Musicological Research, Dramaturgy

With considerable academic writing experience and musical training, I hold to high standards of academic rigor and am also able to tell compelling stories with the historical information I uncover.  To use a crude phrase "I know where the bodies are buried" in terms of sources of information.  I also possess a considerable library/archive of unique sources that I am able to use in furtherance of my research projects.

I specialize in Italian opera and French opera of the 19th century, with special emphasis on less well-known contemporaries of Verdi, such as Saverio Mercadante, Achille Peri, Alessandro Nini, the Ricci brothers, Fromethal Halevy, and Daniel François Auber.  I am recognized as a valuable resource about the works of Giovanni Pacini in particular and am frequently consulted about Pacini's life and operas.

I offer a variety of services including:

  • In-depth historical research for program or liner notes

  • Pre-performance lectures

  • Assistance with preparation of engravings (using Sibelius Ultimate) from public domain manuscripts or published scores

  • Translation of Italian opera libretti and creation of surtitles

 

Artistic Programming/Artistic Direction

I will use my broad and deep knowledge of vocal music and opera to craft engaging, varied thematic recitals or unique, transformative operatic seasons that emphasize both new and forgotten repertoire.  I can also work with individual singers to vary their recital repertoire with unknown pieces that will fit their unique voices.

Critical Praise

If Women Will Not Be Inclined (Vertical Player Repertory)

"The program ... researched and curated by Thea Cook and presented as a benefit for the New York Anti-Violence Project, was not arranged in any tedious chronological way but darted about among the four composers and many styles, rendering its surprises all the more surprising." - John Yohalem, Parterre.com

Malvina di Scozia (Vertical Player Repertory)

"The story of its unearthing may be as interesting as the story of the opera itself. Production Curator Thea Cook has long collected the works of one Giovanni Pacini, an Italian composer of the 19th c. This prolific composer is known to have composed about 75 operas which were rather successful in his time, although eclipsed by the more famous Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, and ultimately Verdi.  Ultimately Ms. Cook was able to track down a score for Malvina Di Scozia, a turbulent tragedy about a dysfunctional royal family that premiered in Naples in 1851." - Meche Kroop, Voce di Meche

"The amount of work, dedication and passion it takes to put together something of this value and quality are incredible and we cannot but commend VPR and all parties involved for it. The discovery of Giovanni Pacini’s Malvina di Scozia was truly a revelation." - Allegri con Fuoco