Three Way: Nashville Opera - Robert Paterson/David Cote

Three Way: A Trio of One Act Operas
By Nashville Opera, David Cote

Nashville Opera | Robert Paterson/David Cote

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American Modern Recordings is excited to release the world premiere recording of Three Way, a "titillating and clever" (TimeOur New York) trio of one-act operas for eight singers and chamber orchestra, and hailed as "an excellent comic opera that will appeal to audiences well steeped in opera, as well as those who are new to the experience" (Opera News).

With a gorgeous, colorful score by Robert Paterson and a clever, witty, and heartfelt libretto by David Cote, Three Way explores the possible future – and the eternal questions –of love, sex, and need. The Companion is about Maya and her live-in lover Joe, a biomorphic android. Safe Word explores an encounter between a dominatrix and her businessman client that goes places no one expects. Masquerade dramatizes a party at a mansion in which four couples don masks and shed their outer selves. 

Featuring the Nashville Opera conducted by Dean Williamson, with Eliza Bonet, Melisa Bonetti, Samuel LevineWes MasonDanielle PastinCourtney Ruckman, Jordan Rutter, and Matthew Treviño. Produced by multi-Grammy® winning producer Blanton Alspaugh and recorded at world-famous Ocean Way Nashville Studios.

Press Quotes

...thoroughly accessible and enjoyable… plenty of fun. That’s not a word generally associated with opera but it’s entirely appropriate here. [Three Way] proves that opera done correctly can be as relatable as anything on television or at the multiplex.
— Santosh Venkataraman, Opera Wire

About Nashville Opera

Nashville Opera, Tennessee’s largest professional opera company, is dedicated to creating legendary productions and transformative artistic experiences that entertain, elevate, and shatter expectations. As one of the most successful regional companies in the United States, the company presents four mainstage productions performed in three different halls to 13,000 people annually and numerous programs each season that demonstrate the company’s commitment to artistic integrity, community engagement, and cultural impact.

The company values the opportunity to be both a torchbearer for the art form’s tradition and a celebrant of new works and talents. To exhibit the company’s dedication to produce and promote new works, Nashville Opera has presented three world premiere operas since its inception in 1981. These include Marcus Hummon’s Surrender Road (2005), Robert Aldridge and Herschel Garfein’s Elmer Gantry (2007), and most recently, Robert Paterson and David Cote’s Three Way (2017), which was a co-production with American Opera Projects.

Hailed as “one of the most interesting stage directors in the regional market today” by Opera News, John Hoomes is the fearless and creative CEO & Artistic Director of Nashville Opera and the visionary behind these new and contemporary works that have garnered national attention. In June 2016 New York City Opera presented Hoomes’s acclaimed production of Florencia en el Amazonas, earning praise from The Wall Street Journal as “a solid choice” made by City Opera. The remount of Three Way at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in June 2017 marked Nashville Opera’s second New York appearance in two years, establishing the company’s ability to generate great art for its city and region and its ability to export it.

Robert Paterson. Photo Credit:  Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

Robert Paterson. Photo Credit: Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

About Robert Paterson

Robert Paterson has been cited as a “modern day master” ( and his work praised as the “highlight of the program” (The New York Times). Audiences and critics love his music for its elegance, wit, structural integrity, and wonderful sense of color. Paterson was named The Composer of The Year from the Classical Recording Foundation, and honored with a performance and celebration at Carnegie’s Weill Hall in 2011. His music has been on the Grammy ballot yearly, and his works were selected as ‘Best Music of 2012’ on National Public Radio. His works have been played by the Louisville Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Austin Symphony, Vermont Symphony, BargeMusic, Albany Symphony’s Dogs of Desire, among others. Paterson’s choral works were recorded by Musica Sacra under maestro Kent Tritle, with a world premiere performance at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. The 2017-18 season highlights include The Nashville Opera world premiere of Three Way , followed by the New York City premiere at BAM in Brooklyn. The New York Premiere of his opera, The Whole Truth with a libretto by Mark Campbell, sold out in 2016 at Dixon Place in New York City. Other recent premieres include Shine for the American Brass Quintet, Moon Music for the Claremont Trio, and Graffiti Canons for the Volti Choir of San Francisco. Notable awards include the Utah Arts Festival Annual Commission, the Copland Award, and the ASCAP Young Composer Awards. Paterson has received a three-year Music Alive! grant from the League of American Orchestras and New Music USA, as well as fellowships to Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the Aspen Music Festival. Paterson holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music (BM), Indiana University (MM), and Cornell University (DMA). Paterson gives master classes at colleges and universities, most recently at the Curtis Institute of Music, New York University, and the Cleveland Institute of Music. Paterson is the Artistic Director of the American Modern Ensemble and resides in NYC with his wife Victoria, and their son, Dylan. For more information, visit

