The Malta Independent 26 March 2019, Tuesday

Paolino Vassallo Celebration concert

Malta Independent Saturday, 27 May 2006, 00:00 Last update: about 14 years ago

This year the Maltese musical scene is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of one of Malta’s finest ever composers – Paolino Vassallo. Vassallo studied in Malta before proceeding to the Conservatoire Royale in Paris where he studied with the famous composers Massenet and Guiraud. Following a period as leader and later conductor of the Opera-Comique and the famous Lamoureux Orchestra, Vassallo returned to Malta and set up his own music school. In 1902 he was appointed maestro di cappella at the Mdina Cathedral and St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta. Vassallo was a prolific composer of sacred, orchestral and chamber compositions and also wrote three operas (Amor Fatale, Frazir and Edith Cavell).

Since Vassallo remains an important figure in both local and international musical circles, the National Orchestra has taken the initiative to organise a number of activities to mark this important anniversary and to revive the music of this great Maltese composer. The first of these activities is an exhibition on the life and works of this composer which is being held at the Sala Isouard of the Manoel Theatre. The exhibit is open until 31 May between 9:30am and 1:30pm (weekdays only). The exhibition will include memorabilia from the composer’s life, his batons and his violin which he used in France, photos, handbills, librettos, original scores, contracts, as well as letters which the Maltese composer exchanged with the French composer Jules Massenet. Entrance to the exhibition is free.

The second of the activities celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Paolino Vassallo will be held on Tuesday 30 May at 7:30pm where the National Orchestra, with the participation of Marcelline Agius as solo violinist, under the direction of Christopher Muscat will be performing a concert entirely made up of the orchestral and symphonic works of this composer. The carefully selected programme is a mixture of frequently performed works such as the overture Malta, the Marcia Trionfale and the Marcia Religiosa as well as other works that have been rarely performed since the composer’s demise. These works, most of these edited by Christopher Muscat himself, include the Andante per violino ed orchestra with the participation of Marcelline Agius as soloist, the Intermezzo from Act III of Vassallo’s opera Frazir, the miniature Andante for string orchestra and possibly Vassallo’s only symphony – Scherzo, Andante e Finale per orchestra.

Booking is open from the Manoel Theatre booking office. Tickets (Lm10, Lm8, Lm6 and Lm4) may be reserved by email on [email protected] or by telephone 21246389. Online reservations may be made on There is a limited number of seats at 50% reduction for students and senior citizens upon presentation of relevant cards.

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