing both solo and ensemble vocal melodies…the new opera shows evidence of something I call a composer’s “fingerprints,” an individual color and style of orchestral and vocal writing that can be identified as his alone…it is a subtle work, quiet, innocently lovely in much of its music."
-Gail Stockholm, Cincinnati Enquirer
"Pasatieri has an instinctive feeling for the theatre."
-Louis Snyder, The Christian Science Monitor
"…a soaring piece of lyrical theater…a work of prevading lyricism and a viable drama as well – a rare combination."
-Olin Chism, Newsday
"…He uses the orchestra opulently and many of his passages are ripe for the melodic plucking."
-Ann Holmes, Houston Chronicle
"Pasatieri’s score is extremely warm and attractive, and it has an immediacy of appeal which is rare in contemporary opera. It is beautifully crafted for the voice and…the listener is almost continually bathed in a sea of meltingly lovely melodic lines and luscious harmonies."
-Irving Lowens, Washington Star
"The vocal writing is dramatically pointed yet always graceful, with the sizeable orchestra supporting the singers with potent ideas of its own."
"Commissioned by the Music Academy of the West to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Lotte Lehmann, this beautiful cycle for soprano expresses the sensitive and expressive qualities that permeated… Lehmann’s singing… Set against twentieth-century harmonies, Pasatieri manages to capture the romanticism of the lyrics while maintaining the color and excitement of this idiom… I was delighted with the imagination and character of each of the pieces. The cycle would be a splendid and refreshing addition to any recital program."
"…a brilliantly orchestrated musical picture that looks both inward and outward, inward in the songs, outward in the instrumental interludes. It's music that is somber but not solemn, an elegy. The thirteen sections fit together easily, and at no point does one feel it is too long or too harrowing to sit through. The shouting, cheering audience brought the performers and Pasatieri back for multiple bows."
-Phillippa Kiraly, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"Despite the anguished content of most of the poems, Pasatieri's music is not dirgelike; some of the orchestral interludes between the songs are full of optimism and energy. The premiere was a roaring success with the audience…a major addition to the repertoire"
-Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times
"Heartrending and intimate, the six poems are set as if in a one-act opera, with sweeping, romantic-style music for chamber orchestra, and orchestral interludes between the songs. The music perfectly suits the nostalgia, the homesickness and haunting fears of the poems."
-Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times
"…one of his most appealing works…Particularly adept in writing for the clarinet in this piece, Pasatieri colored and shaped the tonal and musical line to give a personal meaning to the words…he made her [Emily Dickinson’s] poetry work as an extrovertedly passionate expression of young love experienced and lost."
"…the story’s central women are vividly, distinctly drawn, with relatable desires expressed eloquently in both words and music. The opera has many elements of mystery and room for audience interpretation.
Pasatieri’s vocal writing is impeccable…"
-Ronni Reich, New Jersey Star-Ledger
"…a two-singer piece written for veteran divas Catherine Malfitano and Lauren Flanigan, and initially it seems to be a typically elegiac chamber piece about aging, forgotten females reliving the past. But the past keeps morphing into questionable realities…What finally unfolds is almost unthinkably sinister.
[Pasatieri’s] score acts as a dramatic frame and support for the plot…the score and the cunning libretto by Malfitano’s daughter Daphne fully engage the singers’ considerable resources."
-David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer
The Hotel Casablanca Opera in 2 acts, inspired by “A Flea in Her Ear” by Georges Feydeau. Libretto by the composer.
"Pasatieri evinces the virtues of yesteryear. He delights in uncomplicated melody and transparent harmonies. He writes in a smooth manner that respects the parameters of an artist's vocal range. He sets texts with pristine clarity that renders projected titles (as here) redundant. He orchestrates with a consummate ear for the telling detail."
