Teatru Manoel is Malta’s National Theatre and a main contributor to the development of the culture sector. Its mission is to entertain, inform and educate, thereby enriching the cultural life of the audience as well as to provide a platform for artists to excel in their talents. It produces one of the busiest annual performance seasons of any theatre in Europe covering orchestral concerts, music recitals, drama, dance, an annual baroque festival and an education programme.
Built in 1731 by Grand Master Antonio Manoel de Vilhena, Teatru Manoel is one of the finest examples of baroque architecture and one of the oldest working theatres in the world. The Theatre has gone through a lot of changes in its history and is today a Grade 1 listed building and considered to be a magnificent jewel, existing humbly in the very centre of Valletta, Malta’s Capital City and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Orphée et Eurydice at Teatru Manoel
For the first time in Malta Teatru Manoel is presenting, as part of the BOV Performing Arts Festival, a new production of “Orphée et Eurydice” (1859 Berlioz revision) on the 16, 17, 19 and 20 March 2016 at 8pm.
Composed by Christoph Willibald Gluck (and considered as his finest) “Orphée et Eurydice” is based on the myth of Orpheus and set to a libretto by Jean Louis Molineit. It belongs to the genre of the azione teatrale, meaning an opera on a mythological subject with choruses and dancing. The piece was first performed at the Burgtheater in Vienna on 5 October 1762 in the presence of Empress Maria Theresa. Orphée et Eurydice is the first of Gluck’s «reform» operas, in which he attempted to replace the abstruse plots and overly complex music of opera seria with a «noble simplicity» in both the music and the drama. The opera is the most popular of Gluck’s works and one of the most influential on subsequent German opera.
It is the first time this opera is being staged in Malta. It features mezzo-sopranos Hadar Halevy and Lucia Cirillo sharing the male role of Orphée, Maltese soprano Gillian Zammit plays Eurydice and Francesca Aquilina plays Amour. The chorus is made up of predominantly Maltese singers. The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra will be conducted by Philip Walsh. The production also features ŻfinMalta Dance Ensemble with choreography by Mavin Khoo.
This new production will be re-imagined in the Victorian era and promises to be both moving and visually striking. Artistic Director, Kenneth Zammit Tabona states, “The concept of bringing the dead back to life is one that has haunted mankind since prehistory. The mythological story of the disconsolate Orpheus bringing his beloved Eurydice back to life has inspired artists, poets and composers to further immortalise it. There are operas by Vinci, Rossi, Monteverdi and even Offenbach and many more but none of them have the innate pathos of Gluck’s delicate interpretation. Excerpts like The Dance of the Blessed Spirits and Que fais-Je sans Eurydice? have long become standard popular fare and it is this familiarity with the opera that inspired us at the Theatre to produce our own interpretation of this glorious Transitional opera on a stage that is eminently suitable to it. I can assure you that the production, in the hands of Denise Mulholland with stage design by Pierre Portelli and costumes by Luke Azzopardi, will leave you mesmerized, charmed and intrigued.”
The opera will be sung in French with English surtitles and starts at 8pm. Ticket holders can attend a pre-opera talk at 7.15pm.
Performances are on Wednesday 16th, Thursday 17th, Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th March 2016. Tickets can be purchased from www.teatrumanoel.com.mt, by email to email@example.com or tel 2124 6389.