Gozo’s Gaulitanus Choir has recently participated at the 20th edition of the Festival di Pasqua held in Rome, Italy. This followed an invitation by the Associazione Festival di Pasqua – a direct result of the ongoing collaboration between the choir-organized Gaulitana: A Festival of Music and the Festival di Pasqua’s artistic director Enrico Castiglione, who has been collaborating with the choir for the past years for its annual operatic production.
Very suggestive of this link is the fact that the choir’s performances were held at the magnificent Basilica of Sant’Andrea della Valle. Indeed, the first act of Puccini’s Tosca – which was the first opera put on during Gaulitana – is set in this grand basilica in the very heart of the Eternal City.
The first of the choir’s two musical commitments was the animation of the liturgy during the Saturday evening mass celebrated by the basilica’s rector Rev. Carlos Gomez-Ruiz on the 20th May. A full-scale concert followed on Sunday evening.
The concert consisted of 3 parts. The first, called Preludio di Ave Maria, consisted of various Ave Maria composed by Arcadelt, Schubert, Beethoven, Mascagni and Gibilaro. The second part, entitled Interludio di musica Maltese, consisted of works by the choir’s founder-director Colin Attard, whereas the third part, called Finale di celebri pezzi sagri, presented several well-known works by Bach, Mozart, Franck, Verdi, Bizet and Young. Encouraged by an appreciative audience the choir gave an encore: fittingly Giuseppe Caruana’s Fil-Hlewwa ta’ Mejju – as arranged by Colin Attard, as was the case with several other works.
For these Festival di Pasqua commitments, the choir’s resident soloists, sopranos Annabelle Zammit and Stephanie Portelli and bass Ian Grech, were joined by two guest soloists, soprano Georgina Gauci and tenor Charles Vella Zarb. The choir was accompanied by its resident organist Stephen Attard and also featured Pierre Louis Attard on the violin. The choir’s founder-director Colin Attard conducted.
This choir’s first appearance in Rome, back-to back with a very successful concert-tour of Tuscany last December, was its 11th concert-tour abroad. Apart from Italy, previous ventures on foreign soil took the choir to the UK, the Netherlands, Greece and Corsica (France).
Photos Credits: Betty Bugeja24