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The Vodafone Malta Foundation is once again supporting the eighth edition of Festival Mediterranea which will again be held in October and November in Gozo. The highlight of this festival will be the staging of Giuseppe Verdi's masterpiece Rigoletto on Thursday 29th October, with a repeat performance on Saturday 31st October at the Astra Theatre in Gozo.
Following last year's resounding success with superb productions of Puccini's Turandot, the management has secured the services of international top artistes to ensure a spectacular and entertaining Rigoletto.
Artistic Director Mario Corradi, hailed as "il bravissimo regista toscano" (the great Tuscan director) by established critic Massimiliano Guelfi Pulvirenti in his glowing critique of last year's production of Turandot at the Astra, carried in the prestigious Milan-based opera journal Corriere del Teatro, will once again be at the helm.
Tenor Antonino Interesano and soprano Miriam Cauchi have been entrusted with the leading roles of the pleasure-seeking Duke and the hapless and doomed Gilda respectively. Bulgarian baritone Peter Danailov will be making his Malta debut as the lovable 'villain' of the piece, Rigoletto. Possessing a big voice, laced with the dark and menacing undertones, Danailov has hit the opera world as the quintessential Verdi baritone.The co-primari roles of Sparafucile and Maddalena have been entrusted to heavy-weights basso profondo Franco de Grandis and mezzo-soprano Emilia Boteva respectively. Their rich sonorous voices posses a gravitas that is appropriately Verdian, as evidenced in their signal interpretations at the Astra in recent productions of Macbeth (Bunquo) and Aida (Amneris) among others.
The Astra Theatre Opera Chorus is once again being coached by Maria Frendo. The National Philharmonic Orchestra (leader Marcelline Agius) will be conducted by Joseph Vella, the resident conductor and Music Director at the Astra.
The costumes, settings and lighting effects designed for this new production by Corradi, are being prepared in-house by the Astra technical team. Dorothy Baldacchino is the assistant to the production.
Festival Mediterranea celebrates 7000 years of culture on Gozo, a festival of music, history and archaeology. One can visit the festival's website www.mediterranea.com.mt for the full programme of events and updated news as the festival will be launched in the coming weeks.