HomeHome Page Featured25 years of local opera

25 years of local opera

Soprano Sungji Kim, pianist Joe Krupa, baritone Raffaele Tudisco and tenor John Villemaire.
Raffaele Tudisco, Joe Krupa, Sungji Kim and John Villemaire rehearse for J. Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann, set for Saturday at United Methodist Church of the Redeemer.

Raffaele Tudisco founded Amici Opera Company in 1998, and 25 years later, the shows continue to entertain Northeast audiences.

Tudisco invites folks to enjoy good opera locally, without paying high ticket and parking prices in Center City. Amici has been at United Methodist Church of the Redeemer, 1128 Cottman Ave. in Burholme, since 2013. The off-street parking is free, the dress is casual and the setting is intimate.

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“It’s local, and you’re seeing operas that have never been seen anywhere,” Tudisco said.

Amici has had various homes over the years, starting at the long-closed Beth Emeth-B’Nai Yitzhok synagogue in Castor Gardens and later at Holmesburg United Methodist Church’s Fellowship Hall.

An Amici “season” is basically a year.

“We start on Labor Day and end the second week of August,” Tudisco said.

The coronavirus barely slowed down Amici, which used masks and social distancing to keep performers and guests healthy.

While United Methodist Church of the Redeemer is Amici’s primary home, the company performs monthly in Lansdale and will soon perform at La Piovra (the former home of Sicilian Trattoria) restaurant on High School Road in Elkins Park.

“Dinner and opera are a great combination,” Tudisco said.

Amici has three more performances this month and four in May. The company once did six a month, which is a busy schedule, since it includes rehearsals, not to mention all the leg work Tudisco does to promote the shows.

The schedule depends, in part, on the availability of singers.

“We still do multiple performances of at least 30 different operas a year,” Tudisco said.

Tudisco estimates that he’s performed more than 400 roles himself, suggesting that could be an entry in Guinness World Records. He’s done all of Verdi’s operas, including Giovanna D’Arco (Joan of Arc), which is on the schedule for April 23 and 30 at United Methodist Church of the Redeemer.

“Verdi is my favorite composer,” Tudisco said.

In all, Amici has produced about 2,000 performances.

“We’ve done over 250 different operas, easily,” Tudisco said. “We mix it up. There are still more operas I want to do. We’re already putting in dates for next season.” ••

Amici Opera Company will present J. Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann on Saturday, April 22, at 4 p.m. at United Methodist Church of the Redeemer, 1128 Cottman Ave. Next, Amici will present Giovanna D’Arco (Joan of Arc) on Sundays, April 23 and 30, at 3 p.m. at United Methodist Church of the Redeemer. Tickets are $25. For tickets, to get on the mailing list or to join the company as a singer or pianist, call 215-224-0257 or visit the Amici Opera Company page on Facebook.

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