-Allan Ulrich, Financial Times
"…an enduring comic romp…he has transformed George Feydeau's 1907 play "A Flea in Her Ear," into a 21st century hoot that delighted the audience at its world premier…"
-Paul Duclos, www.musicweb-international.com
"Pasatieri's latest an endearing comedy[headline]
…a winning new opera… Friday's event had the feel of a major opening…The new opera didn't disappoint. "The Hotel Casablanca" is one of those rarer-than-hen's-teeth works: contemporary, well-crafted, richly musical and riotously funny… Pasatieri's libretto is fast-paced and funny, and much of the humor is imbedded in the score…But "Hotel Casablanca" also contains stretches of tender lyricism… the evening's kudos go to Pasatieri, for giving the company a new work that lets the singers shine…"
-Georgia Rowe, Contra Costa Times
"There is a lot to love in Pasatieri’s opera. In addition to the amusing, confusing plot, he has composed a whole Texas-sized parcel of tunes.
…tunes melancholy, tunes jazzy and rhythmic, and tunes that make you want to tap your feet and sing along."
-Parsons, American Record Guide
"Pasatieri's musical language is contemporary but tonal, tracing its origins to the German and Italian schools of opera… Though it uses a small orchestra by operatic standards, this instrumentation allowed Pasatieri sufficient variety, particularly in terms of creating orchestral color."
-Rick Rogers, NewsOK.com
"The best farces…balance the uproarious and ridiculous with the poignant and the tender, and Pasatieri has done that with both his libretto and his music."
-Henry Fogel, Fanfare
"…an evening of enchanting laughter.
-Olga Privman, Reviewfix.com
"Inspired by Georges Feydeau’s Belle Époque play “A Flea in Her Ear”… “The Hotel Casablanca” is part breezy, sometimes bawdy farce; part love letter to the lyric stage.
Though drawn in broad, comedic strokes, each character also demands a measure of dignity."
-Steve Smith, New York Times
"…just for fun, Pasatieri tosses in musical quotes from Mozart and Verdi ("Otello"), to the pleasure of the opera cognoscenti. It fairly crackled with comedy. Pasatieri's one of the leading veterans of American operatic composition, writes very sympathetically for the voice, laying out generous arias for the principals, aspiring to a lyricism somewhere between Tchaikovsky and Puccini.
[Pasatieri] created his own libretto, crafting a dazzling plot"
"It is the kind of experience that clearly energizes opera companies. …a contagious air or excitement surrounded the Frank Corsaro-directed, Joe Illick-conducted Pasatieri opera, with its engaged cast headed by the remarkable Lauren Flanigan in the title role."
-William Litter, www.thestar.com
"Frau Margot: A world premiere worth the wait [headline]
The story has lots of passion and drama, and the music is luxuriously appointed in a cinematic Anglo-American manner … Much about the opera is engaging, and the music is often beautiful, with some striking duets."
-Scott Cantrell, Dallas Morning News
"…well-wrought, evocatively moody and aggressively consonant… It’s not hard to imagine that this piece will provide great enjoyment for opera lovers for years to come."
-Joshua Rosenblum, Opera News
""Cinematic 'Frau Margot' is a Triumph for Composer, Fans" [headline]
[Pasatieri and librettist Frank Corsaro] score on so many levels … Beautifully constructed leitmotifs connect the story…There is undeniable craft in Pasatieri's composition, particularly in its rich orchestration and well-tailored vocal-writing … Frau Margot is a triumph for Fort Worth Opera and Thomas Pasatieri -- as well as fans of contemporary opera."
-Matthew Erikson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
"The plot is fascinating, the music accessible, the performances... first rate."
-Charles Parsons, American Record Guide
"Pastieri's return to opera impressive …the work has all the markings of a masterpiece… With amazing success, Pasatieri has captured all this in a score of a voluptuous splendor that suggests Klimt's gilded paintings set to music. And this is what makes "Frau Margot" a masterpiece, for the composer has not only laid bare the nervous mental machinations of his characters; he has rendered turn-of-the-century Vienna with its undertow of threatening darkness audible. A muted sadness speaks form the libretto's reference to “the hope for that love that sustains the fragile heart and makes life durable.” This melancholy sounds again from the final confession of the major male characters in the opera: “I have not lived the life I meant to live.” “Life and death,” Corsaro writes, “are one and the same.” Small wonder that Pasatieri’s gorgeous music speaks with heavy eyelids."
