Reuben Pace

Blog 71: Behind the stage of City of Humanity’s Opera I- Swar by Athanasia Bartzoka

November 14th it was the premiere of the first opera of the City of Humanity’s operatic cycle. One night that moved the audience and showed very gloriously one important part of the Maltese history.
But what you saw on stage, was only half the story.

The conception of the idea, the composing of the music, the libretto writing happened way before but what I will try to shed light on is when the production officially started in October.
Cast, crew & production team started putting together all the ingredients that would deliver the experience to the audience on the 14th.

There were 2 “aspects” of work that were happening at the same time.In the performance venue, the Republic Hall within the Mediterrenean Conference Centre, the director, Michael Moxham, his assistant Simone Ellul & the Stage Manager Athanasia Bartzoka along with the maestro Robert Ferrer & our team of repetiteurs were working on the opera musically & staging-wise. There, we dived deep into the essence of the libretto & made the opera alive through the words, the notes, the movements. Regarding the latter, we had the help of the choreographer Althea Palombi Corlett with her inputs making the blocking and staging, natural & graceful.
The second part, was the visual part (set design-building-props-costume making, make up & wigs & lights) or if we put it into a “cake perspective” to compare it, it is the frosting & the cherry on top.
Nicky Shaw with the help of her assistant & costume supervisor, Lucy Fowler, were designing, and creating the costumes of the opera from different resources & with other people on board on lights & make up they took us back to 1565. The set designed by Ms. Nicky Shaw was built by the master craftsman the Gozitan, Andrew Portelli.

Thus as you can conclude there is a lot of work behind 2 hours on stage, not just for  this but for every other opera .Many people were involved into making this come into a tangible product & experience for the audience to have.

At the end of the day, art is to educate & inspire its audience and all the work done is for them to enjoy that.artists's greatest satisfaction is having an appreciative audience.