Belt il-Bniedem (City of Humanity) is an educational / artistic venture, endorsed by the Valletta 2018 Foundation, leading to the production of the first ever Maltese opera cycle. The artistic concept underlying the series of operas is the concept of a siege. This project will span 2 years, running from 1st September 2017 until 31st November 2019.
This project intends to widen the local opera audience through the integration of local artists, through the use of the Maltese language and through the fact that the operas’ subject matter is closely intertwined with Maltese history.
The cycle will consist of 3 operas, 2 of which will be premiered in November 2018 while the third one will be premiered in 2019. Thus, Belt il-Bniedem 1 – Swar (City of Humanity 1 – Behind the Fortifications) takes place during the Great Siege of 1565, the second opera Belt il-Bniedem 2 – Il-Blata Mġarrba (City of Humanity 2 – The Island Fortress) takes place during World War 2 and Belt il-Bniedem 3 – L-Era tal-Wieħed jew Xejn (City of Humanity 3 – The Age of One or Nil) takes place in modern day Malta and focuses more on conceptual rather than physical sieges.
The project fosters the participation of citizens living in Malta in a unique way. Whilst the music is being composed by Dr. Reuben Pace; most of the rest of the production (libretto, stage design, photography, videography, logistics …) is being done by students from secondary schools till University. These students are being assisted by their lecturers/ teachers as well as professionals in the field.
The production combines different media together, traditional and innovative. The music is made up of a carefully concocted mixture of traditional (folk), renaissance, baroque, romantic, twenties and thirties pop music and contemporary art music techniques. The stage set itself shall be a mixture of the traditional stage construction materials with video elements integrated seamlessly in it.
The choreography shall be a careful blend of traditional and folk dance with contemporary dance. The costume design will have elements of old and new, established traditional concepts alongside contemporary design. Whilst the main event shall be the performances themselves, these are being preceded by a multitude of activities.
Applications are now open for the conducting masterclasses by Mro Robert Ferrer (Spain), as part of the educational activities for City of Humanity I – Behind the Fortifications taking place at the Department of Music Studies at the University of Malta on April 13 and 14, 2018. The masterclasses are free of charge and the final selection will see Mro Ferrer choose four active participants to conduct parts of the works in the repertoire below with piano.
This project is endorsed by the Valletta 2018 Foundation.