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Echoes From Carolina

Oct 16, 2020 @ 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm


After 7:40 PM on October 16th, you must call the box office at  336.725.7101 to purchase your ticket.

Technical assistance is available beginning at 7:00 PM by calling 336.725.7101.

This production will be broadcast live from the Stevens Center of the UNCSA on October 16th and 18th.

Tickets on sale for $20. Click here.

American composer Carlisle Floyd’s Slow Dusk will be our first act.  Floyd, a South Carolina native, has written a story set in the Sandhills of North Carolina.  Sadie, whose family belongs to the Disciples, is in love with Micah, a member of the Truelights, and Sadie’s Aunt Sue is against their marriage.  Romeo and Juliet are reimagined in 1950’s North Carolina by Floyd, whose most popular opera, Susannah, would explore similar themes. Act Two will be a premiere. Composer Kenneth Frazelle and his music are no strangers to Winston-Salem audiences.  While Ken is from North Carolina and makes Winston-Salem his home, his music is known internationally.  Artists from Yo-Yo Ma to Bill T. Jones, Anthony Dean Griffey to Odetta have performed his music, and it has been heard from Carnegie Hall to the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.  In 2000, he began setting the folk songs he grew up hearing from his grandmother and uncle in Onslow County.  With Ken’s permission and help, I am putting some of these folksongs together to create a piece for singers and dancers called From Appalachia.  Gary Taylor and his Festival Ballet of Winston-Salem will join us as we explore the moving narrative of these songs born from our native soil. 

Meet the Cast


Charli Mills is proud to be making her Piedmont Opera debut as Sadie during this historic live stream.  A North Carolina native, Charli Mills studied voice with Glenn Siebert of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and with Susan Durham Lozaw at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where she received a B.A. in Christian Studies and Music and a Master of Church Music.  In 2019 she studied at the Seraphic Fire Professional Choral Institute at the Aspen Music Festival and School.

Charli has served as music minister/worship leader at churches in North Carolina and California. She has been an adjunct instructor at Methodist University in Fayetteville, NC where she taught private voice and directed the women’s chorus, at Southeastern Seminary, where she developed and taught online courses in music, and at National University, where she taught world music to military-affiliated students. As a performer, she has particularly enjoyed singing with the Magnolia Baroque and Salem Bach Festivals in Winston-Salem, NC.

Charli is currently pursuing a Doctor of Worship Studies degree from the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies. Charli is the Director of Worship Arts at Christ Church Anglican in Lewisville, NC, and performs as a freelance vocalist specializing in sacred music.


North Carolina native André Peele is an operatic Bass-baritone who has worked with many companies throughout the United States including; Virginia Opera, Pittsburgh Festival Opera, Peach State Opera, Piedmont Opera, the Jackson Symphony and The Princeton Festival.

In the 2018-19 season he was seen as Colline in La bohème with Peach State Opera, Betto in Gianni Schicci with Capitol City Opera and in concert performances of Carmen and Porgy and Bess. Peele is an alumnus of the Florida State University College of Music as well as the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. While at FSU, he was seen as Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola, Frank Maurrant in Street Scene, Lord Capulet in Romeo é Juliette and also in the regional premiere of David T. Little’s Soldier Songs.

Peele is heavily involved in bringing music education to the community.  He premiered the role of Thomas in Glen Winter’s Deep River: The Marian Anderson Journey that toured Virginia as a part of Virginia Opera’s outreach program. He performed with the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute’s educational outreach production of the Three Little Pigs as well as Florida State University’s outreach production of Così fan tutte.

When he is not on the stage or teaching, Peele is an active headshot and stage photographer as well as the host of a podcast “So You Went to School for Singing” (SYWTSFS) Peele is a student of Dr. Marilyn Taylor and Phyllis Pancella.

Aunt Sue

Lauded for her “lustrous and expressive voice” by the Seattle Times after her performances as Adalgisa in Norma, mezzo-soprano Phyllis Pancella continues to receive critical acclaim for her artistic versatility, superlative musicianship, and powerful stage presence. A truly accomplished artist, she has appeared on many of the finest international opera, concert, and recital stages in repertoire ranging from the Baroque era to that of the present century.

Among Ms. Pancella’s 2018-19 engagements were the recording of Ingrid Stölzel’s Soul Journey – Three Whitman Songs on the album The Gorgeous Nothings (Navona Records). In the 2017-18 season, Ms. Pancella sang as Mrs. Patrick DeRocher in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking with Kentucky Opera, and The Memphian in the premiere of Kamala Sankaram’s Formidable with Opera Memphis. She also recorded the album Ladislav Kubík: Vocal Music (NEOS), representing much of the composer’s output for the mezzo-soprano voice, including three pieces the composer dedicated to her. In the 2016-17 season, Ms. Pancella sang Maddie in Heggie’s Three Decembers with Opera Memphis, and Mukhtar’s Mother in Sankaram’s Thumbprint with Beth Morrison Projects at REDCAT L.A. She appeared with Columbus Symphony Orchestra as soloist in Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder; Santa Fe Opera as Marquise in La fille du régiment; Eugene Symphony as soloist in Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky; Virginia Opera as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd; and she returned to Alabama Symphony as Mother/Witch in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel.

