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Media Contact: Liz Wooley,
wooleyl@uncsa.edu, 336/734-2924




May 11, 13 and 15 at Agnes de Mille Theatre

WINSTON-SALEM – Texan life will imitate Italian opera in the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute’s production of Thomas Pasatieri’s The Hotel Casablanca on May 11, 13 and 15 in the deMille Theatre at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA).

Set in Texas in 1948, The Hotel Casablanca is a comedy in two acts and tells the story of Tom and Tallulah Carter, owners of the Double T Ranch, and their nephew Charles, who is visiting from New York. Included in the story are Raul and Lucy Perez, guests of the Carters, and Miss Pooder and Veronique of the Hotel Casablanca. A pair of suspenders, a love of opera and a seedy hotel set the stage with suspicion and misunderstanding in the style of Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro).

Composed for nine principal singers and sung in English, the opera will be directed by Steven LaCosse with musical direction by James Allbritten and vocal preparation by Angela Vanstory Ward. All are faculty-artists of the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute of UNCSA where Allbritten serves as Artistic Director, LaCosse as Managing Director, and Ward as Principal Vocal Coach.

Photo by Allen G. Aycock

Tallulah Carter (Amanda Moody) is disguised as Madame Butterfly and Lucy Perez (Katherine Ardoin) as Groucho Marx to catch Tallulah’s husband in the act of adultery at The Hotel Casablanca playing May 11, 13 and 15 at UNCSA’s deMille Theatre.

With music and an original libretto by Thomas Pasatieri, The Hotel Casablanca is based on Georges Feydeau’s play A Flea in Her Ear. The opera had its world premiere in the summer of 2007. It was the first world premiere produced by the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera program and was done in collaboration with the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre.  

Composer Thomas Pasatieri was born October 20, 1945 in New York. By the age of ten Pasatieri had established himself as an accomplished performing pianist, and at fifteen he began his work as a composer. As a teenager, he studied with the renowned French teacher Nadia Boulanger. He entered The Juilliard School at age sixteen and went on to become the school's first recipient of a doctoral degree.

After entering the Juilliard School in 1962, Pasatieri began his compositional studies with Vittorio Giannini, UNCSA’s founder and first president, whom he describes as “my beloved teacher and the greatest musical influence in my life. He was a great composer and set the standard as an educator. I still mourn his loss after forty-five years.”

Mr. Pasatieri composed and wrote the libretto for his first opera, The Trysting Place, while an undergraduate at Juilliard. His first staged opera was The Women, a one-act work based on an original story. It premiered at the 1965 Aspen Festival and won the composition contest for that year. Among his 19 operas are La Divina (1966), Padrevia (1967), Black Widow (1972), The Trial of Mary Lincoln (1972), Signor Deluso (1974), Washington Square (1976), Before Breakfast (1980), Three Sisters (1986), and his best known work, The Seagull (1972), which received its world premiere recording in 2003 (Albany Records).

In 2007, Mr. Pasatieri made his highly-anticipated return to opera with two premieres: The Hotel Casablanca, and Frau Margot, an opera in three acts, commissioned by the Fort Worth Opera.

Mr. Pasatieri has taught composition at Juilliard, the Manhattan School of Music and Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. From 1980 through 1984, he held the post of Artistic Director at Atlanta Opera. In 1984, he moved to Los Angeles, where he formed his film music production company, Topaz Productions. His film orchestrations can be heard in ROAD TO PERDITION, AMERICAN BEAUTY, THE LITTLE MERMAID, THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, FRIED GREEN TOMATOES, LEGENDS OF THE FALL, SCENT OF A WOMAN, and ANGELS IN AMERICA, among many others.

Performances will be at 8 p.m. on both Wednesday, May 11 and Friday, May 13 and at 2 p.m. on Sunday May 15. All performances will be at UNCSA’s deMille Theatre, on the UNCSA campus at 1533 South Main Street, Winston-Salem. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens, and can be purchased at the UNCSA Box Office at (336) 721-1945 or online at www.uncsa.edu/performances.

A vehicle for advancing the career potential of exceptional young singers, the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute offers performance-based training at the graduate and post-graduate levels to several Institute Fellows each year. For more information about the Fletcher Institute, visit www.fletcheropera.com. 

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is the first state-supported, residential school of its kind in the nation. Established as the North Carolina School of the Arts by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, UNCSA opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. More than 1,100 students from high school through graduate school train for careers in the arts in five professional schools: Dance, Design and Production (including a Visual Arts Program), Drama, Filmmaking, and Music. UNCSA is the state’s only public arts conservatory, dedicated entirely to the professional training of talented students in the performing, visual and moving image arts. UNCSA is located at 1533 S. Main St., Winston-Salem. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.


**High-resolution photos available upon request**