David Baker sang the role of Tom Carter in the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre's production of Thomas Pasatieri's Hotel Casablanca on the Lexington Opera House Stage in October and the world premier CD, which was just released. Photo by Timothy Collins, courtesy of the UK Opera Theatre.
The San Francisco Opera got the world premier performance of Thomas Pasatieri's new opera, Hotel Casablanca, but the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre got the world premier recording.
Asked which they would have rather had, Darla Diltz, Tedrin Blair Lindsay and Christopher Probus' answer amounted to, "Duh!"
"I can send this out to people I'm auditioning for," says Diltz, who sings the role of Tallulah Carter on the new CD.
Probus is looking forward to giving one to his grandmother, who didn't get to see the show.
The opera is a farce based on the Georges Feydeau play A Flea in Her Ear. Set in 1940s Texas, it tells the tale of how a misunderstanding leads a rancher’s wife to suspect her husband is cheatin'.
The recording was conducted by UK Symphony director John Nardolillo and features soprano Diltz and baritone David Baker as the couple in turmoil. The CD is available online at Amazon.com and at retail outlets such as Barnes & Noble.
"It was a little more stressful," Baker said of the recording, after a news conference at UK to unveil the CD. "But then you had more than one take to get it right."
All of the singers said they were really impressed with the UK Symphony while recording the CD.
"I could go in and out, depending on when I was on," Diltz said. "But they had to be there the whole time. They were real pros."
Part of the stamina could stem from the fact the UK Symphony has three recordings in the can over the past couple of years, including a forthcoming recording of the George McKay ballet score Epoch for Naxos Records. Though they're old pros, Symphony conductor John Nardolillo said he thought Hotel Casablanca came out exceptionally well.
"We had everything going for us," Nardolillo said. "We were in the Singletary Center, which was a warm acoustic environment for the singers, and I was really pleased with the sound of the orchestra."
Nardolillo said he was impressed that the story came through as well as it did.
The UK Opera's last recording was Aaron Copland's The Tender Land in 2002. At the Casablanca launch party, UK Opera Theatre director Everett McCorvey said he is exploring the possibility of recording River of Time, Jospeh Baber's new opera about young Abraham Lincoln, which the student ensemble will premier next year.
The CD cover art (above) is by Richard Kagey, the opera’s director at UK in October and at San Francisco Opera in August. Hotel Casablanca was a co-production of UK Opera and San Francisco Opera.