CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) – A special opera performance at Rutgers University-Camden paid homage to women’s history month and the first woman to compose an opera.

The Florentine Court Opera – Freeing Ruggiero from the Sorceress – was written by poet and singer Francesca Caccini nearly 400 years ago, making it the world’s first opera composed by a woman.

It tells the story of a young knight’s enchantment by an evil sorceress and his rescue.

“This was written by her specifically for the 1625 carnival entertainments. And it was written in honor of a visiting prince from Poland.”

Marie Purciello with West Chester University, which performed the opera for the monthly free music series at Rutgers Camden. Professor of music Julianne Baird brought the opera to Rutgers for women’s history month.

“We direct every year here a huge workshop that features early instruments and early vocal training.  So it was a continuation of our tradition.”

Reported by Karin Phillips, KYW Newsradio

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