Watch: Concert to highlight operas by Maltese composer Girolamo Abos

Festivals Malta launches a concert that sheds light on one of the most prolific Maltese composers: Girolamo Abos.

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Festivals Malta is to present a concert that highlights operas by long-forgotten Maltese composer Girolamo Abos on the 7th December at the Inquisitor’s Palace in Birgu at 7:30 pm.

The concert will be performed by period instrument ensemble Les Bougies Baroques under the direction of London-based Maltese conductor and harpsichordist Ian Peter Bugeja.  The ensemble, led by Piotr Jordan, will be accompanied by Soprano Nicola Said, Mezzo-Soprano Clare Ghigo and Countertenor Cenk Karaferya.

The programme features 2 orchestral pieces and 8 vocal excerpts from Abos operas such as Artaserse (1746), Tito Manlio (1751), and Pelopide (1747) amongst others.  Mr Bugeja explained that the compositions selected have been especially reconstructed from Abos’s manuscripts specifically for this occasion and this will be the very first time that they will be performed together since their inception in the 18th century.

Girolamo Abos was one of the most prolific Maltese composers of yesteryear.  He was born in Valletta in 1715 and was sent to Naples to study music at a young age.  He eventually built a successful career and was commissioned to write operas in a string of major Italian cities, which were sung by the finest singers of the time.  He died in 1760 at the young age of 45, never to return to his island of birth.

Ms Stivala, Director of Festivals Malta explained that this concert is part of an initiative that Festivals Malta together with Arts Council Malta are undertaking to raise awareness about the heritage left behind by Maltese composers and their works, which are a reflection of our identity.  Ms Stivala explained that “much of this work is dispersed across Europe and through the Maltese Composers Fund we are investing heavily in the efforts to bring these works to Malta. Compositions of late composers like Abos are of great historical value, which unfortunately are not being heard enough these days.”

The ABOS: Opera Highlights concert is being held in the Inquisitor’s Palace in Birgu, which was specifically selected for its ambience and architecture as it provides the perfect backdrop that is true to the settings in which baroque music used to be performed back in the day. 

Tatiana Lisnic, the artistic director, explained that “The premises have a historical link to the music we are presenting and we felt that holding the concert at the Inquisitor’s Palace with a period instrument ensemble would create an authentic experience that would enable the audience to truly appreciate the significance of this event”.

More information can be obtained from Festivals Malta’s website. Tickets are available on the kultura.mt website.