B i o g r a p h y
Heralded by Opera News as “clearly a name to watch,” conductor Pacien Mazzagatti has garnered considerable critical acclaim for his work conducting opera both in the United States and abroad.
He has served as Principal Conductor of the New York City Opera since January 2016. During his tenure he has led several important productions in a wide array of repertoire, including the New York premiere of Péter Eötvös’s Angels in America, the America premiere of Spanish-baroque composer Antonio Literes’s Los elementos, the New York premiere of Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne, and critically acclaimed performances of Italo Montemezzi's rarely heard masterpiece L'amore dei tre re.
He will open New York City Opera’s 75th season in September 2018 with performances of Robert Ward’s The Crucible directed by Francesca Zambello.
His recent notable performances include Porgy and Bess at Mexico City’s famed Palacio de Bellas Artes, a Gala at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall celebrating the life and legacy of Julius Rudel, Benjamin Britten’s Turn of the Screw at Symphony Space, productions of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta, and Gian-Carlo Menotti’s Saint of Bleecker Street at Dicapo Opera Theatre, as well as the world premiere of Thomas Pasatieri’s The Martyrs, featuring soprano Catherine Malfitano.
His 2010-2011 season commenced with performances of Thomas Pasatieri’s The Seagull in New York. Shortly thereafter, he conducted its European premiere at the National Theater in Szeged, Hungary. Also in that season, he guest conducted for the third year in a row at the Polish National Opera in Warsaw.
His engagements for the 2009-10 season included: performances at the Polish National Opera of a program of chamber, symphonic and operatic works of Kurt Weill with choreography by Krzysztof Pastor; his debut at the Great Theater of Poznan performing Prokofiev’s masterwork Romeo and Juliet, the world premiere of Francesco Ciluffo’s opera Il caso Mortara and performances of Rigoletto and Madama Butterfly at New York’s Dicapo Opera Theater. Also in 2009 he was selected as the music director for the 75th anniversary tour of Porgy and Bess. This production opened in February 2010 and has since toured dozens of cities in the United States.
In 2008 he conducted performances of Mozart’s Cosí fan tutte at Sarasota Opera that received rave reviews in both the American and European press. Later that season he debuted at the Polish National Opera, leading the first performance in Warsaw in over 60 years of George Gershwin’s masterpiece Porgy and Bess. He also performed Porgy and Bess with the Russian Philharmonic in Moscow’s International House of Music and at St. Petersburg’s historic Mikhailovsky Theater. He then traveled to Szeged, Hungary to conduct the Hungarian premiere of Robert Ward’s The Crucible for the Mezzo International Opera Competition and Festival. This production premiered in New York at Dicapo Opera Theatre to rave reviews in the New York press. The performances in Hungary were broadcast to thirty-eight countries across Europe on the French television network Mezzo.
In December of 2008 he conducted the Opera Orchestra of New York with opera stars Veronica Villaroel and Fabio Armiliato in a gala in Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Giacomo Puccini’s birth. Later that season he collaborated with star tenor Marcello Giordani and the Fresno Grand Opera Orchestra in a concert of Italian arias and songs.
Mr. Mazzagatti made his conducting debut at New York’s Dicapo Opera Theatre in 2003 leading performances of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. He was immediately re-engaged and over the course of next two seasons he conducted Madama Butterfly, Falstaff, The Magic Flute, La traviata, and the New York premiere of Robert Ward’s Claudia Legare. Most notably in 2005 he led the Dicapo orchestra, the combined Fairfield Chorale, Amor Artis and Dicapo choirs and soloists from the Bolshoi and Metropolitan Opera in a performance of Rachmaninoff’s choral symphony The Bells and his seldom-heard opera Francesca da Rimini. In his review for The New York Times Bernard Holland remarked “The chorus sent out warm gales of sound…The orchestra was bathed in a lovely indeterminate haze…The young Pacien Mazzagatti conducted all of these people with energy and considerable effect.”
In 2007 Mr. Mazzagatti returned to Dicapo to conduct Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. In his review of the production for the British publication Musical Opinion, veteran theater critic Clive Barnes wrote “The young and promising American conductor Pacien Mazzagatti did splendidly.” At the end of the 2008-09 season, having conducted over a dozen operas there, he was named Music Director of Dicapo Opera Theater.
In addition to his conducting in New York, Mr. Mazzagatti has been a regular conductor for the New England touring company National Lyric Opera. With National Lyric he has led critically acclaimed performances of Faust, Madama Butterfly, La bohème, La traviata, Roméo et Juliette and Turandot.
An accomplished pianist, Mr. Mazzagatti began his musical studies at a very early age. At nineteen years old he completed his Bachelor of Music degree from Temple University in piano under the tutelage of Alexander Fiorillo. Subsequently he earned a Masters degree and Doctorate at The Manhattan School of music where he was a student of the eminent American pianist Constance Keene. Mr. Mazzagatti has won several prizes at national and international piano competitions including: The Stravinsky Awards International Piano Competition, The International Young Artists Competition, and the Concorso Pianistico Città di Senigallia. He studied conducting privately with Giampaolo Bracali.