|Teatru Astra announces the main cast ahead of the forthcoming Otello|
Giuseppe Verdi’s Otello, is Teatru Astra’s choice this year to kick off twelfth edition of Festival Mediterranea an annual festival of culture that seeks to expose that which the island of Gozo is well-known for in the cultural field: opera, music, history, archaeology, trades and traditions. The opera will be staged once again in Gozo after 10 years on Thursday 24 and Saturday 26 October.
Otello, as George Bernard Shaw observes, “is a play written by Shakespeare in the style of Italian opera.” There was never any question of Verdi passing it by. He made a completely new piece of work while preserving the original piece of work! That’s genius! That’s what you are in for at the Teatru Astra: a towering yet fragile Otello who will be taken up by one of the most sought-after Otellos in the current world of opera, Badri Maizuradze ; a fragile yet towering Desdemona who fits Miriam Cauchi’s voice like a glove; a scheming yet suave Jago to be sung by Alessandro Paliaga. The role of the gentle but firm Emilia will be sung by Olga Sliepnova who left a wonderful impression on the audience singing the role of Suzuki in last year’s production of Madama Butterfly, while that of powerful yet refined Lodovico will be interpreted by bass Franco de Grandis. Audiences remember him for his masterful and magnificent portrayal of Banquo, Timur and Sparafucile in Macbeth, Turandot and Rigoletto respectively a few years ago at Teatru Astra. The role of Cassio has been entrusted to Cliff Zammit Stevens, an up-and-coming young tenor who is creating musical waves both in his native Malta and abroad. Cliff has already proved his mettle with his incredible portrayal of Goro in Puccini's Madama Butterfly last year alongside world-class soprano Daniela Dessi and equally famous tenor Fabio Armiliato. The role of Roderigo will be sung by Bernard Busuttil while that of Montano will be interpreted by Ken Scicluna.
Otello is all about power and grace: hallmarks of the Teatru Astra opera productions.
Banking on the superb and well-seasoned team featuring Enrico Stinchelli, whose recent productions at the Astra have struck the right chord with the connoisseurs; scenic artist Joseph Cauchi and his collaborators’ fantastic technical skill, with Donald Micallef as stage manager: George Zammit and Ismael Portelli handling lights; the inimitable Opera Chorus coached by Maria Frendo; the costume department co-ordinated by Manuel Grima; this team, led by Mediterranea artistic director Joseph Vella, is a recipe for success. The Teatru Astra is poised to present another landmark production. Be part of it all….Do not let Otello pass you by…
The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Marcelline Agius, will once again be in attendance. It will be under the direction of Teatru Astra’s and Mediterranea’s Artistic Director, Prof. Joseph Vella.
Otello will be staged at Teatru Astra in Gozo, opening this year’s edition of the theatre’s annual cultural festival, Festival Mediterranea. Teatru Astra is supported by Public Funding through a Cultural Partnership Agreement with the Government of Malta. Other partners include Citadel Insurance, Malta International Airport, General Softdrinks and the Victoria Local Council.
Booking is open. Contact the festival’s helpdesk on 21550985, 79256897 or email
. Regular updates will be uploaded in the coming weeks on the festival website www.mediterranea.com.mt.