Festival Mediterranea to highlight Verdi’s La Traviata

The 17th edition of the Festival Mediterranea has been officially launched by Teatru Astra and Bank of Valletta. The highlight of the month-long festival is a double representation of Giuseppe Verdi’s popular opera La Traviata on the 25th and 27th October.

‘It is fitting that we start this event today by paying tribute to Mro Joseph Vella, the Festival’s long-term music director who passed away earlier this year’ said BOV CEO Mario Mallia. ‘Bank of Valletta has been a part of this culturally enriching festival since its inception, a festival that has established itself in Malta’s Cultural calendar.’

Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana, who addressed the press conference stated that one of the objectives of the Ministry for Gozo is to bring culture in all of its forms, including the opera, closer to the citizens.

Festival Chairman Michael Formosa stated that La Traviata will be marking a significant milestone in the development of the arts in the Maltese islands, the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of Teatru Astra, but it will also be consigned to history as the first opera at the Astra in 40 years which will not be conducted by Prof Joseph Vella.

A star-studded cast will front La Traviata. Gozo’s own Miriam Cauchi will interpret Violetta. Giulio Pelligra, who wowed audiences in last year’s Lucia, is entrusted with the role of Alfredo. Bolshoi fame baritone Maxim Aniskin will interpret Germont, while mezzo Oana Andra will return to the Astra as Flora.  Internationally acclaimed Philip Walsh will conduct the opera. Leading Italian artistic director Enrico Stinchelli will be directing his eighth opera at the Astra.

The 2018 Festival Mediterranea will include a series of talks led by Dr Abraham Borg, Dr Godwin Vella and Dr Mark Sagona, on the opera La Traviata, and historical and artistic aspects connected to Gozo.  The Hagar Museum in Victoria will feature an exhibition on the theatre’s 50 anniversary.

A special attraction in the 17th edition of the festival is the Oxford Girls Choir (UK) who will perform exclusively in the festival on the 24 and 26 October – in concerts at St George’s Basilica and Kempinski San Lawrenz Hotel, during the opera weekend. Other events will highlight Gozo’s wine traditions and the La Stella Band soloists in a chamber concert.

La Traviata is supported by the Gozo Cultural Support Programme managed by the Arts Council Malta and the Ministry for Gozo.

Reservations and bookings for all these events can be on the festival helpdesk on 21550985 or email bookings@mediterranea.com.mt. Online booking and other information on the opera and festival is also available.