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by Mro Joseph Vella [ – November, 11, 2007]

May I publicly thank Maria Frendo, who for some strange reason did not even get a passing mention in the review of Macbeth at the Astra Theatre in Victoria (The Sunday Times, November 4) for the splendid chorus she prepared for the opera.

As Kenneth Zammit Tabona deftly put it in your sister paper ‘The Times of Malta’, the choir at the Astra is “an operatic asset that only this theatre and its ubiquitous choir mistress can produce”. I fully subscribe.

Cecilia Xuereb (The Sunday Times reviewer) wrote: “This might not have been a great orchestral performance but the spirit of the opera came over very clearly from the pit…” Musically speaking, I find these juxtaposed statements somewhat irreconcilable. Given the complexities of the opera as regards moods, shifting tempi, orchestral colours, and a hundred other musical demands, had the orchestra not been top notch, all these nuances could hardly have “come over very clearly”. Common sense dictates that it’s either one or the other.

I am now anxiously waiting to be illuminated so that, in future, I (or is it the orchestra?) will not flounder into the same pitfalls. As a matter of interest, the part of Malcolm was sung by well-known local tenor Joseph Aquilina and not an “Anthony” as printed. On a personal note, I am pleased your reviewer noticed some “fine essays” in the printed programme.