The Malta Council for Culture and the Arts (MCCA) launched the calendar of events for its summer arts festival, Festival Malta 2005, at a press conference held (today) at Valletta Waterfront. The festival will run from July through to August 2005. The main events will be held at Valletta Waterfront, St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, and University Campus.

Sponsored by HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c and VISET Malta, Festival Malta 2005 offers a package of cultural events including an opera premiere, cutting edge contemporary dance, virtuoso classic concerts, experimental Maltese theatre, and a Maltese poetry recital accompanied by ethnic music along with the three day jazz festival and the annual Shakespearean play.

HSBC Executive Director, Dr Philip Farrugia Randon, presented the sponsorship cheque to Professor Joe Friggieri, MCCA Chairman, in the presence of the Minister for Tourism and Culture, Dr Francis Zammit Dimech, and the Festival Malta Coordinator, Mr Lino Farrugia.

This is the second year that the MCCA is hosting the summer arts festival.


The official opening of the summer arts festival is on 1st July with a visual arts exhibition entitled Six Generations of Maltese Contemporary Artists. Co-ordinated by George Glanville, the exhibition brings together the artistic works of Maltese artists born between the 1920s and the 1970s. The exhibition will be on display till 7 August at the restored Pinto Stores located at Valletta Waterfront.

Between 28th June and 8th July, The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare, will be presented by MADC at San Anton Gardens.

On Sunday 3rd July, the Euro Academy Youth Orchestra will present a Charity Concert under the direction of Manoel Pirotta, in aid of the James Grech Cancer Fund, at the Vaults no 15, Valletta Waterfront.

On Tuesday 5th July and Thursday 7th July, Virtuoso Classics featuring internationally acclaimed Italian pianist Davide Cabassi will be held at Casino Maltese and at St James Cavalier respectively. These performances will open the Virtuoso Classics Concert Series presented by Euro Academy of Music and Arts, under the artistic direction of Alan Chircop.

Between Friday 15th and Sunday 17th July, the 15th edition of the Malta Jazz Festival, under the artistic direction of Charles Gatt, will take place at Ta’ Liesse, Valletta, The line up includes, Joe Debono Trio, John Zorn, Richard Galliano New York Trio on Friday, Cama de Gato, Saxo Four and Maria Joăo, Brian Blades Fellowship sextet on Saturday, Greg Osby Group, Dino Saluzzi and Rosa Passos on Sunday.

On Friday 22nd July, Candide, an opera by Leonard Bernstein, produced by Mario Frendo and Davinia Galea for Fondation de Malte, will be presented in concert version. This is one of the summer calendar’s highlights with the participation of the Voices choir led by Martina Caruana, and the National Orchestra conducted by Michael Laus. The cast for this Maltese premiere includes American baritone Kurt Ollmann, a Bernstein veteran who can be heard on original Bernstein recordings. Other international singers include Canadian soprano Carla Huhtanen, fresh from her success at the Royal Festival Hall with the BBC Orchestra, and the young American baritone Christopher Holloway. Maltese singers include tenor Juan Gambina, mezzo-soprano Claire Massa, soprano Rosabelle Bianchi and tenors Charles Vincenti and Charles Vella Zarb. All ticket proceeds will go to charities chosen by Voices choir. Candide will be held at the Valletta Waterfront at 8.30pm.

On Saturday, 23rd July, the Italian percussion trio, Ars Ludi will perform Visions of Rhythm, a combination of drumming with theatre and action. The program features a selection of works by a variety of contemporary composers, including a piece written Ruben Zahra entitled Canto delle Onde. Ars Ludi has made its mark in major international festivals. The performers are Antonio Caggiano, Rodolfo Rossi and Gianluca Ruggeri.

On Tuesday 26th & Wednesday 27th, artistic director and choreographer Francesca Abela Tranter will showcase her contemporary dance company, Contact Dance Company in a triple bill dance performance at the Valletta Waterfront. The choreographies include Poetry in Motion and Tempest choreographed by Francesca Abela Tranter; TVOD choreographed by Douglas Comley, (Wales); and Are you right, and I’m wrong? choreographed by Michael Joseph, (UK). Michael Joseph and Gary Benjamin are guest dancers and percussionist Renzo Spiteri will be accompanying the dancers with live music in two of the choreographies.

On Friday 29th Piano Virtuoso featuring Greek piano virtuoso, Panagiotis Trochopoulos will be held at St James Cavalier with a repeat performance on Saturday 30th July at Casino Maltese, Valletta. Piano Virtuoso is part of the Virtuoso Classics concert series presented by Euro Academy of Music and Arts.

On Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st July, is a dance weekend with Reflections at Valletta Waterfront. Clarissa Borg will present a dance programme with the participation of senior members of Creative Dance Studio. A special feature in this programme is Actus Melicus – music in motion, an original interdisciplinary contemporary art piece conceived by composer Ruben Zahra, with live violinist Roberta Attard and actress/dancer Sharon Bezzina.

On Wednesday 3rd August, Elisabeth: or to be a Mann, an opera with libretto by Peter Serracino Inglott and music by Charles Camilleri. The 30-minute chamber opera is produced by Davinia Galea and Mario Frendo for Fondation de Malte, under the stage direction of Mario Frendo and under the art direction and set designer, Norbert Francis Attard. Soprano Rosabelle Bianchi and Bass Albert Buttigieg will interpret the parts of Elisabeth Mann Borgese and her Father Thomas Mann. The opera production will be held at Valletta Waterfront at 8.30pm, and will be coupled with a concert of chamber music of Charles Camilleri. The music will be performed by the Medit Chamber Players and will include the Kanti Popolari with lyrics by Joe Friggieri.

On Saturday 6th August a Charity Concert by Anstan Piano Trio in aid of James Grech Cancer Fund, presented by MCCA and the James Grech Cancer Fund at St James Cavalier, Valletta

On Sunday, 7th August, the splendid bastions of Valletta Waterfront will serve as a backdrop for Swar, a Maltese literary evening presented by Poezijaplus and co-ordinated by Sergio Grech. Maltese poetry will be recited over a soundtrack of Maltese ethnic instruments such as the bagpipe, reed pipe, cane flute, friction drum and frame drum by the folk ensemble Nafra led by Ruben Zahra. Nafra’s concert will be premiered a week before in Portugal.

On Friday 12th and Saturday 13th August Great Romantics featuring virtuoso French pianist Michel Bourdoncle will be held at the Casino Maltese and a repeat performance at St James Cavalier. The concert is part of the Virtuoso Classics concert series organised by Euro Academy of Music and Arts.

On Friday 19th and Saturday 20th August La Bella Voce will be held at Torri Lanzun and a repeat performance at St. James Cavalier. Popular arias will be performed by internationally acclaimed mezzo soprano Sophia Grech and accompanied by the renowned pianist Eleonora Bekova. La Bella Voce is part of Virtuoso Classics Concert Series organised by Euro Academy of Music and Arts.

Between the 19th and 28th August, the annual DramaFest 2005 showcasing the latest theatre trends in Malta will be held at St James Cavalier. Twelve theatre groups will be taking part. These include Aleateia, Curtain Raiser Theatre Group; Du’; Faces Theatre Group; Helptheblindartist; imaginarts entertainment productions; Playhouse Theatre Arts, Ruben Zahra, Sleepwalkers, Stage Breeze, theatre@lliance; and Urbania.

On Thursday 25th August the acclaimed young violinist Aleksandar Krapovski and renowned pianist Eleonora Bekova in a stunning programme, Violin Virtuoso, at St James Cavalier. A repeat performance will be held on Friday 26th August at Casino Maltese, Valletta. This concert is part of the Virtuoso Classics Concert Series organised by Euro Academy of Music and Arts.

Between 26th and 28th August Fenici, a classic Greek Drama by Euripedes in Maltese, at the University Campus, Tal-Qroqq. The production is directed by Lino Farrugia and produced by Kooperattiva Kulturali Universita’ (KKU)

On Friday 2nd September the Grand Finale of the Virtuoso Classics Concert Series organised by Euro Academy of Music and Arts. The varied programme will feature Eleonora Bekova, piano (UK), Marius Stravinsky, violin (Lithuania), John McDonough, oboe (UK), Natalia Filipenko, violin, Yaroslav Miklukho, cello (Ukraine) and Yuri Charyguine, accordion (Russia) featuring Tangos by Piazzola at the Casino Maltese, Valletta.

Photo caption: Professor Joe Friggieri, Chairman of Malta Council for Culture and the Arts, announcing the summer arts festival – Festival Malta 2005. Also present at the press conference, (from left) Chris Falzon, Chief Executive, VISET plc, Dr Philip Farrugia Randon, Executive Director, HSBC Bank Malta plc, Minister for Tourism and Culture, Francis Zammit Dimech, and Lino Farrugia, Festival Co-ordinator.  Photo credit: Unknown

First published on 16th June 2005 by The Malta Council for Culture and the Arts.