About David Cote

David Cote. Photo Credit:  Jenny Woodward

David Cote. Photo Credit: Jenny Woodward

David Cote is a playwright, librettist and journalist based in New York. Opera libretti include The Scarlet Ibis and Fade (Stefan Weisman) and the Black Lives Matter monodrama for baritone and orchestra Invitation to a Die-In (Nkeiru Okoye). David’s song cycle with Robert Paterson, In Real Life, had its New York premiere in April.  His choral works with Paterson, Did You Hear? and Snow Day, were sung by Musica Sacra, conducted by Kent Tritle and released on Eternal Reflections (American Modern Recordings).  Plays include Otherland (O’Neill National Playwrights Conference finalist) and Fear of Art. As a journalist and critic, David writes about theater and other topics for The Village Voice, What Should We Do? and elsewhere. He was the longest serving theater editor and chief drama critic of Time Out New York (2003-17). His reporting and reviews have also appeared in American Theatre, Opera News, The Guardian and The New York Times. Fellowships: The MacDowell Colony. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, audiobook narrator Katherine Kellgren.

About Dean Williamson

Dean Williamson. Photo Credit:  Alan Alabastro

Dean Williamson. Photo Credit: Alan Alabastro

Dean Williamson is widely known throughout the United States for his perceptive and commanding conducting. His ambitious and versatile career in standard and contemporary repertoire earns the conductor worldwide acclaim. As music director for Nashville Opera, Williamson has conducted performances of Tosca, Maria de Buenos Aires, and Susannah, Don Giovanni, Glory Denied, Die Fledermaus, Hydrogen Jukebox, Cosi fan tutte, Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas, Carly Simon’s Romulus Hunt, La fanciulla del West, Roméo et Juliette, Samson et Dalila, La Cenerentola, The Difficulty of Crossing a Field, Michael Nyman’s The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and Il barbiere di Siviglia and Three Way, which he also conducted at Brooklyn Academy of Music. 

For his New York City and Lincoln Center début, Williamson lead the New York City Opera orchestra in a production of Florencia en el Amazonas to which the critics at The New York Time raved “Dean Williamson drew colorful, shimmering playing from the City Opera orchestra.” Additionally, he was honored with a nomination for the 2015 Emmy Awards for the televised broadcast of the production of Le comte Ory that he conducted for Des Moines Metro Opera. 

Additional highlights from past seasons include returns to Seattle Opera for Il barbiere di Siviglia, Les contes d’Hoffmann, Pagliacci, Turn of the Screw, and Le nozze di Figaro; The Rake’s Progress, Don Pasquale, La Cenerentola, and Falstaff at Wolf Trap Opera; La bohème with Opera Santa Barbara; Die Zauberflöte with Opera Colorado; Rigoletto at Arizona Opera; a reprisal of Carmina Burana for Spectrum Dance; Il barbiere di Siviglia and Carmen at the Opera Theatre


Act I "The Companion": Introduction
Act I "The Companion": I’m home. Joe?
Act I "The Companion": Joe’s Aria: What Did I Do Today?
Act I "The Companion": Anything Else?
Act I "The Companion": Interlude (Adagio)
Act I "The Companion": I Told You
Act I "The Companion": Maya’s Aria: The Perfect Man
Act I "The Companion": Perfect Sounds Kind of Boring, Maya
Act I "The Companion": Dax’s Aria: Broken Machines
Act I "The Companion": Interude: Scene Change
Act I "The Companion": Joe. Joe? Joe?! I’m Talking To You
Act I "The Companion": Excuse Me, Someone called?
Act I "The Companion": Open Codehub Channel Five, Joe
Act I "The Companion": I Have Been Collecting Data
Act I "The Companion": Joe’s Aria: You Were My First Love
Act I "The Companion": That's It, He's Gone?
Act II "Safe Word": Make Them Wait
Act II "Safe Word": Client Enters
Act II "Safe Word": Client’s Aria: A Man Needs
Act II "Safe Word": You Keep Singing, You Get The Ball Gag
Act II "Safe Word": Domme’s Aria: Pain and Release
Act II "Safe Word": Ready?
Act II "Safe Word": Polly Puddlepanties
Act II "Safe Word": It’s Not Working!
Act II "Safe Word": In Fact, We’re Going to Switch
Act II "Safe Word": Client’s Aria: I Know Your Type
Act II "Safe Word": Let Go
Act II "Safe Word": Domme’s Aria: You Don’t Own Me
Act II "Safe Word": Instrumental: Domme Releases Client
Act II "Safe Word": You Really Don’t Need To Tip

