The Malta Independent 26 November 2022, Saturday
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BOV supports Opera Month in Gozo

Wednesday, 2 November 2022, 18:16 Last update: about 23 days ago

After two years of absence due to the pandemic, Gozo was again the place to be for opera lovers during October 2022. Teatru Aurora produced Guiseppe Verdi's AIDA, George Bizet's Carmen graced the theatre of the Astra.  

Bank of Valletta has this year renewed its support towards the operatic season in Gozo, supporting both Teatru Aurora and Teatru Astra in the mammothian task they undertake year on year. Speaking about the Bank's involvement, Charles Azzopardi, Head CSR said, "The performances we have witnessed this year were veritable spectacles of talent, costumes and scenery that enthralled the audience from start to finish. This was not a coincidence but the result of relentless work and dedication on the part of organisers, artists and, of course, an army of volunteers. At Bank of Valletta, we value and promote everything that is endemic as well as the spirit of entrepreneurship." Mr Azzopardi went on to say, "Our relationship with both Opera Houses is a long-standing one, during which we learnt to understand and appreciate the meticulous research and hard work that goes on for months before we are able to enjoy spectacular operas, like we did over the past weekends."

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The organisers' efforts go beyond the theatrical spectacles themselves. For the Aida, on the eve of the performance, opera enthusiasts had the opportunity of attending a lecture with the internationally acclaimed Stage Director Vivien Hewitt. She explained why she chose to adapt Franco Zeffirelli's iconic opera production - the 2001 Bussetto edition of the Aida. In her production, Hewitt put the spotlight on the emotional relationships and psychological struggles of the protagonists in an intimate manner, whilst concurrently presenting a large opera cast. To really immerse themselves into the world of the AIDA and Ancient Egypt, patrons could also visit the Gozo Cathedral Museum, which housed several authentic and priceless treasures from Ancient Egypt. The curator of the National Museum of Archeology was present in person to explain the provenance of the artefacts and how they came to be part of Malta's national collection. Both events were free of charge.

Teatru Astra took upon itself the double representation of the inimitable Bizet's masterpiece of Carmen that remains in a league of its own in the depiction of the raw emotions of passion, jealousy and betrayal. The opera included both flamenco and ballet, which enriched the visual experience of the audience, whilst fueling the drama. Carmen's artistic direction was entrusted to Enrico Stinchelli, whilst the cast featured several renowned scholars of the BOV Joseph Calleja Foundation, including Nicola Said (soprano), Marvic Monreal (mezzo-soprano) and Charles Buttigieg (Baritone).

Carmen marked the start of the Festival Mediterranea that has now entered into its 19th edition.

This opera saw the participation of the Malta Philarmonic Orchestra under the baton of musical director Colin Attard, who also directed the Aurora Opera Chorus during the AIDA, whilst Mro John Galea led the orchestra for the Carmen.

As the curtain falls on the operatic season in Gozo, Bank of Valletta applauds everyone involved for their commitment and dedication primarily the volunteers who, with hours of selfless work, are the veritable glue that make such productions possible.

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