Official launch for the opera Carmen at the Teatru Aurora, Gozo

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Official launch for the opera Carmen at the Teatru Aurora, GozoBank of Valletta will be supporting Bizet's grand opera Carmen at the Teatru Aurora. This was announced during a press conference which was addressed by the Mr Mario Mallia, the Bank's Chief Executive Officer, Dr Michael Caruana, the President of Socjeta Filarmonika Leone and the PR and Events Officer at Teatru Aurora Mr Matthew Sultana.

Mr Mallia said, "among other artistic and cultural endeavours, Bank of Valletta has been supporting local operatic events for decades, both in Malta and in Gozo. Year on year, we have witnessed these productions grow, and events like this grand opera have etched for themselves a permanent spot in the cultural calendar of our islands. Undoubtedly, this gives us great satisfaction as we witness a growing appreciation of the high standard that local productions are achieving."

He concluded his intervention by thanking Teatru Aurora for their commitment, highlighting the invaluable contribution of the hundreds of volunteers that make such projects possible.

Thanking Mr Mallia, Dr Caruana highlighted that Teatru Aurora will this year be commemorating its 40th anniversary season with Bizet's all-time favourite Carmen.

"This is a box office best-seller, which, for the last four decades has been staged four times at the Aurora itself. In fact, this will be the fourth Carmen at the Aurora, the third one for Colin Attard, the second one in six years and the first one with spoken dialogue, true to the opera-comique genre as Bizet intended it."

"Fit for a celebratory opener, this new production of Carmen will see major opera houses across the globe convening in Gozo," explained Mr Sultana.

He went on to introduce the cast. The title role of Carmen will be interpreted by the Bulgarian-born mezzo-soprano Nadia Krasteva. Audiences have witnessed Krasteva's Carmen on leading opera stages all around the world as the Vienna State Opera, the Arena di Verona, the Bolshoi Theatre, the Deutsche Opera in Berlin, the National Opera Amsterdam, the "O2 Arena" in Hamburg, the National Opera Riga, the National Opera Sofia, New York's Metropolitan and Milan's La Scala.

She will be accompanied by the Italian world-class tenor Roberto De Biasio, who amongst other notable appearances is coming from fresh successes at the MetOpera in New York. Escamillo at the Aurora will be none less than La Scala's own Escamillo – Marcin Bronikowski who also starred in London's renowned Royal Opera House of Covent Garden.

The main quartet will be rounded up by a champion up-and-coming Italian soprano by the name of Giuliana Gianfaldoni, remembered amongst other roles for her already acclaimed role of Adina with Leo Nucci.

Bizet's Carmen means an extensive cast with a further secondary quartet. Here we see Gabriele Ribis, Eduardo Santamaria, Lara Rotili and Madina Karbeli, who has recently performed as Adina – the leading role – in Elisir d'Amore at the Manoel Theatre in Valletta. Gianluca Breda and Francesco Baiocchi will complete the 10-piece cast of soloists.

This strength and consistency in a no-compromise policy when it comes to cast is actually why audiences keep on trusting the Aurora so much so ticket sales go strong even before cast in normally announced.

This year's Carmen, on Saturday, the 15th of October, at 7:30pm will also mark the launch of a special anniversary season that will also celebrate the 40th anniversary of opera renaissance in Malta, with the first-ever opera in Gozo (January 7th 1977), at the Aurora.

Further information is available via www.teatruaurora.com or via 24/7 ticket helpline 79045779.

The opera performance is being supplemented by a lunchtime opera talk and recital on opera day, vin d'honneur during the interval, free shuttle transport in Gozo and dining arrangements for opera patrons, all of which may be accessed from the Aurora personnel.

Carmen at the Aurora is also being supported by the Gozo Cultural Support Programme; a joint initiative between Arts Council Malta and the Ministry for Gozo.

Photo: L to R – Dr Michael Caruana, Mr Mario Mallia, Mr Matthew Sultana

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