The first commitment for the Maltese representation was at Canonica, a medieval church at Lucciana which has excellent acoustics. Here, the Gozitan artists were flanked by musicians from the Conservatoire of Monaco. The very well-patronised concert was attended by the mayor of Lucciana who welcomed and introduced the 2 groups at the start of the concert.
The 17th edition of the Rencontres Musicales de Mediterranee held in Corsica, France, during the first full week of November prominently featured the Gaulitanus Choir’s 3 soprano soloists, namely Patricia Buttigieg, Stephanie Portelli and Annabelle Zammit. Led and accompanied by the choir’s musical director Colin Attard, the Gozitan artists represented Malta in the festival. The other countries participating in this edition were Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Greece, Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Corsica itself, as well as special non-Mediteranean guest Venezuela.
The next event was held at Sisco. This also featured the wind ensemble of Milan’s Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi right after the Maltese performers. The concert was hosted by Sisco’s mayor, who heartily congratulated the Maltese artists on their performance,and (taking a cue from the lyrics of an excerpt just performed) he underlined the role of music in fostering peace and love amongst nations and the Rencontres’s feat in bringing together various Mediterranean countries.
The local artists were also invited to participate one of the evnets in the festival’s educational programme, namely that held at Bastia’s College Montesoro, a secondary school. Here, the Gozitan group performed alongside a 14-piece saxophone ensemble from Barcelona’s Conservatoire.
As always, the festival came to an end with a grand finale in Bastia’s Theatre Municipal, where artists from each of the participating countries took the stage in turns. The packed house received the Gozitan artists’ rendition extremely well. A photo of the soprano trio performing also made it in the finale’s review which appeared in the Corse-matin of Monday 9th November. Highlighting the trio’s performance of an operatic trio by Isouard alongside a Pace’s folkloristically-based number, the daily newspaper reported that: “Trois chanteuses montraient leurs qualites techniques en interpretant une piece classique. A l’applaudimetre, les voix d’opera prenaient le pas sur les traditionales”.
To round up the commitments, the organizers also invited the Gozitan entourage to animate the Sunday mass at Sant Antonio church in Bastia – a 16th century church in a picturesque Capuchins’ monastery overlooking Bastia harbour.