-Wes Blomster, www.operatoday.com
"The work serves up two hours of efficient entertainment thanks to its superb source, tight plot, and crisply defined characters… The orchestral writing is highly active and brilliantly colorful…"
-John Bender, San Francisco Classical Voice
"Long, tonally-shifting, open-ended melodic lines weave in and out of the orchestral fabric, at times seething, at others soaring, continuously unfolding so as to keep both dramatic and simply gorgeous; the music largely teases the ear into wanting more. When the final curtain descended, this listener would have been happy to hear the whole thing all over again."
-Walter Simmons, American Record Guide
"an absorbing work... The vocal writing in Frau Margot is gripping"
-Joshua Rosenblum, Opera News
"…tender lyricism, a lyricism that permeates every utterance."
-Colin Clarke, Fanfare Magazine
"Pasatieri’s and Corsaro’s pacing of the drama is masterly."
-Colin Clarke, Fanfare Magazine
"Corsaro and Pasatieri wisely decided to highlight the film noir implications of the overall work. Hence Pasatieri’s neo-Romantic language, which may be said to resemble generally the musical style associated with film noir, can be perceived as appropriate to the dramatic style of the work."
-Walter Simmons, Fanfare Magazine
"…the narrative aspect moves forward swiftly and continuously, riveting the audience’s attention throughout, to which I can attest, having attended the Fort Worth production myself. By the time it was over, I wouldn’t have minded a repeat performance right then and there!"
-Walter Simmons, Fanfare Magazine
"The music is lush and voluptuous."
-Heidi Waleson, Wall Street Journal
"Frau Margot is an opera that could make you like opera [headline]
…Thomas Pasatieri's music was beautiful and Frank Corasro's story had it all: unrequited love, murder, seances, madness and a touch of humor…What's not to love?
…more than an aria…less than an opera. It directs our attention to Lady Macbeth’s internal participation in the planning, execution, and aftermath of the murder which brings her and her husband first to power and then to ruin. Pasatieri writes wonderfully for the voice…"
-Michael Miller, New York Arts
"This is just the kind of material that inspires [Lauren] Flanigan to the dramatic heights. And does she ever soar!
…a carefully constructed score that supports the texts…quite a show!"
-Charles H. Parsons, American Record Guide (about release by Albany TROY1083 – Pasatieri: Monologues)
"The idea was ingenious: to conflate all of Lady Macbeth’s major set pieces into a monodrama.
Pasatieri’s setting exposed a perfect marriage between character and performer; it is difficult to imagine the resulting tour de force in better hands than [Lauren] Flanigan’s.
…a compelling, exciting piece and should make a fine calling card for both singer and composer."
-Joanne Sydney Lessner, Opera News
"Lady Macbeth was written for [Lauren] Flanigan, and her portrayal was intimate and dramatically intense. The audience…instantly connected to the character.
Famous lines from Macbeth, like “Out, damned spot,” were made vivid by Pasatieri’s vocal melodies, which were paced as speech.
Pianist Joe Illick…added intense color and dramatic background. And Flanigan’s performance was a tour de force."
-Chris Shull, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
"The insinuating melodies of Lady Macbeth, sensual and almost jazzy, had me considering Shakespeare’s well-known words from a new angle."
-Opera Obsession Blog
"Lady Macbeth, in its world premiere, made dramatic use of Lauren Flanigan’s big dynamic and expressive range.
"Pasatieri’s Rhapsody for Double Bass showed the contentious nature of the bass as a solo instrument. But the piece, which flowed lyrically across the instrument’s deep four octaves, should soon end up on recitals by student bassists everywhere."
"Mr. Pasatieri is clearly the star of the show as his musical warmth caresses the singers and bathes the listener in a sea of contemporary 'bel canto' ...this is a singer’s composer, indeed."
-Peter Haley, Kite
"Black Widow is a powerful and compelling piece of total theatre…has a stark and austere beauty."
-Max Wyman, Vancouver Sun
"Thomas Pasatieri’s Black Widow remains an unforgettably forceful opera on repeated hearings…This is a poignant, passionate opera with some splendid music…Pasatieri’s sense of orchestration can’t be complimented too highly…Few composers have so completely welded their music to the dramatic situation as it unfold."
-Rolf Stromberg, Seattle Post Intelligencer,
"He has a marked gift for vocal writing and an ease in handling the orchestra that marks the real pro…There are many isolated passages of great beauty and strength."
