Amici Opera Company has had numerous homes since forming in 1998, but founder and impresario Raffaele Tudisco hopes he’s come across a more permanent spot.
The opera company has been rehearsing at Holmesburg United Methodist Church’s Fellowship Hall, at 8118 Frankford Ave., and will stage its first play there on Sunday.
“It’s a cozy room,” Tudisco said before last week’s first rehearsal.
The hall features round tables with cloths and centerpieces, and Tudisco plans to keep that setting. He’s already moved in all of the props.
There are two parking lots and a handicapped entrance. Refreshments will be for sale during shows.
“You can’t beat that,” Tudisco said. “We’ve been wanting to get a steady venue and wanted to be in the Northeast badly. I think it will catch on. It’s very inexpensive and intimate. People are close to the stage. A lot of people get turned on to opera that way.”
In the last 13 years, Amici has produced more than 200 performances of 97 operas. Tudisco, who lives in Melrose Park Gardens, is preparing for his 145th role.
Over the years, shows have been held in Philadelphia, the suburbs, South Jersey and Delaware.
The season runs from September through August, quite a packed schedule among Philadelphia-area opera companies. Amici produces both popular and rare shows.
“We’re the only place that does opera twelve months a year,” Tudisco said. “We’re already casting for next season. All the singers sing for free, which is unheard of. When we make money, it goes into the next show.”
The company has grown tremendously, according to Tudisco, since its first three shows at the long-closed Beth Emeth-B’Nai Yiyzhok synagogue in Castor Gardens.
“We’re getting better and better quality singers,” he said.
Tudisco will deliver fliers to schools and offer parent/child discounts to attract more young people to opera.
The debut show at the 199-year-old Holmesburg United Methodist Church will be Il Demone, with shows at 4 p.m. on Dec. 4 and 11.
Russian Anton Rubinstein composed the work in 1871.
“It’s a very beautiful opera,” Tudisco said. “It was very popular at the turn of the (twentieth) century.”
Tudisco, a baritone, plays Il Demone in the show and doubles as the stage director. The rest of the cast consists of Heather Green (Tamara), John Rudolph (Prince Gudal), Kate Quinn (Prince Sinodal), Rebecca Dimmick (Un Ange), Jenna Lee Moore (governess of Tamasa and Messenger) and Ting Ting Wong (pianist).
The show is about evil spirits that call upon a demon to destroy the beauty of God’s creation. The demon falls in love with a woman whose wedding day is delayed by a storm and orders the death of her fiancé.
Tudisco will welcome opera fans to Amici’s new home and hopes to attract new fans with appealing sounds.
“It’s the music that moves you,” he said. “Try it. You’ll like it.” ••
Reporter Tom Waring can be reached at 215-354-3034 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Listen up …
The Amici Opera Company will present Il Demone on Sundays, Dec. 4 and 11, at 4 p.m. at Holmesburg United Methodist Church, 8118 Frankford Ave.
Tickets cost $25 at the door; $22 for senior citizens and advance purchases; $15 for students 13 and older; and $10 for children 12 and younger. There is plenty of free off-street parking.
Call 215-224-0257 or visit the opera company’s page on Facebook. ••