History is very much on the menu during the 10th edition of Festival Mediterranea,
currently underway in Gozo, with a number of events that should go down well with
those who appreciate local heritage. The festival, organised by volunteers at Teatru Astra,
opened on the 27th October with the first of two representations of the opera Norma,
received enthusiastically by local and foreign reviewers, and runs until 19th November.
The upcoming events include what should be an interesting lecture by leading historian
Victor Mallia-Milanes, Professor in the Department of History at the University of Malta,
discussing the last years of the Order of St John on Malta from the perspective of two
contemporary Venetian Hospitallers – Ottavio Benvenuti, who was the Order’s Minister
Plenipotentiary and Receiver in Venice, and Antonio Miari, who was the Grandmaster’s
Secretary for Italian Affairs and Venice’s Resident Minister on Malta. Both kept an
extensive correspondence recording their first-hand experiences during the last years of
the 18th Century, both collections being insightful in what they say and as vociferous in
what they don’t. Prof. Mallia-Milanes’ lecture will be held this Saturday 5th November at
9.00am at the Banca Giuratale in Victoria, and is open to the public free of charge.
Another appointment for art and church-lovers is that for Saturday 12th November,
with an on-site lecture led by artist and art-historian Mark Sagona, entitled Baroque to
Romantic: Gozo’s Masterpieces. The activity focuses on key works produced between
the early 17th Century and the late 19th Century, taking participants in several churches
to have a first-hand experience of the material under focus. The discussion will include
the Baroque of Mattia Preti and his local contemporaries, the Late Baroque currents
of Francesco Zahra and Rocco Buhagiar, the Neo-Classical traits of Pietro Paolo
Azzopardi, the Nazarene and Purist art of Giuseppe Hyzler and Salvatore Busuttil and
the Romanticism of Giuseppe Calì. The on-site lecture starts at 9am. Those wishing to
participate should meet until 8.45am in front of Teatru Astra. Booking is essential.
The festival continues for a fourth weekend, this time focusing on our unique prehistoric
heritage with another series of events led by British scholar and archaeologist Dr David
Trump. His first on-site lecture and walk tackles the Bronze Age settlement at In-
Nuffara, on Friday 18th November at 3pm. The second appointment is that of a lecture,
Conversations with Skeletons, held on Saturday 19th November at 9am at the Ministry for
Gozo Conference Hall. The latter event is being held free of charge.
Festival Mediterranea closes off with the annual much-anticipated band concert by the
La Stella Philharmonic, details of which will be announced in the coming days. More
information about the Festival and the events held as part of it are available online on
www.mediterranea.com.mt or by calling on 21550985. Events may be booked via email
or by calling 79256897.
3 November 2011