6abc Loves the Arts: Opera Philadelphia - Tancredi

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6abc Loves the Arts features Opera Philly: Tancredi. (WPVI)

Just in time for Valentine's Day, Opera Philadelphia is putting on a love story never before seen in Philadelphia.

Tancredi is a rarely performed opera that tells the story of a brave soldier and a damsel in distress who secretly fall in love even though all of the odds are stacked against them.

The opera is from Rossini, a 19th century composer, who made his operatic debut at only 18 years old.
His premiere of Tancredi a few years later catapulted him to international fame.

"His music is still famous in this current day; a lot of TV shows will have used his music," says Brenda Rae as she bursts into song with one of Rossini's most familiar tunes.

Rae sings the role of Amenaide, the woman Tancredi has fallen madly in love with and is battling to prove his loyalty to her family.

"They think he's a traitor so they're planning on killing him," explains Rae, "he's a really, really brave soldier. He's a knight in shining armor."

Because the opera calls for a mezzo-soprano, Tancredi is traditionally played by a woman. In this production, it's the hugely popular Stephanie Blythe.

"My character is torn between the love of her father and doing what is right for his political stance and also being true to my own heart," says Rae, "the most beautiful moments are duets with Tancredi."

And she promises a lot of vocal fireworks, "Whenever you have a Rossini opera with such a great cast who can show off this kind of virtuosic writing that Rossini does, it's a really exciting night in the theater."

Opera Philadelphia performs Tancredi February 10-19 at the Academy of Music.
For tickets and show times go to www.TheArtsinPhilly.org.
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