Act III "Masquerade": Introduction: Hi! I’m Jessie and This is Marcus.
Act III "Masquerade": Interlude: Hi Everybody!
Act III "Masquerade": Cis—spelled C-I-S
Act III "Masquerade": If Our Friends Saw Us Here, They’d Die!
Act III "Masquerade": Good Evening, Friends
Act III "Masquerade": Jesse, Babe? A Second?
Act III "Masquerade": Children! Time to Go Over The Rules
Act III "Masquerade": Go Off Alone, Find A Room, And Change
Act III "Masquerade": Transition: Moderato
Act III "Masquerade": What Shall I Be Tonight?
Act III "Masquerade": Instrumental: Swing Style
Act III "Masquerade": I’m Feeling a Connection Here
Act III "Masquerade": Interlude (Placid)
Act III "Masquerade": Duettino: I Feel Like I Should Kiss You
Act III "Masquerade": Transition: Cheerful
Act III "Masquerade": Watching, Apart
Act III "Masquerade": Kyle’s Aria: Why So Shy?
Act III "Masquerade": Everything Okay?
Act III "Masquerade": Connie’s Aria: Making Friends
Act III "Masquerade": Larry’s Aria: Not My Night
Act III "Masquerade": Brief Interlude
Act III "Masquerade": Jessie and Marcus Duet Aria: So, That Happened
Act III "Masquerade": Have we met?
Act III "Masquerade": Happy? Happy? What An Odd Question
Act III "Masquerade": Instrumental: Shadow Orgy
Act III "Masquerade": Boysenberry
Act III "Masquerade": We’re Sad to See You Go, But it Was a Grand Party

TOTAL TIME: 117'01"

Arias from the World Premiere...

Images from the World Premiere...

Press Quotes From The World Premiere...

An excellent comic opera that will appeal to audiences well steeped in opera, as well as those who are new to the experience … Paterson is a highly skilled composer who writes in a melodic, tonal style. His versatility was most impressive and his scoring was superb. Cote’s libretto was lively and delicious … John Hoomes’s stage direction was clever, efficient and engaging and Dean Williamson conducted with elegance and enthusiasm.
— Opera News
A titillating and clever comic opera – the piece explores the future of sex and love, with all the humor and sorrow those subjects require.
— Time Out New York
The libretto was provocative and relevant to the 21st century. The music was interesting and accessible with real arias. The libretto was brilliant…What a pleasure to hear music that is accessible and lined up well with the libretto, a feature missing from most contemporary American opera … Major props to composer Robert Paterson … the production values were excellent. … a delightful evening.
— Voce di meche
Cleverly told over three acts, this was a sophisticated, exceptionally romantic, and even tender takeon the silly vagaries of sex. Young newcomers to opera will delight in this lighthearted work. It’s accessible and well sung; it’s also smartly eccentric. … Clearly the kind of three way worth having.
— Parterre Box
In three acts, the composer and librettist explore a trio of carnal situations, often with surprisingly touching – and funny – results. … Paterson’s score is tonal but eclectic … his writing showcases the voice naturally. [Cote’s] concision and comic timing have a Sondheim-esque edge … his words are well-chiseled, offering plenty of laughs, even wry comments on the operatic genre itself. … If Three Way perhaps brings up more questions than it answers – about sex, love, death, fear, and the need to connect with other humans – it does so with wit and sophistication… Though the opera is intended for adults, there’s no nudity in this smart, economical production, and sexual activities are presented in suggestive silhouettes.
— Musical America
The carefully wrought storytelling and generous, open and inquiring spirit of the work, its depth of character and its wit, are the farthest thing from quotidian and much to be prized.
— Travalanche
While gender-bending performers have graced opera stages for centuries, Masquerade contains what may be the first characters that self-identify as gender fluid in song.
Paterson conveyed full emotional resonance, even in comic punch lines.
— OPERA Shanghai
An intriguing treatise on power, passion and human connection... Highly accessible! Cote has an obvious gift for humor, yet there also are moments of genuine tenderness. Paterson’s music is mesmerizing, beautifully supporting the story... Paterson’s music is rich and vibrant; Cote’s libretto offers an unexpected blend of whimsy and wistfulness.
— The Tennessean
Strikingly sonorous ensemble writing… breezily urbane… Eliza Bonet and Matthew Trevino did so well as the antagonists of Safe Word that it seemed only fitting that, as Jillian and Bruce, they oversaw the frolicking of Masquerade. Danielle Pastin brought out Maya’s frustrations, Courtney Ruckman displayed a pert lyrical soprano as ‘a wife seeking spice’ and Melisa Bonetti and Jordan Rutter stood out as the postgender couple.
— Opera Magazine