Pasatieri's 19th opera, Casablanca is based on the 1907 play, Une puce _ l'oreille (A Flea In Her Ear), by Georges Feydeau. It concerns a well-to-do Texan couple and their "attempts to 'toughen up'" their twenty-something nephew from New York, according to the program's website. "Set at the mythical Double-T Ranch and seedy Hotel Casablanca, riddled with assorted eccentric guests," the opera is scored for nine principal singers and a 17-member orchestra.
The 61-year-old Pasatieri, a New York native, studied with Nadia Boulanger before enrolling at The Juilliard School, where he became the first recipient of its doctoral degree at age 19.
He served as Atlanta Opera's artistic director until 1984 before moving to Los Angeles in 1984 to work in film and television; his orchestrations can be heard in American Beauty, Fried Green Tomatoes, The Little Mermaid, Road to Perdition, Scent of a Woman and The Shawshank Redemption, among others.
Pasatieri's most successful opera is The Seagull (1972), based on Chekhov's 1896 play, which received its world premiere recording on Albany Records in 2003.
The Merola Opera Program is an 11-week training course for young singers, coach-accompanists and stage directors. It will present Pasatieri's The Hotel Casablanca, its first world premiere, on August 3 and 5 with Joseph Illick conducting and Richard Kagey directing.