BOV and Teatru Astra launch Festival Mediterranea 2012

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BOV and Teatru Astra launch Festival Mediterranea 2012Bank of Valletta is supporting the 11th edition of Festival Mediterranea, a celebration of art and culture in the heart of Gozo, organised by Teatru Astra, the highlight of which will be the opera “Madama Butterfly.”

This year’s festival will be held between the 25th October and the 17th November and includes a wide-ranging programme of events, from opera to food and wine.

The festival was officially launched during a press conference held at the BOV Centre in Santa Venera and addressed by Chief Executive Officer Charles Borg of Bank of Valletta, Festival Mediterranea Chairman Michael Formosa, and Prof. Mro Joseph Vella, the festival’s music director.

The opera selected for this year is “Madama Butterfly” which will feature three world-class singers – soprano Daniela Dessì, tenor Fabio Armiliato and baritone Carlo Guelfi, who have sung together on some of the most important opera stages worldwide, as well as in several recordings, and will be singing again together in Gozo.

Mro. Vella will be directing the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, while the Teatru Astra Opera Chorus, under the tuition of Maria Frendo, participates. Italian stage director Enrico Stinchelli has been once again entrusted with this production. The opera will be performed on the 25th and the 27th October at 7.30pm.

Mr Formosa explained that the festival focuses its attention on local history, art and tradition in a month-long celebration, while giving prominence to music through a number of concerts, from chamber to symphonic. There will also be a dance performance, as well as lectures and on-site visits.

Prof. Mro. Joseph Vella explained that from the artistic point of view, this year’s cast for “Madama Butterfly” is yet another high benchmark that Teatru Astra is setting itself and it presents a unique opportunity that local opera goers should not miss. It will be the first time that the three main singers will be singing during an opera in the Maltese Islands.

BOV’s Mr Borg expressed his admiration for the work which goes into the annual event, noting that it was one of the factors which had made Gozo a destination for culture-lovers.

“This is one of the reasons why our Community Relations Programme is so important to the Bank. We believe that by supporting initiatives such as this festival we are not only ensuring that the islands are enriched by international-standard events but are also helping to generate visitors to stimulate the local economy,” he said.

Other events within Festival Mediterranea include an original tango production, a vocal recital featuring Romanian mezzo-soprano Oana Andra, a piano recital by the world’s youngest left-hand-only pianist, Nicholas McCarthy, a concert by the La Stella Brass Ensemble and Soloists and the Annual Grand Concert of the La Stella Philharmonic Band, as well as a number of site-visits and lectures.

Festival Mediterranea is organised by over 200 volunteers, with the support of partners such as Bank of Valletta, without whose help it would be impossible to produce.

Other partners include the Malta Tourism Authority, Malta International Airport, Ministry for Gozo, Ministry for Finance, the Economy and Investment, Malta Council for Culture and the Arts and Victoria Local Council.

The photos show soprano Daniela Dessì, tenor Fabio Armiliato and baritone Carlo Guelfi.

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