Maltese soprano Gillian Zammit delighted a Berlin audience at the Passionskirche on 14 March with an evening of recitals from her new album, ‘Avec toi! The art of song in the romantic period’. She was accompanied by the acclaimed pianist Lucia Micallef. The event was organised by the Embassy of Malta in Berlin and made possible through the Cultural Diplomacy Fund of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
A 200-strong audience including ambassadors, diplomats, members of parliament, the Maltese community in Berlin, journalists and music critics gathered in the Passionskirche for the performance.
In his welcome address the Ambassador of Malta to Germany, Karl Xuereb, thanked Malta’s Cultural Diplomacy Fund for making the concert possible and invited the audience to also attend the upcoming events planned by the Embassy for the first half of 2013, such as an expert lecture on the Maltese language and a concert by the Maltese Indie Pop band ‘The Beangrowers’.
The acoustics of the Passionskirche proved to be a perfect complement to the beautiful and clear voice of Gillian Zammit. The audience was not only visibly impressed but also touched by the performance. The programme of songs selected by the artists for the evening included, apart from the focus on the love songs by Paolo Tosti, powerful works by Richard Strauss and Sergej Rachmaninov as well as two pieces from the Maltese baroque period. The applause that followed the performance failed to subside until the artists treated the audience to several encores.
The concert was followed by a vin d’honneur hosted by the Embassy, featuring wine from the island of Gozo. Guests were able to purchase signed copies of Gillian Zammit’s latest album featuring Paolo Tosti’s love songs and members of the audience enjoyed the fact that they were able to speak with the artists personally.
Gillian Zammit trained in Italy with the renowned Carlo Bergonzi and Victoria de los Angeles. She is an accomplished exponent of the music of the Maltese baroque period and her operatic repertoire ranges from baroque to 20th century works. She is a regular performer at Malta’s National Theatre, the Manoel Theatre and also appears regularly on Maltese TV. She has also recorded programmes for international television stations such as the classical music channel “Mezzo”.
Lucia Micallef studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London, the Accademia Chigiana in Siena and the Mozarteum in Salzburg. She has performed extensively in Europe, playing also at a number of major European events, such as the Prague Easter Festival and the Edinburgh Festival and gave two highly acclaimed concerts with the Britten Sinfonia conducted by Nicholas Cleobury.
The Passionskirche, a beautiful red brick building with Romanesque-Byzantine architectural elements from the early 20th century, is a well-known venue in Berlin for musical events in the field of world music, folk, rock, jazz and even classical music. Though still used as a church, the altar area was converted into a stage and the acoustics substantially improved through the application of special plaster. Famous artists such as Giora Feidman, Patti Smith, Sally Oldfield and Suzane Vega have performed at the Passionskirche.