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Malta goes Baroque again

Hotel Phoenicia has just reviewed the full programme for the forthcoming third edition of the Valletta International Baroque Festival 2015, and we are really pleased to have been a founding sponsor of this cultural event that goes from strength-to-strength.

 

The success of the Baroque Festival on the international cultural stage is underpinned by the growing interest from tour operators who are bringing in more overseas visitors specifically for this event. Teatru Manoel’s CEO Ray Attard says, "Close to 2,000 tickets have already been sold for the 2015 festival. We are absolutely delighted with the level of international interest and with 21 events over 15 days in seven venues, the 2015 version builds on the success of the first two."

 

The 2015 Festival is dedicated to the memory of Maltese composer Geronimo Abos as 2015 is the tercentennial anniversary of his birth. The festival is allowing Malta to explore its cultural roots and to celebrate one of its most famous musical sons, a composer of both operas and church music.

 

Born in Valletta, Abos studied under Leonardo Leo and Francesco Durante. In 1756, he became Maestro al Cembalo (Director of Music) at the Italian Theatre in London. In 1758 he returned to Italy as a teacher at the Conservatorio della Pietà de' Turchini in Naples, where Giovanni Paisiello was one of his pupils. He wrote 14 operas for the opera houses in Naples, Rome, and London, of which Tito Manlio (Naples, 1751) was the most successful. After 1758 he composed a good deal of church music, including seven masses and several litanies.

 

Abos was one of Malta’s greatest and most versatile composers,” explained Kenneth Zammit Tabona, artistic director of the Festival, “and we are delighted to announce that his music is not only being performed by local musicians but by foreign ensembles.”

 

His music will be performed by Die Kölner Akademie, Passacaglia Ensemble (which features some of the UK’s leading period instrument players) and the Valletta International Baroque Ensemble.

 

Highlights of the festival include the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment who return to perform Bach’s glorious St John’s Passion in St John’s Co-Cathedral which will be offset by Michelangelo Falvetti’s magnificent Il Diluvio Universale, performed by the Cappella Mediterranea under the baton of Leonardo Garcia Alarcon at St Publius Church in Floriana, a new addition to the list of venues for 2015. Both venues are within a comfortable saunter of Hotel Phoenicia.

 

The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Peter Stark, will present an innovative programme of 20th-century works inspired by the baroque, which includes a flute concerto by Lukas Foss performed by the orchestra’s own flautist Rebecca Hall. The programme also includes music ranging from baroque piano transcriptions by Bach, Handel and Gluck performed by Dmytro Sukhovienko, to sacred and profane baroque music from the Americas, performed by Ensemble Villancico.

 

There will also be Handel concert arias presented by Robert King conducting The King’s Consort and countertenor Lestyn Davies.

 

As previously mentioned, Bach will feature strongly in the festival. His cello suites will be performed by Sigiswald Kuijken who will play on that rare instrument, a violoncello da spalla, and his Goldberg Variations by pianist Joanne Camilleri.

 

The EU Baroque Ensemble will perform music by Handel and others, while the festival’s resident ensemble, the Valletta International Baroque Ensemble, will perform at two concerts. The festival will also include events specifically for children and culminates with the Baroque Festival Ball which will be held at the Sacra Infermeria Hall at the Mediterranean Conference Centre.

 

Teatru Manoel’s CEO Ray Attard concludes, “With the growing success come increased expectations and, inevitably, more pressure on resources. We are therefore hugely indebted to, first of all, the small behind-the-scenes team that makes this event possible and to our supporters: the Government of Malta as the major stakeholder as well as the growing list of sponsors including the Malta Tourism Authority, Tipico, Hotel Phoenicia and the St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation. Without their help this event would not be the international success this festival is turning out to be.”

 

For the full festival programme and to book tickets follow this link.

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