-Paul Hume, The Washington Post
"Pasatieri shows skill in composing a vocal line that is at once lyrical and powerful…It is melodious and as smooth as cream."
-Richard Campbell, Bremerton Sun (Wash.)
"The score spins out, loaded with wonderfully singable lines and clever ensembles."
-Louise Kenngott, Milwaukee Journal
"…an exciting and absorbing work…this is strong dramatic stuff, but the young composer’s score - expressive, melodic, eminently singable - is up to it…The first-night audience shared this reviewer’s enthusiasm."
-Frank J. Warnke, Opera News
"the music is capable of high drama as at the end of Act II and orchestrated with a good ear for instrumental adventure, with special felicity shown for woodwinds and percussion."
-Maxine Cushing Gray, Argus
"The scoring for the music is lively [and] varied…Pasatieri combines the traditional and contemporary elements into the design of his opera."
-William J. Bagley, Northgate Journal Seattle
"Pasatieri has won his gamble, taking the best of three falls (acts) from the difficult opponent embodied in Unamuno’s text…The beautifully written trio [in Act III]…is the musical climax of the opera, at just the right moment."
-Irving Kolodin, Saturday Review
"The world premiere of Thomas Pasatieri’s Black Widow was a triumph for composer and cast. …Pasatieri is one of today’s remarkable composers. He has a special gift for vocal writing, using the human voice as a singing instrument in limits and design that are beautiful and contributory to the action."
-Hilmar Grondahl, The Oregonian
"It is probably the greatest tribute to Pasatieri, as a composer for the theater, to say that he has made his lyrical music serve the drama and the singers at all times, something of a rarity in contemporary opera."
-John Voorhees, Seattle Times
"…an intensely dramatic, richly lyrical work, in which music and drama are effectively integrated to create a compelling musical-theater experience… Black Widow is in English, and because of Pasatieri’s remarkable skill in writing for the human voice… most of the sung language— certainly the words that are essential to the drama— are easily understandable."
-Wayne Johnson, The Seattle Times
"Mr Pasatieri’s score powerfully conveys the sense of strain and struggle…In moments of poignancy, the scoring achieves a gentleness that is never cloying."
-Richard D. Fletcher, The Christian Science Monitor
"The capacity audience in the Opera House stood and cheered last night when composer Thomas Pasatieri appeared on stage after the world premiere of his latest work Black Widow by the Seattle Opera. Well the audience should have. For it had seen what was probably one of the most intensely theatrical operas ever staged in this area… Pasatieri has written a highly lyrical opera with some splendid music… In many ways it is a most depressing work, doom dogging all these people… But it is so dramatic, so wonderfully concentrated that one doesn’t really grow morbid."
"…an uncommon flair for words… Pasatieri’s music in surprisingly expressionistic for one of his generation, and he handles his small forces with craft and skill. Every one of nineteen instruments is exploited to its utmost potential of characterization."
-Ann M. Lingg, Opera News
"Thomas Pasatieri’s score takes the audience on an emotional rollercoaster, from romance and harmony to deception and dissonance. There is not one moment in the production at which music, text, and vocals aren’t all working towards the same goal. The collaboration is impeccable."
"Pasatieri’s operas are well crafted and imbued with a flowing theatrical naturalness.
He truly is an heir to the verismo tradition of Puccini, Leoncavallo and Mascagni."
-Arlo McKinnon, Opera News
"Pasatieri’s dense post-romantic music is radiant…
…a peerless night at the opera, both musically and theatrically, and “The Seagull” should be performed more frequently."
-Victor Wheeler, ClassicalSource.com
"Thomas Pasatieri has written seventeen operas in a frankly emotional, lyrical vernacular, rich in passion and melody, though prominent figures in the musical establishment used to frown on such things. Still, he persisted, pleasing audiences and winning prestigious commissions in the process. For Houston Grand Opera's first world premiere, Pasatieri chose as source material Chekhov's The Seagull…. Given its premiere in 1974 (when the composer was not yet thirty), The Seagull was well received but quickly forgotten. Pasatieri eventually went to Hollywood, where he is a respected orchestrator of film scores (The Little Mermaid, American Beauty, The Shawshank Redemption, etc.). However, returning to Seagull (and revising it) for a recent revival at the Manhattan School of Music, he says he's ready to write for the stage again. That's an intriguing, entirely welcome prospect."
