Maltese audiences will have their first opportunity to watch one of the most glorious scores written by the American composer Leonard Bernstein, Candide, in its Scottish opera concert version. This will take place at this year’s summer arts festival – Festival Malta 2005, organised by the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts, on Friday, 22nd July 2005 at the Valletta Waterfront at 8.30pm. The production is sponsored by the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts, Bank of Valletta plc, VISET plc, Vodafone Malta Foundation, Malta Tourism Authority, Bawag Malta Bank Ltd., HP world, Marsovin, Island Hotels Group and supported by the National Orchestra and the Manoel Theatre. All ticket proceeds will go in aid of Integra Foundation.

This was announced during a press conference held at the Valletta Waterfront by Fondation de Malte. Professor Salvino Busuttil, Director of the Foundation said: “Fondation de Malte is also presenting in collaboration with the International Ocean Institute, another premiere for Malta, Elisabeth; or to be a Mann, a 30-minute chamber opera with music by Charles Camilleri and libretto by Peter Serracino Inglott on Wednesday 3rd August 2005 at 8.30pm at the Valletta Waterfront.” The opera is preceded by a concert of chamber music of Charles Camilleri by the Medit Chamber Players and will include the Kanti Popolari with lyrics by Joe Friggieri. The event will again be supported by the Manoel Theatre and the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts.

Candide’s entire cast includes Voices choir, American baritone, Kurt Ollmann, who will be taking the roles of Pangloss and the Narrator; Canadian soprano Carla Huhtanen as Cunegonde; American baritone Christopher Holloway as Maximilian; tenor Juan Gambina as Candide, mezzosoprano Claire Massa as the Old Woman and soprano Rosabelle Bianchi as Paquette while tenors Charles Vincenti and Charles Vella Zarb will be interpreting multiple roles.

Michael Laus will conduct the National Orchestra and Martina Caruana is directing Voices choir.

Elisabeth; or to be a Mann is scored for a chamber combination of violin, clarinet, trumpet, trombone and tuba. The two main characters are The Magus (Thomas Mann) who will be interpreted by bass Albert Buttigieg and the Little Girl who will be sung by Rosabelle Bianchi. Artist Norbert Francis Attard will be taking care of the set design and the art direction and Mario Frendo will be stage director.

Both opera productions of Candide and Elizabeth; or to be a Mann are produced by Mario Frendo and Davinia Galea for Fondation de Malte.

These two productions are being held at the Valletta Waterfront as part of Festival Malta 2005, sponsored by HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c. and VISET plc.


Synopsis: Candide

In a castle in Westphalia, all are of the mind that “life is happy indeed and all things happen for the best.” But when the innocent youth Candide falls for the baron’s daughter and is tossed out of the castle, he plunges into an unlucky odyssey that tries his optimistic philosophy. Through shipwreck and earthquake, the disappearance of his beloved, and the loss of his mentor, Candide is forced to fend for himself in the real world, only to emerge with a credo of his own—that life is often what you make of it.

Synopsis: Elisabeth; or to be a Mann

The innovative opera is centred on the relationship between Thomas Mann and his youngest daughter Elisabeth. This relationship had as its peculiar focus the sea. Thomas Mann had won his Nobel Prize for literature because of a novel on family tradition and conflict. In his novels the sea is the symbol of chaotic revolution which threatens the traditional civilization which man loved. He felt that as a father he should mould his daughter in the same way as he shaped the characters in his novels.

Elisabeth, however, rebelled against the idea of a destiny cut out for her by her father.


First published on 22nd June, 2005 by The Malta Council for Culture and the Arts.