Music: Rite of Maturation

Nothing testifies to the growing up of a regional American opera company quite like a world premiere. With a big floodlight pawing a cloudy Detroit sky, the Michigan Opera Theater enjoyed this rite of maturation last week. On most grounds, the company's choice of a composer could not be faulted. New York City's Thomas Pasatieri, 30, is as hot a property in regional opera as Neil Simon is on Broadway. Pasatieri has written 13 operas and had most of them performed, either in cities like Seattle, Houston and Baltimore or on television.

His latest,...