"…an engaging work providing a marvelous lyrical flow…Pasatieri is a master at producing post-Puccini lyricism."
-D. Rane Danubian, www.artssf.com
"The chain of suffering, anguish, and death is communicated very well to the audience…a fusion of language, theatre and vocals. As flamboyant divas, villainous intellectuals, aspiring actresses and self-doubling writers, they triumph in examining their lives and what they are living for through the powerful medium of opera."
-Asya Passinsky, The Daily Califonian Online
"The young composer was born to write dramatic and vocal music. It pours out of him— for the orchestra, for the voices, in one diverse, expressive lyric outburst after another, tonal and atonal, always suited to the characters who sing them."
-Hubert Saal, Newsweek
"Pasatieri writes the way he likes, which means straight into the teeth of contemporary thought. He is thoroughly, heart and soul, a conservative and a romanticist. He believes… in luscious harmonies, in orchestration contrived for the most part never to interfere with the singers on stage, in set pieces… which provide fine bravura moments for his cast… the opera as a whole is a warm and communicative work, and the music carried the emotional burden of the play successfully."
"…the dramatic and beautiful product of a gifted composer."
-Michelle Krisel, Aspen Times
"The score was grippingly dramatic, yet fluid and expressive, from the first ominous measures that set the tragic mood, continuing with skillful instrumentation and deft vocal writing…Pasatieri wrote stunning choruses and smaller ensembles."
"…Pasatieri does his job well, using music that through its appropriate mirroring of the mid-19th century period and the pensive Jamesian mood is never at odds with the story. Pasatieri doesn’t try to flaunt his precocity. His is firmly crafted, considerate, often inspired writing that helps turn Washington Square into a first-rate piece of music drama."
-Bill Zakariasen, New York Daily News
"Washington Square is a hit. Thomas Pasatieri’s opera is a successful blending of the many elements that make up opera."
-John Guinn, Detroit Free Press
"He is particularly adept at writing vocal ensembles, as well as solo arias, always revealing an expert understanding of the capabilities of the singing voice…Several duets and trios are joys to the ear, but most stunning is the octet of Act II."
-John Scheider, Opera News
"This is opera as theatre, rich in drama…Pasatieri’s score is a commendable translation of Jamesian tone…An exciting production to be a part of, as audience and performer, Washington Square has been inscribed in American opera."
-Sharon H. Polansky, The Augusta Chronicle
"…a musical experience which is admittedly contemporary, but which is also lyrical and which is above all totally American…Those who attended were richly rewarded."
-John G. Schaeffer, Augusta Herald
"…the work is both faithful to the essence of James and inspired opera. Pasatieri’s score bursts with vitality. There are fourteen separate scenes in the three acts, richly diverse in musical devices and settings, from a solemn hymn to comic patter…his vocal writing is striking, leaping up and down the register with demanding speed and dexterity, yet always natural to the ear…Above all else, he is a man of the theater. And opera needs that."
-Hubert Saal, Newsweek
"…the opera offers much strength and interest…the work has a sense of forceful theater."
-Robert Jacobson, Opera News
"The score is coherent, tasteful and, was thoroughly operatic in its impact."
-Allen Hughes, The New York Times
"Pasatieri does, however, compose in a long, undulating vocal line, avoiding the jagged, sawtoothed vocal figures favored by many contemporary composers…It is filled with soaring and searing dramatic passages…This opera has proved it can sing."
-Peter Wynne, The Sunday Record
"New Yorker Tom Pasatieri finally became a prophet with honor in his home city through the fine production of his Washington Square by the New York Lyric."
-Bill Zakariasen, Daily News
"The world premiere of Washington Square by the Michigan Opera Company reveals that exciting phenomenon of a composer who is definitely going somewhere…"
-Andrew Mack, Medical Center News
"Pasatieri’s music is lyrical and varied, with heavy emphasis on romantic melody. The music imparts a feeling of serenity and love, or forceful rage, according to the situation."
