|John Galea assumes the role of Astra's opera conductor|
Conductor John Galea assumes the role of resident conductor of Opera at Teatru Astra and Artistic Director of Festival Mediterranea as from this year. Although he is no newcomer to the operatic genre, this will be his first opera at Teatru Astra. We are so much looking forward to making music with this man and starting a fresh adventure for Opera in Gozo. Teatru Astra has banked on the diversified academic spectrum of John Galea as Musical Director, coupled with his robust and insightful interest in the operatic art-form.
In Galea's opinion, 'Verdi's music represents the embodiment of dramatic energy and passion, infusing dramatic situations with shattering expressiveness where all emotion is seen in terms of action and conflict. Like last year's La Traviata offering, Il Trovatore has its own dose of sustained pathos, where the vocal texture impinges the basic emotions of love, hate, jealousy, grief and joy upon the audience. Melodic invention, whether soulful or impulsive, thus becomes the most immediate expression of human feeling.'
After its triumphant premiere, Il Trovatore circulated rapidly worldwide. No other Verdi opera except Ernani enjoyed such instant and widespread success as Il Trovatore, running throughout Italy and in foreign theatres as far away as Athens, Lisbon, Madrid, Vienna, Warsaw, Rio de Janiero, Buenos Aires, and New York. The opera enjoyed its Malta premiere at Teatru Rjal in 1853 and its first performance at Teatru Astra way back in 1996.
Despite its notoriously far-fetched plot, with its mixed-up babies, poisonous potions and unassuaged hatred between brothers who do not recognize each other, the opera continues to be a huge success with the public because of its superb vocal and instrumental music, ravishing multiple melodies and fast-paced score.
This opera is a great audience favourite and a timeless classic wedged between the musical and dramatic innovations of Rigoletto and La Traviata. In this opera Verdi renders traditional forms through a polychromatic score that delves into the psyche of the drama's main characters. As the great Caruso said, 'it's easy to put on Il Trovatore as long as you are able to cast the four leading roles with the best singers around.' And such is Teatru Astra's trump card, where utmost care has been taken to ensure top-notch and competent interpretations of the leading and comprimario roles together with the full-bodied sound of the Astra Opera Chorus. This will be a night to remember!
Article was originally published in the September-November edition of culture magazine Encore, distributed with the Malta Independent on Sunday 25th August 2019.