One thing that stands out in your work is your interest in the history, language and culture of Malta. Was City of Humanity your initial idea or a collaboration of ideas ?
City of Humanity was my initial idea born out of the love for my country's heritage, history and language. Eventually when i met Ġorġ Peresso during my search for a librettist the idea was developed more since i found a soul mate in Gorg.
What does the recent review in OPERA magazine mean to you?
The Opera magazine is undoubtedly the most respected periodical publication about Opera in the world. Just the fact that a review of one's work appears in this magazine is already prestigious . This is due to the fact that, on any magazine, there is limited and Opera magazine receives opera reviews fro Cities all around the world they are very specific as what to include and not what to. To me ,the fact that a very positive review about Swar was published in this magazine and also the fact that it is the very first time in the 60 years that this magazine has been in publication that Malta featured in it is something astounding. I am very happy not just for myself but particularly for the Maltese opera soloist whose names were not only mentioned in the article but also that praise was heaped upon them. This is fully compliant with my goal of not elevating myself only in the international sphere but also other fellow Maltese artists since they deserve this and more.
What do you think are the most important thing that will make a success of the second opera.
The second opera will have a musical style which is quite different from the first one . This is because the libretto takes place nearly 400 years after the first one, in World War II and therefore will have influences of music of the period (20's till 40's) For the second opera to be successful from my point of view it has to bring new audiences to the local opera scene by making the idiom of the work more accessible and break the myth that Opera is for the elite only. I would wish to communicate clearly to the non-Maltese the little known stories of massive suffering that our grandfathers had to endure during WW2. We have seen countless films, operas, dramas about WW2 but Malta's crucial role is rarely, if ever mentioned. Suffice it to say that if the British Empire did not have their Nautical presence in Malta , Rommel would probably have succeeded in his invasion of Africa. I would also wish to continue to try to place Maltese opera and the Maltese language on the International Opera scene.
You are in the process of composing the second opera? Will it be written for the voice of Nicola Said again?
The main soprano part will again be written for Nicola Said but the second opera will also hold some surprises in this aspect including the debut of a brand new voice. I would also like to say that I write specifically not only for the soprano I choose but also for all the other voices, the mezzo soprano, tenors, baritones I choose to work with.
Photos: Sean Azzopardi