Music for Holy Week at Teatru Manoel
On Monday 30th March, 2015 Teatru Manoel is presenting a unique concert for Holy Week at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in Republic Street in Valletta at 7.30pm.
The concert will feature the renowned Ghislieri Choir and Consort who will perform Leonardo Leo’s Dove fuggo, a che penso, Niccolò Jommelli’s Miserere and will revive a highly interesting composition, namely the Improperia per il venerdi’ santo, by the renowned Maltese composer Benigno Zerafa (1726-1804). As its name implies, this work is ideal for a performance during Holy Week. The composer Benigno Zerafa was clearly influenced by the Neapolitan School and was a pupil of Francesco Feo (1691-1761) and fellow Maltese Gerolamo Abos (1715-60).
Frederick Aquilina, musicologist at the University of Malta states, “Zerafa’s Improperia is a part of the liturgy and although little is known about it, it is fascinating. The text, probably derived from Apocalypse of Ezra and due in part to the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah, imagines the ‘blame’ that Jesus imparted to the Jews from the cross, partly overlapping the reproaches from God himself, which reminds Jews of the salvation granted to the chosen people of Moses.”
Directed by Giulio Prandi, the Ghislieri Choir and Consort is the ensemble-in-residence at the historic Ghislieri College of Pavia and is supported by the Municipality of Pavia. It is one of the most successful ensembles in Europe at the moment and its director, Giulio Prandi has already featured on the front cover of the prestigious Amadeus magazine.
Ghislieri Choir and Consort has a special relationship with Malta and Valletta in particular. Collegio Ghislieri in Pavia is the alma mater of this accomplished baroque ensemble and it was founded by Pope Pius V who also funded the building of Valletta our capital city in the 17th century. His bust by Algardi is to be found in front of the Law Courts in Valletta. Ghislieri was the Pope’s family name.
Teatru Manoel Artistic Director, Kenneth Zammit Tabona explained, “It is our intention to extend the season by having seasonal concerts in other venues besides Teatru Manoel, to include churches and palaces and to be on the same lines as the baroque festival. Last Christmas, the Charpentier Litanies de La Vierge and Pastorales de Noel which took place at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Graces was extremely successful and it was decided to have a dedicated concert of music for Holy Week.”
The concert, which is being supported by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, will take place on Monday, 30th March (the eve of a public holiday) and will start at 7.30pm in the beautiful church of St. Francis of Assisi in Republic Street.