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“E lucevan le stelle…” and the stars shone at Tosca

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“E lucevan le stelle…” and the stars shone at ToscaThe Aurora Theatre said “borrowing one of the most famous lines of Puccini’s Tosca, the (opera) stars shone last Saturday as the 3-act opera returned for the third time at the Teatru tal- Opra Aurora,” the theatre continued, “What was being referred to as arguably the best combination of singers ever to appear together on an opera stage in Malta, was definitely no let-down to neither producers nor audiences.”

“The cast included an encouraging number of local talent, with established household name Noel Galea (Cesare Angelotti) as well as up-and-coming baritone Louis Andrew Cassar (jailer) and treble Annabelle Zammit (shepherd) who enjoyed their debut at the Aurora. Other secondary roles were those interpreted by the Italian bass Cosimo Arena (Sciarrone), tenor Costantino D’Aniello (Spoletta) and baritone Alessandro Busi (Sacrestan). They mixed and blended together with skill and pride to accompany Neil Shicoff, Michéle Crider and Juan Pons who were brought in to give the show star appeal and raise the overall quality of the performance,” the theatre said.

“The audience showed it’s appreciation for the whole concept of the set, designed by Novella Tabili, painted by Paul Falzon, constructed by Teddy Mizzi and Anthony Buhagiar, lit by Donald Camilleri, and enhanced by professional photography by Sandro Di Salvatore.”

The theatre continued by saying that “Tenor, Shicoff who albeit falling ill, did his best to honour his commitment. He simply reached superior heights with each aria. His “E lucevan le stelle” was noted to be amongst the best he has ever performed, which is much more than what anyone can ask from a tenor who might have, at times considered himself too ill to sing.”

“Soprano Michéle Crider proved to be a very convincing Tosca. She definitely won the hearts of all those present with her dramatic presence enhanced with compelling acting in key points.” the theatre continued, “her stage presence and her imposing voice in the final scene were enough to fill a stage, which, save for an angel and a cupola was bare. She cried that Scarpia will answer before God and hurled herself over the edge. Yet the stage was surprisingly still full with her presence bringing the opera to a dramatic finale.”

“Baritone Juan Pons was the true Scarpia. Credible in his acting, sure and unfaltering in his voice, the Spaniard gave what the audience expected from a man who has been a household name and a constant guest of the most important theatres all over the world, including a remarkable 25 years at the MetOpera of New York. The only difference between the authority of his voice and that of his acting part was that the latter was corrupt and tainted by carnal lust and betrayal. His voice, on the other hand, remained loyal to his reputation and experience. Tosca forcefully and poignantly asserts “E avanti a lui, tremava tutta Roma,” “All Rome trembled before him,” just as it can be said that before his voice.”

“The Aurora Opera Chorus, coached by conductor Colin Attard, as well as the supernumeraries (under the direction of Novella Tabili, assisted by Maria Buttigieg) had a lesser role this year, yet, their input, especially in the Te Deum scene which rounded off the first act was top-notch.” The theatre went on, “true to the age in which it was set, only a hundred years before Puccini wrote it.”

“The Aurora theatre borrows another line of Tosca’s libretto, “Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amor,” “we lived for arts, we lived for love” and with that spirit of love for the arts, kick-starts its journey towards another Puccini masterpiece, Turandot, on October 13th 2012.,” the theatre conclued.

Provisional booking is now open and can be secured by telephone: 21559452 (mornings only) or by email:

Further info can be obtained from

Photo shows Tosca (Michéle Crider) stabs Scarpia (Juan Pons) Photo by Anthony Grech.

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