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Operatic Bonanza North of the Channel
09 Nov 2018
Despite a population just in excess of 30,000, the island of Gozo boasts two opera houses that each stage a major opera during the month of October.

Teatru Aurora this year presented Giacomo Puccini’s timeless classic, Tosca. The story revolves around a dangerous love triangle between the glamorous opera singer Floria Tosca, her lover, the painter Mario Cavaradossi, and one of opera’s most memorable villains – the police chief Baron Scarpia. Melodrama and lyrical arias haunt this enduring masterpiece as Floria stabs Scarpia to death, Cavaradossi is shot by firing squad under Scarpia’s orders and Tosca leaps to her death to avoid arrest.

The Teatru Aurora, housed inside a regal nineteenth century villa, was designed by architect Louis Naudi, and ornately decorated by venerated local artist Chev. Emvin Cremona. Since its inauguration in 1976, the Teatru Aurora has hosted several fine performances, with this year’s Tosca, under the direction of world-renowned Vivienne Hewitt, being the third time that this classic finds its home in this theatre.

A few minutes’ walk up the road in Victoria, Gozo, one finds the Teatru Astra. The Teatru Astra forms part of a larger musical voluntary organisation, the Soċjetà Filarmonika La Stella, a society that can trace  its roots back to 1863. Refurbished in 2005 after an extensive fire which broke out on November 8, 2003, the Teatru Astra, inaugurated in 1968, boasts the first leading role for internationally-acclaimed Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja.

Festival Mediterranea, organised annually by the Societa Filarmonica La Stella is an annual celebration of culture, art, archaeology, folklore and cuisine.
Verdi’s La Traviata is the highlight of the 2018 Festival. Likely to be Verdi’s best known work, it is the love plight of Violetta Valery, a 19th century courtesan, the young romantic Alfredo Germont and Baron Douphol, who pays Violetta to be his lover. Violetta finally admits her true love to Alfredo before succumbing to her long term illness. 

This year’s Festival Mediterranea is in the honour of Mro Joseph Vella who sadly passed away earlier this year.

Just as the island of Gozo is renowned for its passion and enthusiasm for Opera, Bank of Valletta (BOV) prides itself as the patron of the local arts and culture. BOV is a long-term supporter of both theatres that attract a local and international audience to the island of Calypso.
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Bank of Valletta p.l.c. is a public limited company regulated by the MFSA and is licensed to carry out the business of banking and investment services in terms of the Banking Act (Cap. 371 of the Laws of Malta) and the Investment Services Act (Cap.370. of the Laws of Malta).