The Gaulitanus Choir has issued the full programme of events making up the 9th edition of its annual springtime Gaulitana: A Festival of Music. The festival, artistically directed by Gaulitanus founder-director Colin Attard, runs from Saturday 11th April until Sunday 24th May and includes 28 events featuring a mixture of top-notch international and local artists, as well as emerging talent, in a variety of genres.

Musical theatre opens up the festival; indeed a semi-acted production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s best-loved musical The Sound of Music – celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Hollywood movie – featuring the Gaulitanus Choir and its soloists accompanied by a combo orchestra (Director: Terry Shaw, Conductor: Colin Attard).

Classical instrumental recitals abound. Michael Laus appears for the first time in Gozo in a solo piano recital. Other top pianists include a Billboard Classical Music Chart Top 10 Artist, American Alexander Frey (who will also give an organ concert) and David Boldrini, who was prominently featured in the important Italian musical magazine Amadeus.

A number of ensemble concerts are scheduled, featuring Malta’s top string players Marcelline Agius and Nadia Debono and also the Duo Tortorelli-Meluso, recipient of the Mediterranean Prize, one of the highest cultural awards  by the European Union. The Keats String Quartet will present two recitals, in the former joined by oboist Nicola Fairbairn. These concerts contrast substantially with that presented by emerging saxophonist Iacopo Sammartano and particularly that by crossover jazz pianist Mirko Maria Matera.

Vocal recitals will range from Spanish music to Romantic lieder and American musicals, whereas Ruth Sammut Casigena and Sofia Narmania will give the Malta premiere of a song cycle by Italian contemporary composer Federico Gozzelino. Choral music also features, with the Gaulitanus Choir itself presenting a concert with music from World War I, the Coro Lirico Siciliano performing sacred music by Sicilian composers, and the Wycliffe Choral Society closing the festival with a grand concert featuring great sacred works by Beethoven and Poulenc.

The highlight of the festival is the full-scale production of Giuseppe Verdi’s great opera Rigoletto featuring renowned international artists, the Gaulitanus Choir and the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Colin Attard. Director Enrico Castiglione will bring to our shores the production that was broadcast in cinemas around the world by RAI MONDOVISIONE.

Entrance to all the concerts, except for the opera, is free of charge and no pre-booking is required.  Rigoletto will be held on Friday, 22nd May 2015 at the Teatru tal-Opra Aurora. Booking for the opera can be made on 7904 5779, gaulitanafestival@gmail.com or online at www.teatruaurora.com. www.gaulitanus.com