Under the curation of Vince Briffa, the collaborative art project Layers will combine the work of composer Mariella Cassar-Cordina, visual artist Victor Agius, writer Immanuel Mifsud and many other local artists.

This is a new and dynamic piece of local visual art and theatre that is currently in development, promising to bring something unique to the upcoming artistic season. And, as only twenty audience members will be able to watch each of the performances, tickets to this unique event are already selling out.

Layers is a contemporary amalgamation of sonic and visual elements designed by arts collective Ars Vitae Ensemble, and inspired by the heritage and history of St Agatha’s Catacombs. This interdisciplinary project will feature Immanuel Mifsud’s words transformed into music compositions by Mariella Cassar-Cordina, which will be scored for a male choir, percussion and electronics. All this will, in turn, merge with various sculptural interventions by visual artist Victor Agius.

Image: Victor Agius, Layers Project


The experimental work will be performed by the male members of the Schola Cantorum Jubilate under the direction of Marouska Attard. Sound artist Alistair Attard, who will be in charge of the electronic section, and percussionist Renzo Spiteri, will both add another layer to Cassar-Cordina’s compositions. The male choir, together with their choir mistress, have just finished recording the piece after rehearsing it over the summer.

Cassar-Cordina will now incorporate the voice of narrator Charles Caruana and develop the composition further. More rehearsals will take place in October, while, closer to the date, all the elements will come together on the site of the Catacombs themselves, where things are bound to change as a result of the confines of their influence.

Ars Vitae Ensemble is a cultural and educational NGO founded in 2009 in Gozo by Cassar-Cordina and Agius. It strives to find connections between music, visual art, dance and theatre. Aside from the creation of new music and interdisciplinary art, Layers will also build on the Ensemble’s belief in exploring the boundaries of collaboration, to give artists the space to rediscover and reaffirm their own artistic identity.

“The project is designed to be responsive, roving, innovative and groundbreaking, placing the emphasis on the process itself and the close interaction of the audience during the performance,” comment Cassar-Cordina and Agius.

The project is intrinsically collaborative, and Paul Haber has recently joined the team to work with Agius in one of the interventions in ceramics. Marble sculptor Raymond Bonello has also been contributing to the visual part of the project since the beginning of the journey, while curator Vince Briffa is the one keeping the project’s cohesiveness on track.


Image credit: Daniel Cassar. Image: Mariella Cassar Cordina and Victor Agius


“The title is connected to the various layers of earthy materials in the space, but also makes direct reference to the artistic concept, whereby the multiple strata of the music composition become one of the main elements of the work,” the artistic directors continued. “This, in turn, is intertwined with the artistic installations, forming a multi-layering of voices and visuals.”

Layers will be held at the St Agatha’s Catacombs in Rabat. Three performances will be held on the 2nd November from 5pm onwards, and another three on the 3rd November at the same times. There will also be a guided tour and hands-on workshops on the 5th November for students aged 9-13 years. The guided tour and artists’ talk will start at 3pm. Bookings in advance for the performances is compulsory and tickets are priced at €5 and are limited.

For further information, visit the Ars Vitae Ensemble website.

Layers and Ars Vitae Ensemble are being supported by the Malta Arts Fund – Arts Council Malta, The Farsons Foundation, Gozo Express Service, Quaint Hotels Gozo and the Janatha Stubbs Foundation.