FESTIVAL MEDITERRANEA 2008
The seventh edition of Festival Mediterranea kicks off on the 20th October with a site visit to one of the most beautiful churches in the Maltese Islands, St. George’s Basilica, in the heart of Victoria, Gozo’s capital. This church, known as the "Golden Church of Gozo" was built in the 1670s. There are several works of art in this church which include the painting of the dome and ceiling by Gian Battista Conti of Rome and other paintings by Mattia Preti. The titular statue of St. George is carved from solid wood by Pietro Paolo Azzopardi in 1836. The area over which the church is built is of considerable archaeological interest, with evidence of activity dating back to at least to the Roman period.
The biggest event, is undoubtly Puccini’s opera Turandot, which will be staged at the Astra twice: Thursday 23rd October and Saturday 25th October. Booking is already open. World famous soprano Francesca Patané will play the leading role, Princess Turandot. Artists in other leading roles include Antonino Interisano, Miriam Cauchi, and Franco de Grandis. Artistic direction is once again in the hands of Mario Corradi, while Prof Joseph Vella will conduct the national philharmonic orchestra, led by Marcelline Agius. The Teatru Astra Opera Chorus (Chorus Mistress: Maria Frendo) will be in attendance.
Another remarkable event is the Amadeo Minghi Concert which will also be staged at the Astra. Amadeo Minghi, a leading Italian singer, will perform for the first time in Gozo. Minghi will perform at the Astra Theatre on the 1st November. This concert is featuring also local artists Ira Losco, Morena and the island’s leading choir Laudate Pueri.
Other events during the 32-day festival include site visits to Ta’ Mena Agrofarm (21st October); site visits to the Hypogeum, Tarxien Temples, Tas-Silġ, Ggantija Temples and other traditional trades in Gozo led by Dr David Trump (27th – 30th October); a jazz concert by the La Stella Clarinet Quartet (24th October); a vocal and instrumental recital by Miriam Cauchi (soprano), Simon Abdilla (Cello) and Maria Frendo (Pianoforte) (26th October); Cindirella – ballet, by the Dance Conservatoire of Johane Casabene (8th November); and another dance show Uniting Diversity by the Naupaca Dance Factory (15th November).
Festival Mediterranea ends in style with the La Stella band in concert on Saturday 22nd November at the Astra Theatre. Prof Joseph Vella, the band’s musical director for the past 38 years will conduct the band.