Opera-lovers and theatre-goers filled Teatru Manoel on Sunday for the opening night of Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca.
Opening to a full house, the much-anticipated opera production is the largest to date for Malta’s operatic home and its first fully staged opera post-pandemic, rebooting the much-loved annual tradition.
The unmissable production – which only has three performances remaining on 8, 10 and 12 March – is the result of a collaboration between two Public Cultural Organisations, Teatru Manoel and the Valletta Cultural Agency; and it features the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, and KorMalta together with the Malta School of Music children’s choir.
Teatru Manoel Chairman Dr Michael Grech and CEO Edward Zammit, alongside Valletta Cultural Agency Chairman Jason Micallef and CEO Catherine Tabone, welcomed guests on the red carpet. Among the audience were, Minister for National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government Owen Bonnici and Italian Ambassador, His Excellency Fabrizio Romano.
“The annual opera finally makes its return to the Manoel stage – and what a grand return!” said Dr Grech. “Opera remains one of the most ambitious and complex of all the performing arts genres, and as a small theatre we would not have been able to undertake such a project without external help. We are not only grateful to our supporters, but also to the foreign and local artists both on and off-stage, who believed in our vision and were willing to embark on this journey with us.”
Culture Minister Owen Bonnici also extended his thanks. “Large productions of this scope involve hard work, dedication and passion, and I would like to express my gratitude to all the artists, staff and service providers who have worked tirelessly to create this exceptional experience for us all. I hope that this production will be enjoyed by all who attend and that it will continue to inspire and enrich our cultural landscape.”
The new production, featuring, designed and directed by international opera star, Argentine tenor José Cura, is the first at the Manoel to feature a full symphonic orchestra, through Mro Cura’s stage design that makes innovative use of the limited space.
The classic opera is a tragic story of passion, jealousy, love and murder, as tempestuous opera singer Floria Tosca fights to save her lover Cavaradossi from police chief Scarpia. Cura features as Cavaradossi in the Manoel production, with Bulgarian soprano Tanya Ivanova as Tosca and Carlos Almaguer as Scarpia. A strong local cast joins them, including Alan Sciberras, Albert Buttigieg, Louis Cassar and Nadia Vella, while the choir from KorMalta under chorus master Riccardo Bianchi, the Malta School of Music children’s choir under the direction of Marouska Attard, and the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Mario De Rose complete Puccini’s romantic score.
“Opera has the power to move, to enlighten and to inspire, and we are honoured to share this singular experience with the community,” said Jason Micallef. “Surrender to Puccini’s sublime music and Cura’s visionary direction and immerse yourself in the unforgettable world of one of the greatest operas of all time. This is an event that will be etched in your memory for years to come.”
At the end of the performance, Cura thanked the strong team working behind the scenes, for their hard work and dedication, with special thanks to Marco Bartolo the theatre’s stage artist, who is retiring after 30 years working at the Manoel.
Performances of Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca continue at Teatru Manoel on 8, 10 and 12 March 2023 at 7.30pm. This production is suitable for audiences aged 14 and above. Tickets are available via www.teatrumanoel.mt or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and telephone on (+356) 2124 6389.
Photo Credit: Sergio Aquilina Audio Visuals