Composer Robert Paterson and librettist David Cote have created an effortlessly funny, clever and deeply resonant opera, in which the music and the story fuel one another to create an entertaining and meaningful theatrical experience.
— Opera News
Rarely do we find a postmodern opera that builds in time for audiences to belly laugh, a postmodern opera that encapsulates the complexity and depth of evolving identity and sexuality, and a postmodern opera that is both elegant and accessible. In Nashville Opera’s production of Three Way, with music by Robert Paterson and libretto by David Cote, we find a postmodern opera with all of those things, simultaneously. This production levels the audience’s playing field in a sophisticated way: pairing common, yet updated, operatic tropes with relevant, topical humor and relatable music.
— Schmopera

Written: 2012-16
Duration: 110'
Instrumentation: singers—2 sopranos, 2 mezzo-sopranos, tenor, countertenor, baritone, bass-baritone; ensemble—flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, horn, 2 violins, viola, cello, bass, percussion, piano (doubling synthesizer), conductor.
PublisherBill Holab Music

Available for performance July, 2017

Performance History

World PremiereNashville OperaJohn Hoomes, Director, Dean Williamson, Conductor, January 27, 28 and 29, 2017.
Upcoming NYC Premiere: Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), American Modern EnsembleJohn Hoomes, Director, Dean Williamson, Conductor, June 15, 16, 17 and 18, 2017.
The Companion Semi-Staged Performance: American Opera Projects and American Modern Ensemble, Walker Lewis, director, Tyson Deaton, conductor, presented by Ear Heart Music, Roulette, Brooklyn, NY, April 22, 2014.
Safe Word Un-Staged Performance: Fort Worth Opera Frontiers Showcase, Tyson Deaton, conductor, Fort Worth, TX, May 4-9. 2014.
Safe Word Un-Staged Workshop PerformanceAmerican Opera Projects (AOP) as part of AOP's Composers & The Voice program, Brooklyn, NY, September, 7th and 9th, 2012.


Three playful one-acts uncover some very private behavior with wit, poignance, and sparkling music!  (Think Sex and the City meets The Twilight Zone.)  THE COMPANION, SAFE WORD, and MASQUERADE explore the future of love, sex, and need with a clever balance of humor and drama.  Their contemporary characters collide at the intersection of power and desire to reveal the true longings of the human heart, and the score is beguilingly melodic and every bit as complex as they are.  Sexy, funny, and a little bit naughty, THREE WAY is a surprising theatrical experience you won’t want to miss!



(3 singers: soprano, tenor and baritone)
Not so far in the future, Maya (soprano) lives with her android lover named Joe (tenor). This interactive programmed Companion looks and sounds human—only better. Still, Maya wants more complexity from Joe. She has technician Dax (baritone) come by to install new experimental software, with surprising results.


(2 singers: mezzo soprano and bass-baritone)
Mistress Salomé (mezzo-soprano) is a high-priced dominatrix in a private dungeon, and today she has a new client (bass-baritone), a cocky businessman. Even though he's the one who pays to be humiliated, he’s prickly and aggressive. The “session” goes to places no one expected.


(8 singers: 2 sopranos, 2 mezzo-sopranos, tenor, countertenor, baritone, bass-baritone)
A party is taking place at a country mansion. It’s not a dinner gathering or holiday celebration: it’s a masquerade, hosted by Pleasure Pilgrims, an online community of sensualists and pleasure seekers. People from all walks of life come to shed outside selves, put on a mask and push the limits of erotic expression. Tonight four couples will face their deepest taboos. 

Synopsis and Libretto © Copyright 2016 David Cote.


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—and beautifully played by the Nashville Opera Orchestra, conducted by Dean Williamson. Cote’s libretto offers an unexpected blend of whimsy and wistfulness.
— The Tennessean
...continuously entertaining... Companion makes one long to see the rest of the work to which it belongs.
— Garden State Journal
Paterson’s score showcased an excellent musical vocabulary and flowed beautifully...
— I Care if You Listen Magazine
Composer Robert Paterson and librettist David Cote have created an effortlessly funny, clever and deeply resonant opera, in which the music and the story fuel one another to create an entertaining and meaningful theatrical experience. The Companion tells a near-futuristic story of a successful career woman, Maya, and her male companion, Joe, an android programmed to fulfill her every desire. Maya is so fixated on having the perfect man that she is oblivious to the advances of Dax, the human service provider who does repairs and runs upgrades on android companions. The thirty-five minute opera is expertly structured and paced. Arias that peer into the universal psychology of each character—and received hearty applause from the audience—while recitative propels the action forward. Paterson amplifies the humor and heartache of Cote’s libretto with a bright and magnificent score, replete with deadpan musical retorts and soaring melodies straight out of Bellini, Puccini or Strauss. The stellar trio of soprano Nancy Allen Lundy as Maya, tenor Brandon Snook as Joe and baritone Kyle Guglielmo as Dax, was each completely invested in the music and the story, which in turn convinced the audience to emotionally invest in The Companion.
— Opera News
...an innovative - and, yes, occasionally explosive - cocktail of opera buffa, sex comedy, science fiction, psychological study and social commentaries, all supported by an appropriately gritty score... wildly, yet smartly, entertaining.
— Classical Music Rocks.net
Review of Fort Worth Opera Frontiers Showcase Performance... This work was the highlight of the entire project, mostly because of its lurid subject matter. it is easy to see why this opera having a great success. The question is: in what opera house?
— TheaterJones.com
Robert Paterson’s brilliant score provided a magical counterpoint… a highly enjoyable comic opera. to the humorous contretemps by revealing the emotional truth of what was really happening instead of being whimsical or humorous... the elements came together in a fun way that made “The Companion” a highly enjoyable comic opera.
— StageBuddy.com