In what way will this year's edition be catering to different audiences/age groups?
From the very first edition in 2006 the festival always catered for different audiences and age groups. This third edition is no exception, with events ranging from popular to more avant-garde and research performances. I don’t like the idea of categorising audiences by age group or any other label. Our aim is to present the widest possible range of genres and styles without imposing any particularly. What I mean is that when one is designing a programme of this sort, one has to keep in mind to balance the events as much as possible. What we strongly believe is that as a country Malta needs to promote its own - but not exclusively - contemporary art more vigorously. In order to gain respect on the artistic level, a country needs to promote not only what it already has, but what it produces. Contemporary art is a manifestation of the fact that art is alive and that structures are sound for this to happen. The visual art exhibitions this year by Richard England and Patrick Fenech support our commitment. Moreover, this year we launched the Contemporary Music series, which will feature only contemporary music. The first of three concerts in this series will present music by contemporary Maltese composers, thus proving that this reality is strong in Malta and all it needs is that we believe in it and promote it.
How do you think the various artistic genres are spread out and represented this time around?
Regarding genre and styles, the festival offers a wide spectrum. From classical music to jazz and contemporary music, an acoustic pop gig by local band Chasing Pandora, a choir recital by The New Choral Singers, a spectacular concert called ‘A tribute to the Stars’ and a performance of Egyptian music by virtuoso Oud player Hazeem Shahine; theatre from Shakespeare presented by London’s Globe Theatre to Chekhov produced by Maltese production company Actinghouse Productions and Odin Teatret from Denmark, a Maltese play in English by Vince Vella, a theatrical project celebrating Maltese playwright Francis Ebejjer and street theatre by Spanish group Azar Teatro; dance from the Ballet National de Marseille to Puerto Flamenco’s Apacheando; visual arts by artists Richard England and Patrick Fenech. All these are spread over the 17 days of the festival. Strada, the street party, will be back this year following last year’s success. We are also introducing the Marsovin Summer Wine Festival this year. Maltese pianist Stefan Cassar together with French ensemble Quator Stringendo is this year’s curtain raiser.
What can you tell me about the venues chosen this year? Floriana seems to be a popular new addition...
This year, in fact, we will not be limiting ourselves to Valletta. The Argotti Gardens and the La Vittoria Bastion – Ospizio in Florana will also be used. The latter is a new venue and will be used for the first time during the festival this year. It is part of the gardens within the bastions surrounding Floriana. It’s a very interesting place which is proving to be very inspiring for the artists working in it. Ghar id-dud in Sliema will also be used this year.
There are various foreign acts on the program. What was their reaction to being asked to perform in Malta?
It is rarely a problem to get artists over to Malta. I mean, after overcoming the financial hurdle, it’s amazing how many artists reply that they are looking forward to visit our island. A good example is tenor Ian Bostridge, who will be performing together with pianist Julius Drake. He said that following his studies in history, he is particularly intrigued by his visit to our Island after having read about Malta during his student days. We tend to forget Malta’s rich culture and the fact that artists who visit us are always glad to have experienced it. As much as we look forward to share their art, foreign artists are usually aware of our rich culture and history shows that Malta was always a centre where cultures met and converged. This is in fact one of the aims of the Malta Arts Festival: to act as agent for this process of convergence to carry on.
The Festival’s sponsors include the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports, the National Lotteries and Good Causes Fund within the Ministry of Finance, HSBC, BOV, the Malta Tourism Authority and the Valletta Local Council.
Tickets to all events are available online from maltaticket.com, or from any of the following outlets in Malta and Gozo: Exotique, Agenda, Vodafone, Bookends and Newskiosk. For more information and a full programme of events visit to www.maltaculture.com and www.maltaartsfestival.com
Gay Pride party at Groove Gardens, Gianpula from 22:30. Featuring Ira Losco and DJs Andy Luca and Coco Da Housebitch. Also featuring international DJ Pier Morrocco and entertainment from The Phoenician Jockeys and Klozet. Tickets are at €10.50, available from MatchMusic, Offshore, Cucoo's and Collezione. Ticket hotlines: 79272601, 79292107.
THEATRE AND DANCE
July 2 - 5
The Pardon Beggars
A stage version of the radio play by Vincent Vella, which was selected as regional winner for Europe in the BBC World Service and British Council International Radio Playwriting Competition 2007. Directed by Chris Gatt and featuring Pia Zammit, Coryse Borg, Manuel Cauchi and John Suda. Tickets may be purchased from Exotique, Agenda, Vodafone, Bookends and Newkiosks outlets, as well as from www.maltaticket.com
July 5 - 9
MADC will be presenting Shakespeare’s Macbeth at Fort St Elmo, as directed by the Australian director Geoffrey Borny. The cast includes Paul Portelli, Charlotte Grech, Alan Paris, Jean Pierre Aguis, Colin Willis, Paula Fleri Soler, Faye Paris, Katherine Brown and Maxine Calleja Urry. www.madc.biz
July 8 - 11
Actinghouse Productions presents two comedies by Anton Chekhov (On the Harmfulness of Tobacco and The Bear) at the La Vittoria Bastions, Floriana (down the road from the public library). The performances will be accompanied by traditional Russian music by accordionist Yuri Charyguine and violinist Nemanja Ljubinkovic. Book tickets from www.maltaticket.com or Exotique, Agenda, Vodafone, Bookends and Newskiosk.
