terranova casciarri

Full scale opera in Gozo returns in May, thanks to the Gaulitanus Choir who is consolidating last year’s experiment of a fully-fledged opera in spring, and returning to the Aurora, this time with Rigoletto.

 Piero Terranova as Rigoletto

As the 9th edition of << Gaulitana: A Festival of Music >> kicks off this weekend, the opera production of Rigoletto comes towards the end of this 6-week long festival, on Friday 22nd May 2015 at 8pm. The title role will be interpreted by Piero Terranova, whose career has seen him appear in many prestigious theatres such as Italy’s La Scala, La Fenice, San Carlo, Berlin’s Deutsche Oper and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and working with conductors and directors as Muti, Sinopli, Palumbo, Zeffirelli, De Ana and Vick. Only last October he was in Gozo at the Astra Theatre singing the title role of Nabucco.

Emerging Moldovian soprano Natalia Roman, will appear as Gilda. After first interpreting the role at the Arena di Verona, Roman has taken the Italian operatic scene by storm and her interpretations of the bel canto repertoire are highly acclaimed in the demanding Italian press. The Duke of Mantua will be Italian tenor Giorgio Casciarri who has graced most of the world’s leading opera houses including the La Scala, the Metropolitan and the Vienna Staatoper. He has sung The Duke of Mantua for some 250 since he debut. No wonder it is considered as his “cavallo di battaglia”.

 Audiences for the Gozo opera, particularly at the Aurora should be familiar with the Italian Bass Emanuele Cordaro (who appeared in Trovatore (2014)) and the Polish mezzo Agata Bienkowska (who appeared as Meg in Falstaff (2013)). They shall return after their respective successes, this time as Sparafucile and Maddalena.

Monterone, whose curse is the fulcrum of the opera’s plot, will be Salvatore di Salvo, Dave Monaco will be Borsa, Alberto Maria Munafo will be Ceprano and Marvo Tinnirello will be Marullo. The cast is then complimented by Maltese artistes May Caruana as Giovanna, Patricia Buttigieg as Countess Ceprano, Annabelle Zammit as the Page, and David Debono as the Herald.

 A Rai Mondovisione production for Gozo

Last year’s Tosca, by the Gaulitanus choir was the first opera, in recent history, produced in Gozo, not by any one of the theatres, albeit housed at the Aurora Theatre. A success in its own might and right, the producers are keen on regale opera-lovers with another high-calibre production. In fact, this production by Enrico Castiglione was aired on Rai Mondovisione. Castiglione is also responsible for sets, while the lavish costumes will be Sonia Cammarata’s.

Rigoletto at the Aurora Opera House will see the acclaimed participation of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra (leader: Marcelline Agius), which, together with the male section of the Gaulitanus Choir and a complement of Italian choristers, will be directed by Colin Attard, now a household name in local opera, himself being the director/founder of the Gaulitanus choir, and concurrently, the resident conductor of the Teatru tal-Opra Aurora.

 Rigoletto by Gaulitanus is being held at the Teatru tal-Opra Aurora on Friday, 22nd May @ 2000hrs. Tickets vary from €80 to €30, with special €20 tickets available for students. They may be purchased online via www.teatruaurora.com or via the theatre’s ticket helpline 79045779. Free ferry-theatre transport and back, in Gozo, will be provided, subject to prior booking.

Gaulitana: A Festival of Music, “Gozo’s top classical music festival” (Sunday Times of Malta) runs from the 11th April until the 24th May.



GIORGIO CASCIARRI                                    The Duke of Mantua

PIERO TERRANOVA      Rigoletto, the Duke’s jester, a hunchback

NATALIA ROMAN            Gilda, daughter of Rigoletto

EMANUELE CORDARO Sparafucile, a professional assassin

AGATA BIENKOWSKA  Maddalena, sister of Sparafucile

SALVATORE DI SALVO   Count Monterone, a nobleman

DAVE MONACO                  Borsa, a courtier

MARCO TINNIRELLO      Count Ceprano, a nobleman

ALBERTO M. A. MUNAFÒ   Marullo, a courtier

MAY CARUANA                    Giovanna, Gilda’s nurse

PATRICIA BUTTIGIEG      Countess Ceprano, Count Ceprano’s spouse


DAVID DEBONO                  A Herald


Chorus Master: Colin Attard


Leader: Marcelline Agius

 COLIN ATTARD (Conductor)

ENRICO CASTIGLIONE (Director / Set Designer)



CELINE DEBRINCAT (Wardrobe Co-ordinator)


MONICA ANDRIEKUTE (Lights Musical Assistant)


ORAZIO CORSARO (Stage Director)

FRANCESCO MAESANO (Stage Musical Assistant)

 MILO LONGO (Repetiteur)

TANIA MASTRIANGIOLI (Production Assistant)