Opera Philadelphia Preview 2016-17: Rossini’s ‘Tancredi’ Gets a Rare Look in US

By David Salazar

This Friday, Feb. 10, Opera Philadelphia will showcase Rossini’s “Tancredi.” The run is set to last five performances, the final one on Feb. 19.

The opera is not particularly renowned among the composer’s output, with most of Rossini’s comic scores winning the popularity contest. “Tancredi” is of a different mold, a medieval story that features tragic love.

The Cast

The cast features Stephanie Blythe in the title role with Brenda Rae as his lover Amenaide and Michele Angelini as her father Argirio. Other cast members include Daniel Mobbs as Orbazzano, Allegra De Vita as Isaura and Anastasiia Sidorova as Roggiero.

Corrado Rovaris conducts a production by Emilio Sagi that sets the action in Post-World War I Europe.

The Opera

Rossini is said to have composed the work in less than a month and the opera originally had a happier ending.

Rossini experiments a great deal with the music in the opera, with Angelini recently telling OperaWire that singing the role of Argirio is particularly difficult to sing “because it’s high in voice and it’s very ‘declamato.’ So it requires a little more energy than more conversational recitatives.”

Notable Recordings

Marilyn Horne is the most famed exponent of the opera, making two noted recordings of the work in 1977 and 1981.  The former features Margherita Rinaldi, Renzo Casellato and Nicola Zaccaria. The latter stars Zaccaria but also has Lella Cuberli and Ernesto Palacio. The first recording features the happy ending while the latter features the “Ferrara” version, which ends tragically.

Other crucial interpreters that left recordings include Fiorenza Cossotto, Ewa Podles, Vesselina Kasarova and most recently, Daniela Barcellona who has two recordings as well.