My Malta Blog

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

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