Robert Petillo

"Tenor Robert Petillo is one of the enduring joys of the local early music scene." --The Washington Post

About Robert

Listen: Rob's Playlist


16 March 2019 @ 4:00 P.M. St. Columba's Episcopal Church 4201 Albemarle St NW, Washington, DC 20016 Rosa Lamoureaux, Barbara Hollinshead, Robert Petillo, and Mark Duer present a program of 17th and 18th century gems for small vocal ensemble with strings and organ.

31 March 2019 @ 3:00 P.M. Duke University Chapel 401 Chapel Dr, Durham, NC 27708 Robert will be the Evangelist for a performance of Bach's St. Matthew Passion in Mendelssohn's version of 1841.

7 April 2019 @ 7:00 P.M. Lexington Presbyterian Church 120 South Main Street Lexington, VA 24450 The Rockbridge Oratorio Society presents a program of Handel Works including the Utrecht Jubilate, Chandos Anthem No. 9, and the Foundling Hospital Anthem.

Recent Performances

10 February 2018 Schubert's Winterreise with Todd Fickley at the piano -- performance for the Eliot Society

18 March 2018 @ 3:00 PM J.S. Bach Johannes Passion (St. John Passion - Evangelist) with The Washington Bach Consort

29 April 2018 @ 3:00 PM J.S. Bach Mass in B Minor with The Washington Bach Consort

30 April 2018 @ 12:15 PM J.S. Bach Gelobet sei der Herr, mein Gott (BWV 129) with The Washington Bach Consort

1 May 2018 @ 12:10 PM J.S. Bach Gelobet sei der Herr, mein Gott (BWV 129) with The Washington Bach Consort

Wednesday, May 2, 2018 7:30 PM Opera Lafayette and the National Gallery Singers led by Ryan Brown Terrace Theater, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (map)

Thursday, May 3, 2018 7:00 PM Opera Lafayette and the National Gallery Singers led by Ryan Brown The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, The Metropolitan Museum of Art NY, NY (map)

14 October 2018 @ 5:00 P.M. National Presbyterian Church 4101 Nebraska Avenue, NW, Washington, DC Choralis presents "Century of the Common Man" Rob will sing the Agnus Dei tenor solo in Britten's War Requiem.

5 November 2018 @ 12:00 P.M. St. Peter's R.C. Church Capitol Hill 313 2nd Street SE, Washington, DC 20003 The Washington Bach Consort presents J.S. Bach's Cantata 139 Wohl dem, der sich auf seinen Gott

6 November 2018 @ 12:00 P.M. Church of the Ephipany 1317 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20005 The Washington Bach Consort presents J.S. Bach's Cantata 139 Wohl dem, der sich auf seinen Gott

11 November 2018 @ 4:30 P.M. National Presbyterian Church 4101 Nebraska Ave NW, Washington, DC 2001 The City Choir of Washington presents a WW I Centennial program of remembrance, in which Robert will sing Gerald Finzi's setting of poems by George Peele and Ralph Knevet titled A Farewell To Arms. Also on the program is Finzi's In terra pax and R. Vaughan Williams' Dona nobis pacem.

2 December 2018 @ 2:00 P.M. Vienna Presbyterian Church 124 Park St NE Vienna, VA 22180 Choralis presents Handel's Messiah Part One as a sing-along.


Robert Petillo was fluid and authoritative in the Evangelist’s Gospel recitatives. His high range, precise and floating in quality, was well suited to the arias, too, as in “Frohe Hirten, eilt,” where he was supported by the extraordinary obbligato of traverso soloist Colin St-Martin.

--Charles Downey 10 December 2017, reviewing the Washington Bach Consort's Christmas Oratorio in Washington Classical Review

As the Evangelist, tenor Robert Petillo conveyed the sense of the Christmas story with fervor. With a delivery that ranged from sweet and dulcet to declamatory, Petillo was always consistent and thematically threaded together the age old Christmas story seamlessly.

--Patrick D. McCoy, 11 December 2017

Marsh also drew fine performances from his soloists, especially tenor Robert Petillo, whose Evangelist was artfully communicative....

--Patrick Rucker, 10 December 2017 reviewing the Bach Consort's Christmas Oratorio in The Washington Post

After the well-known opening chorus is framed by kettle drums and trumpets, the Evangelist starts singing the Christmas story. Consort veteran Robert Petillo impressed with his laser-focused voice and heart-felt interpretation throughout. He combined the right amount of phrasing and expression with an appropriate amount of vibrato.

-- Roger Custer, 10 December 2017 on his musical blog BWV 1129 "Concert Review: Christmas Oratorio Features Vocal Fireworks"

The Ascension Oratorio: Lobet Gott in Seinem Reichen, BWV 11 seemed to be a concerted effort to summon the angels of God...Tenor Robert Petillo shined throughout the work. Not only did he sing with a lovely tone, but brought an emotional bearing to each phrase."

-- Patrick McCoy, The Examiner April 30, 2012

( complete review : Examiner review of WBC 4/30/12 )

Often, composers use musical material from previously composed works in the context of a new one. Bach's Missa Brevis in G minor is a prime example of this common practice... As Maestro Lewis explained to the audience before taking the podium, this particular choral work has quotes from the towering Mass on B minor. That was especially evident in the solo aria for tenor, 'Qui Tollis' which seemed to be a more expansive take on a previously musical theme from the larger work. Here, tenor Robert Petillo gave a sterling performance with elegant phrasing that was the perfect vehicle for the clarion brilliance of his voice.

--The Washington Post, 29 April 2012 reviewing the "Heaven On Earth" concert by the Washington Bach Consort