The Manoel Theatre

Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Manoel Theatre

Posted by in Blog,Cultural events | November 16, 2012

The Manoel Theatre (Teatru Manoel) started its 2012/2013 season last month.  Named after a Grand Master of course, (Antonio Manoel de Vilhena) it is a beautiful example of baroque architecture and one of the oldest working theatres in the world.  It was built in 1731 which makes it older than my country!  It is in the heart of Valletta and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Manoel Theatre – view from the stage

To date, we have seen two productions – Calendar Girls and The Ardeo Quartet.

Calendar Girls is a play about a group of middle aged English women who pose nude for a calendar to raise money for hospice.  The nude photos are black & white artistic shots (“we will be nude, not naked!”) and the play is based on a true story.

The Maltese actresses also made their own calendar to raise money for hospice.  The director was concerned that she wouldn’t be able to find 6 actresses on the small island of Malta (where everyone knows everyone else) willing to bare all.  (Imagine seeing your child’s kindergarden teacher nude on the stage!)  She was very pleased to find 28 women who auditioned for the play.

Manoel Theatre – view from a box

The Ardeo Quartet is a beautiful French chamber music ensemble.  They are a string quartet of 2 violins, viola, and cello with the most expressive musicians I have ever seen.  They performed an evening of Reicha, Debussey, and Ravel that was incredibly moving.  Look them up on youtube, you will be quite amazed.

Theatre performances are so affordable here
(€20 – €25 euros, we’re not in New York anymore!) that anyone can afford to see as many of the productions as they choose.  How wonderful to make live performances widely available to all.

The Ardeo Quartet

For Election Day

Posted by in Blog | November 6, 2012

In honor of today’s American election, I thought a brief description of Maltese elections might interest you.

Elections take place in Malta once every five years.  Unlike in America where election day is a specific day, in Malta the Prime Minister gets to decide when the election will be held.  It is held sometime prior to the 3 months following the first sitting of the current government.  The current/next election must be held by August 10, 2013.

In the US, the Presidential election is the selection of a specific person.  In Malta, the election is of the party.  The Members of the House of Representatives are elected and the party that wins the most seats becomes the ruling party.  The President is then appointed by the House of Representatives and, as he is basically a figurehead, he then appoints a Prime Minister who is the head of government.

Interestingly, just as in America, the population is divided 50/50 between the two parties so there will be a close race in Malta just as is happening in the US.  The two parties are Nationalist and Labour, and the dividing line is the north (Nationalist) versus the south (Labour).  The Nationalist Party has currently been in power for 25 years and many people are ready for a change.

The Maltese are very intrigued by America and our friends frequently ask us how the political system works in America as they find it fascinating.

Along with you, we are anxiously awaiting the outcome of today’s US election.

I will keep you posted on the Maltese election as it happens.

And, please remember to vote today.

The Food

Posted by in Blog,Food | November 2, 2012

Well, let’s just say we’re not in Italy…

The food in Malta is not that exciting.  The main specialty is rabbit and I could never eat a bunny.

Yummy Maltese Bread

However, the food from the grocery store is interesting.  Preservatives are not used so everything is very fresh.  This means that you need to shop frequently as most food items last for only a couple of days.  The Maltese bread, which is to die for, lasts for a day.  Fruits and vegetables last for only a few days.  And, they only sell what’s in season as it’s all local.  No blueberries imported from Chile or oranges from Florida like we had in Connecticut. Therefore, you can’t get everything all of the time.  There are many greengrocers that sell their produce from trucks which is a nice way to shop.

The meat tastes different as it’s not preserved, it tastes more gamy, more meat-like.  Not being a meat lover I I’m not too fond of the meat.

Pastizzies – filled with Ricotta cheese

Some of the specialties that are sold everywhere are pastizzies (flaky little tart like pastries filled with cheese or ham or bacon & egg), fish and chips (yummy), fresh fish, pasta, and pizza.


Pizzas have unusual toppings – bacon & egg, tuna fish, peas, artichoke hearts, and hot dogs. Sometimes you get it all on one pizza.

There are locally made wines but they aren’t as good as the Italian or French wines, however, they are very inexpensive as the vineyards are right around the corner.  No shipping and no import tax.  Only about €3 a bottle.