July 11, 12
Puerto Flamenco’s Apachenado
Puerto Flamenco will be performing at the Argotti Gardens, Floriana from 21:00. Tickets are at €15. Book from www.maltaticket.com or purchase from all Exotique, Agenda, Bookends, Vodafone and Newskiosk outlets.www.puertoflamenco.com, www.myspace.com/puertoflamencospace
Areola Treat E.P. launch
The band will be launching their self-titled EP at Poxx Bar, Paceville accompanied by Cable 35 and DJ Jeanz. Doors open at 21:30, entrance is free upon purchase of E.P. at €10, €6 without E.P.
July 4, 5
Fringe! Productions presents the second edition of the international jazz festival, held at the Argotti Gardens, Floriana. The first night will feature the Prez-Pilon group from Paris and 3por6 from Brazil. The second night will feature the Germany-based pianist Christophe Adams, who will be playing from 21:00. The final act will be the renowned Italian musician Nico Gori. For more information visit www.myspace.com/jazzfringe
Colour Me - A spectrum of Baroque Music
Dorothy Baldacchino, Elaine Borg and Rachel Curmi, accompanied by Ramona Zammit Formosa, will be presenting a recital of Baroque songs, arias and sacred works by Bach, Caccini, Giordani, Gluck, Handel, Lotti, Paisiello, Pergolesi and Purcell at St Catherine’s Church of Italy, Valletta from 11:00.
Winter Moods + Salt
Courtesy of NnG Promotions and Vodafone Music Jam, Winter Moods will be playing a mega summer concert at the Valletta Waterfront, supported by Salt. General standing tickets are at €10 each. Vodafone customers get a free ticket with every ticket purchased. A limited number of VIP tickets are available at €20 each. Tickets are available from Vodafone Retail Outlets and Exclusive Dealers, Exotique, Agenda Bookshop and online at www.maltaticket.com. www.wintermoods.net
Nomad Son/Archaic Descent
The metal bands will be performing at Poxx Bar from 21:00. Nomad Son will be launching their CD, ‘First Light’. Entrance is at €7, free entrance with each CD purchased. www.nomadson.com, www.archaicdescent.com
Extreme Maltese Metal Festival
20 local bands will be divided into metal and rock stages during the festival, taking place at Montekristo Estates, Siggewi from 15:00. Entrance is at €20. Transport to the venue will be available from Phoenicia Hotel, Floriana at 15:00 and after the event at 02:30. For a full list of the bands playing log on to www.extrememaltesemetal.com
Acoustic music at Townhouse 5, Republic Street, Rabat. Starts at 21:00 and entrance is free. To get to Townhouse 5, drive into Rabat's main street, passing the petrol station, and make a second turning on the right. For reservations call 27500055.
Until 5 July
A joint video installation by Ruth Bianco and Richard Davies at the Loggia Gallaries at the Loggia, National Museum of Fine Arts, Valletta. Free Entrance. Open Monday to Sunday from 09.00 - 17.00 (last admission 16.30).
Until July 10
A selection of artworks by Esprit and Simon Barthet, Giuseppe Cali’, Mary de Piro and Philippa Bianchi, Antoine, Gerald and Antoine-Paul Camilleri, Victor and Andrew Diacono, the brothers Edward and Robert and Debbie Caruana Dingli, Blanche Ellul Sullivan and Anna Grima, Arnold and Nicola Sultana at Gallery G, no. 4, Sir Ugo Mifsud Street, Lija. Open between 09:00 and 17:00 on weekdays and 09:30 and 12:30 on Saturdays. Contact details: 21421984/5. E-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until July 13
Exhibition of abstract work on canvas by Jolene Cini and Sarah Spiteri at the GWU Hall, Valletta. Open Monday to Friday from 08:30 to 19:00
Until July 20
A Commonwealth of Diverse Cultures Poland’s Heritage
A multi media exhibition consisting of 10 short documentaries on Poland’s cultural heritage held at the Atrium of St James Cavalier. Organised by the Embassy of The Republic of Poland and St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, the films present a general history of Poland and the National Library in Warsaw, and the different traditions whose legacy has influenced the Polish contemporary culture.
Until 20 July
Antique Chinese Ceramics
Exhibition of ancient Chinese ceramics at Fort St Angelo, Vittoriosa, organised by Heritage Malta in collaboration with the Soveriegn Military Order of Malta.
Until 26 July
Mile of paper
A bookart installation created by the current MA/MFA student artists and tutors working on the Fine Art master programmes at the University College for the Creative Arts, Kent UK. Taking place at the Painting Gallaries of the National Museum of Fine Arts, Valletta. Open Monday to Sunday from 09.00 hrs - 17.00 hrs (last admission 16.30).
Until 27 July
An exhibition of paintings by Axel Plöger at the National Museum of Natural History, Lower Courtyard, Vilhena Palace, Mdina. Open Monday to Friday from 09.00 - 17.00 (last admission 16.30).
Until July 31
The artist will be exhibiting at Bank of Valletta, Santa Venera. Opening hours: Monday to Friday - 08:00 - 17:00 and Saturday - 09:00 - 13:00
Until July 12
Kinemastik Short Film Festival
This year's festival will include films from Belgium, UK, Norway, France, Germany and more. It will be opening at St James Cavalier at 20:00 with a night of 13 short films. The screenings at the festival's standard Gnien Il-Gardjola venue in Valletta will take place on July 11 and 12 from 20:00. Tickets for one night are at €5 and €9 for both nights. For more the full programme visit www.kinemastik.org