-Clarence E. Persinger, The South End
"Washington Square is a most listenable, quite enjoyable opera."
-Robert Delaney, The Detroit Monitor
"Pasatieri [has an] uncanny knack for the stage for the stage and a real penchant for striking theatrical effects. He always seems to come up with the right move for the moment…solid technique and craftsmanship… it would have to go down as a considerable, and often stunning success."
-Irwin Shainman, Berkshire Eagle
"The action flows smoothly, his characters are given time to reveal themselves, and there is everywhere a fine sense of timing."
-Robert Yanal, The Detroit Sun
"…the new piece exercised great appeal…[the] five performances here proved vastly accessible and attractive…Pasatieri’s writing has the virtues of simplicity of style, creating an emotional climate and propelling the action and text along. Scored for 15 players, textures are generally kept lucid and generally delicate, even when big climaxes are achieved."
-Robert Jacobson, Variety
"Washington Square proved to be a work which should join the repertoire of many opera companies. There was never a boring moment throughout the opera...The octet is a vocal tour de force and the orchestration was resilient and full."
"Pasatieri is clearly an accomplished composer with a remarkable gift for writing a highly singable vocal line."
-Wayne Johnson, Seattle Times
"…most moving and strongly dramatic…It is modern in idiom, but Pasatieri is always concerned about the human voice and writes carefully for it. Calvary is a fascinating opera, strongly structured with a fine feeling of lyric unity"
-Rolf Stromberg, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"…a work of considerable power and beauty…Pasatieri has given this provocative and moving text sympathetic musical response…The score itself is quite sumptuous, even sensuous, and in its agitato moments is a lively participant in the tragic and ironic proceedings"
"This work…has been tailored for television and uses the electronic medium to advantage."
-Kay Gardella, N.Y. Daily News
"…a great success – a gripping, moving hour of musical-dramatic entertainment…"
-John Rockwell, Los Angeles Times
"The story is retold with compelling fervor…As a musical drama, it is a television breakthrough."
-Dwight Newton, Self-Examiner
"You can’t hum a few bars from The Trial of Mary Lincoln; [but] you can be devastated by an hour that tightens its grip on the awareness until the spring snaps and the key falls away into darkness."
"Pasatieri brings together a variety of compositional elements, resulting in an outcome distinctively his own…It is the mark of an exceptional talent that Pasatieri was able to sustain a largely intellectual discussion over a period of nearly an hour."
-Irving Kolodin, Saturday Review
"The Trial of Mary Lincoln…is authentic American history and this heightens its power, but the skill of librettist and composer are the alchemy which gives the work stirring life…[Pasatieri] writes melody which can be sung, though not always with spontaneous ease. Yet he is knowledgeable about what the voice can do and sensitive in his style to its needs and possibilities."
-Harriett Johnson, New York Post
"A high point of drama was achieved without overwritten musical passages and embellishments that would have obscured the drama…Pasatieri managed to find the exact spot for Mary Lincoln’s major aria, leading into it without fussy obviousness and coupling it with the intense visual drama of which this medium [television] is capable."
-Gordon R. Gibson, Opera Journal
"…the score by Thomas Pasatieri, a 26-year-old composer, is a felicitous blend of arias, ensembles, waltzes and lullabies… The work, in short, is that rare specimen likely to appeal to the professional and to the viewer who couldn’t care less about opera, primarily because he doesn’t know much about opera and what he does know is distorted by social and cultural misconceptions."
-John J. O’Connor, New York Times
"…Thomas Pasatieri has created a mini-masterpiece…The Trial of Mary Lincoln is a television gem."
-Hal Bates, The Hollywood Reporter
"…Mr. Pasatieri’s score…creates mood and heightens the drama…it provides a substantial and sonorous background for the story."
-Herbert Kupferberg, The National Observer
"Pasatieri composed a score that always worked with the human voice, supporting and enhancing it…[he] writes melodically but the role was also a difficult one with a challenging range."
-John Vorhees, Seattle Times
"…the work of a sincere composer who takes his tradition seriously and writes for the voice with unusual skill. The texture of his scoring for orchestra is not only expert but dramatically effective and pleasing to the ear."