The Malta Independent 21 May 2024, Tuesday
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A Bohème for Puccini

Thursday, 4 April 2024, 09:54 Last update: about 3 months ago
Tosca, the first opera produced at Gaulitana in 2014 (Photo Credit: KTV Photography)
Tosca, the first opera produced at Gaulitana in 2014 (Photo Credit: KTV Photography)

The highlight event of the ongoing edition of Gaulitana: A Festival of Music shall be Puccini's best-loved opera, La Bohème. The full-scale production joins celebrations around the world marking the musical legacy of the Italian master on the 100th anniversary of his death.

Following on last year's La Traviata boasting a "top-notch cast" greeted by an "enthusiastic audience" (OperaClick), Federica Vitali interprets Mimì as the "truly impressive singing-actress" returning to Gozo to interpret a leading role in another Puccinian gem after her mesmerising Madame Butterfly last October.


She is flanked by two leading artists who reprise the roles performed at the Royal Opera House in London. Tenor David Junghoon Kim, "boasting the requisite effortless top notes and fount of lyricism", stars as the Rodolfo, the poet in love with Mimì. The "golden-toned" Ukrainian-British baritone Yuriy Yurchuk sings Marcello, a role for which he was lauded as "splendid throughout, rich and powerful".

A scene from La Traviata, presented in 2023 as part of Gaulitana (Photo Credit: Anthony Grech)

In addition, Musetta is performed by Nicola Said, as the Maltese soprano with successful appearances at the ENO, Opera North, Festival Lyrique-En-Mer Belle-Île returns to Gaulitana following her Viva L'Opera and Viva Verdi audio-visual exploits.

The cast is complemented by a number of international artists with Costantino Finucci as Schaunard and Romano dal Zovo as Colline, regularly performing the roles in Turin, Verona and Genova amongst others. Gozitan tenor Stanley Joe Portelli also appears as Parpignol.

The production shall be directed by Enrico Castiglione, one of the most respected figures of his generation and a mainstay for Gaulitana operas in the last 10 years. The opera, with English surtitles, will feature the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and the Gaulitanus Choir under the baton of Colin Attard, one of the leading figures of the genre on the islands.

La Bohème is an intrinsic feature of the OPERA+ Weekend, a 3-day cultural bonanza bringing Gaulitana to a climactic end. Additionally, the multi-media presentation Opera @ Gaulitana is being presented at Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz, trailing the journey of the festival in the genre along the years. 

In parallel, embodying the leitmotif of the festival, "a timeless musical experience", the exhibition Puccini100 opens on Friday 12 April at the foyer of Teatru tal-Opra Aurora (running until 21 April). Presented in collaboration with the Fondazione Giacomo Puccini (Lucca), the artefacts allow patrons to immerse themselves further in the world of Puccini and his oeuvres through informative panels, original documents and audio-visual footage.

La Bohème will be held on Saturday 20 April at Teatru tal-Opra Aurora under the distinguished patronage of the Italian Embassy in Malta.

Gaulitana: A Festival of Music, organised by the Gaulitanus Choir, is principally supported by the Investment in Cultural Organisations - Gozo of Arts Council Malta and the Ministry for Gozo and partnered by Bank of Valletta, VisitMalta and APS Bank.

Online booking is available on: or via the ticket helpline 7904 5779.

An exclusive Shuttle Service for opera patrons will run following the 18:15hrs ferry with return after the opera for the nominal fee of €2 - pre-booking is required

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