Recent engagements include the New Music Showcase at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, featuring new works by Ladislav Kubík; returns to Boston Lyric Opera as Despina in Così fan tutte and Central City Opera as Mrs. Gibbs in Rorem’s Our Town; Messiah with Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jane Glover; Bach cantatas curated by John Harbison with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Ms. Pancella’s many opera successes include Mrs. Noye in Britten’s Noye’s Fludde with Los Angeles Opera; Eduige in Handel’s Rodelinda with San Francisco Opera; Cornelia in Giulio Cesare with Houston Grand Opera; the title role of Carmen at the Teatro San Carlo, New Israeli Opera, English National Opera, and Houston Grand Opera; Fidalma in Il matrimonio segreto and the title role in Offenbach’s Grand Duchess of Gerolstein with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; Ottavia in L’incoronazione di Poppea and the title role of Lizzie Borden at Glimmerglass Opera; The Death of Klinghoffer with Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Robert Spano; and Dolores in the world premiere of Anthony Davis’ Wakonda’s Dream with Opera Omaha.

Ms. Pancella is the newest member of the voice department at the UNC School of the Arts and makes her Piedmont Opera debut with this performance.  Piedmont Opera welcomes Phyllis to Winston Salem!


Tenor Logan Webber continues to make his mark in the American operatic landscape.  His singing was described as, “rich – powerful, yet tender and endearing” in his portrayal of Jonathan Dale in Piedmont Opera’s Silent Night.  The American Record Guide described that same performance as “a heart-breaking portrayal.”  A versatile performer, he received praise as “a strong comedic actor” for his portrayal of Danny Buchanan in Kurt Weill’s Street Scene for Virginia Opera. 

Webber is a native of Colorado Springs, Colorado, where his first operatic experiences were with the Opera Theater of the Rockies.  After completing an undergraduate degree at UNCSA and a master’s degree at the University of Maryland Opera Studio, he appeared as a young artist with the Ash Lawn Opera in Virginia, Chautauqua Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre and Virginia Opera. 

In 2016, he made his main stage debut with the Princeton Festival as Reverend Adams in Peter Grimes.  He has since returned to Opera Theater of the Rockies for Rinuccio in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Piedmont Opera for Spoletta in Tosca, Charlottesville Opera for Rapunzel’s Prince in Into the Woods and Rememdado in Carmen for Richmond Symphony.

Logan was also honored to be a part of the workshop premiere of Derrick Wang’s Scalia/Ginsberg, playing the role of Justice Scalia.  He was privileged to have performed the role with Justice Ginsberg in the audience a few feet in front of him. 

Logan is currently a Fellow

at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute where he studies with Phyllis Pancella.  You can see more of him in livestreamed performances of operas by Manuel Garcia and Maurice Ravel with the Fletcher Institute in 2021

Synopsis for Act 1- Slow Dusk

Act I:  Carlisle Floyd’s Slow Dusk (1948-49)

A musical play in one act

Duration: 40 minutes

Libretto by the composer (E)

World Premiere

Augustana College, Syracuse, New York
Ruth Ives, director
Company: Syracuse University



Phyllis Pancella


André Peele


Charli Mills


Logan Webber

Time and Place

the present, a farmhouse in the sandhills of the Carolinas


Floyd’s first opera Slow Dusk is a simple, powerful story set in the sand hills of the Carolinas amidst poverty and low-keyed religious fanaticism.  The story unfolds around the tragedy of a May afternoon, which alters the course of a young girl’s life.

Aunt Sue, a rough-hewn woman of middle age, opposes the marriage of her niece Sadie to Micah Hatfield, who lives across the pond and who belongs to the Truelights, a different religious sect than the Disciples, to which Sue’s family subscribes.

Sue painfully and patiently gives her niece her reasons for opposing the marriage.  Music marks the passing of time from late afternoon until dusk, and in the evening, Sue reports to Sadie that Micah has drowned during the day while fishing.  Jess, Sadie’s brother, consoles his aunt who feels guilty from her sense of complicity.

Sadie vows fidelity to Micah’s memory, mourning the emptiness of her life without him.

Libretto - Slow Dusk

Like a stage play or a movie, an opera starts with words — thousands of words. An opera’s words are called its libretto, whereas, in a stage play, the words are called the script, and in a movie they’re called the screenplay.

Libretto means “little book” in Italian, and that’s precisely what it is; your average libretto is scarcely thicker than a TV Guide. But because singing a sentence takes about three times longer than saying it, a “little book,” when set to music, becomes a full evening in the theater. (Dummies.com)

Slow Dusk – Libretto

Libretto - From Appalachia

Like a stage play or a movie, an opera starts with words — thousands of words. An opera’s words are called its libretto, whereas, in a stage play, the words are called the script, and in a movie they’re called the screenplay.

Libretto means “little book” in Italian, and that’s precisely what it is; your average libretto is scarcely thicker than a TV Guide. But because singing a sentence takes about three times longer than saying it, a “little book,” when set to music, becomes a full evening in the theater. (Dummies.com)

From Appalachia – Libretto

Synopsis for Act 2 - From Appalachia

Act II:  From Appalachia  by Kenneth Frazelle

From Appalachia

Time:  Then

Place: Appalachia

From Appalachia is a series of folk stories depicting the challenges of life in the rural hills of the North Carolina Appalachian mountain country.  Dancers from Winston Salem’s Festival Ballet will bring these folks songs to life as sung by Piedmont Opera’s artists.  From playful courtship in “Charmin’ Birdy” and “Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss” to the sadness of separation in “Bonnie Blue Eyes” and even the cruel dark side of love in “Naomi Wise” and “The Cuckoo”, memories are conjured to life in Frazelle’s haunting settings.  From Appalachia was conceived by General Director James Allbritten, and will be choreographed and directed by Festival Ballet’s Gary Taylor.  Piedmont Opera’s From Appalachia will have its world premiere with this series of performances. 



In East Virginny                                         

Charmin’ Birdy                                          

Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss             

Bonnie Blue Eyes           

Single Again                   

Naomi Wise                                 

Our Good Man                                          

The Cuckoo                                                

Sally Ann           


Oct 16, 2020
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm