Culture
Two local opera productions are going head to head with different versions of the same opera
Missed October's opera season? Here's round two!

Caroline Curmi

Historically, opera season occurs in October when Gozo’s two opera houses host a magnificent production each. However, with the rise in cultural awareness comes more opportunity to exhibit Europe’s musical heritage on local shores.

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Indeed, in the coming months opera will once again reign supreme with Otello, set to feature at both Teatru Manoel in Malta and Aurora Theatre in Gozo. However, there’s an interesting twist; despite being based off the same story, both productions are vastly different.

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Organised by Gaulitana Festival, the opera held at Aurora Theatre follows the composition of Giuseppe Verdi and is based on Shakespeare’s play Othello. It will feature a stellar international cast, with soprano Monica Zanettin, tenor Kristian Benedikt and baritone Vladimir Stoyanov. Performing as Desdemona, Zanettin is famous for her interpretations of female roles in Verdi’s opera, with the Forum Opéra describing her as a “Verdienne émérite.” 

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Meanwhile, Teatru Manoel’s version is composed by Gioacchino Rossini with a libretto by Francesco Maria Berio di Salsa. Despite sharing common characters and a similar storyline, Rossini’s version is not based on Shakespeare’s work but on the French version of the story. This version will see local tenor Cliff Zammit Stevens step into the main role of Otello, with Iago and Desdemona played by Roberto Jachini Virgili and Valentina Mastrangelo respectively.

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Otello is the story of an interracial couple, Othello and Desdemona, who fall in love in 16th century Italy. Despite being wildly in love, their fate is marred by jealousy and racism, which leads to the couple's tragic end. 

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A space of two months separates both operas: Teatru Manoel will be hosting four performances on the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th March while Aurora Theatre’s performance is scheduled for 25th April 2020.

19th February, 2020


Caroline Curmi
Written by
Caroline Curmi
When she’s not having a quarter-life crisis, Caroline is either drawing in a café, frittering her salary on sushi or swearing at traffic in full-on Gozitan. There is also the occasional daytime drink somewhere in the equation. Or two. A creative must be allowed at least one vice.

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