Today marks the 11th edition of Gaulitana’s big day.

The first event starts at noon with Food, Wine and Music at Vini e Capricci in Xewkija.  This event showcases a buffet of local food produce prepared by local chef George Borg while Ta’ Verna Duo will perform local music. The full-scale production of Giacomo Puccini’s opera Madama Butterfly, the highlight of this year’s festival, will commence at the Aurora Opera House, Victoria, at 7.30pm. The opera will be preceded with a pre-opera talk by Albert Storace at 6.30pm. Madama Butterfly features Miriam Gauci in the title role, Vincenzo Costanzo as Pinkerton, Alberto Mastromarino as Sharpless, Rossana Rinaldi as Suzuki and Roberto Covatta as Goro. Louis Andrew Cassar, David Debono, Joseph Lia, Patricia Buttigieg and Ian Grech will play the roles of The Bonze, Prince Yamadori, The Imperial Commissioner, Kate Pinkerton and The Official Registrar respectively. Colin Attard will conduct the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and the Gaulitanus Choir. Enrico Castiglione is the director and set designer while the costumes are the creation of Sonia Cammarata. This year, a post-opera dinner with the stars is being organised at Vini e Capricci at 11pm.

Gaulitana’s Opera+ Weekend continues tomorrow at the Ministry for Gozo Hall in Victoria at 11am with a concert entitled Silvery Sounds Before Lunch, by flutist Mina Ghobrial and pianist Angela Meluso.  Those attending the concert will assist to works by Fauré, Tomasi, Gluck, Halaka, Gaubert, Telemann and Ghobrial’s own Inspiration à la gare de Lyon.

This will be followed by Finale – Con Gioia! at St Francis church in Victoria at 7pm, which brings to an end another edition of the Gaulitana festival. Participating in this concert will be flutist Ghobrial and violinist Mauro Tortorelli, together with the Gaulitana String Orchestra conducted by Colin Attard. Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik ensure a delightul alla prossima with Gozo’s main classical music festival.

Gaulitana is supported by the Gozo Cultural Support Programme of Arts Council Malta in collaboration with the Ministry for Gozo and the Malta EU presidency. For more information about the festival, call  7703 8971, send an e-mail to gaulitanafestival@gmail.com or visit www.gaulitanus.com.