Gozo’s Gaulitanus Choir returns from Lombardia concert-tour
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Gozo’s Gaulitanus Choir recently returned from Lombardia in Italy, where it was on a concert-tour. This was the choir’s third appearance abroad in 2017 and the thirteenth overall.
This Lombardia concert-tour, which was supported by Arts Council Malta – Export Culture Fund, was realised following the invitation of the Associazione Canticum Novum of Bergamo and its founder-director Erina Gambarini, one of Italy’s foremost personalities in the choral field.
Gloria in Excelsis Deo! Cantando il Natale – was the title of the concert-tour, which featured the Gaulitanus Choir in a wide selection of compositions from its Christmas repertoire, presented during three performances in venues in Bergamo and Milano.
The choir opened its commitments by animating the Holy Mass for the 2nd Sunday of Advent at the Cattedrale di Sant’Alessandro in Bergamo Alta – the city’s historic Duomo and principal church.
The repertoire for the Mass – celebrated by Fr Giovanni Zanchi in the presence of parish priest Mons Fabio Zucchelli – included works by Zardini, Arcadelt, Mozart, the pastoral-style Alma Redemptoris Mater by Gozitan composer Antonio Buhagiar and the premiere of an arrangement of the Advent hymn Veni, Veni Emmanuel by the Gaulitanus’ director Colin Attard.
The music performed was specifically approved by Mons Gilberto Sessantini, the Head of Sacred Music at Bergamo’s Curia.
Following the Mass, the choir spontaneously joined a local male choir who was carolling during a typical Italian outdoors Christmas manifestation in the winding cobbled streets of Bergamo.
Two concerts then followed. The first was held at the Chiesa di Santa Maria Immacolata delle Grazie – a landmark in Bergamo (Bassa) and the base of the Associazione Canticum Novum.
The audience was led by parish priest Mons Valentino Ottolini and Alberto Gagliano, a high-ranking Canticum Novum official, both of whom welcomed and introduced the choir before the start of the concert.
The second was held at Milano’s central, historic and splendid Santuario di S. Maria dei Miracoli presso S. Celso.
This concert – which was in aid of UNICEF – was attended, among others, by Dr Fiammetta Casali Mazzoleni, the President of UNICEF Lombardia and the parish priest Fr Diego Arfani. Before the start of the concert both made welcome addresses and introduced the choir.
During these two concerts, the Gaulitanus Choir performed compositions by Vivaldi, Melichar, Leontovich, Fettke, and excerpts from two oratorios, namely Henry Alexander Matthews’s The Story of Christmas and Colin Attard’s Guzeppi ta’ Nazzareth, as well as Attard’s adaptation of Malta foremost Christmas song Ninni la tibkix izjed.
Towards the end of both concerts, the Gaulitanus’s founder-director Mro Colin Attard also presented mementos to the distinguished guests as well as to the Canticum Novum’s musical director Erina Gambarini.
During this concert-tour, prominent performing space was also given to the choir’s principal soloists, namely sopranos Annabelle Zammit, Patricia Buttigieg and Stephanie Portelli, and mezzo-soprano Marthese Borg. Tenor Christian Tanti and baritones Robert Xerri and Jean Noël Attard also shared the spoils in secondary solo parts.
Choir and soloists were accompanied by the Gaulitanus’s resident accompanist Stephen Attard on the organ, with the choir’s musical director Colin Attard conducting.
Photos by Mario Borg