Catch ’em young, the Manoel Theatre way
In the mid-1950s the musicologist Suzuki said it all in a simple statement: “Children like best what they hear first.” So much development takes place in a child’s early years that Suzuki believed this precious period, rather than ignored, should be cultivated with musical love and care.
When hosting the press to launch the Manoel Theatre’s forthcoming season, CEO Ray Attard must have been thinking of the Japanese pedagogue’s philosophy, as he explained how the theatre’s management committee has formulated a national educational unit to concentrate solely on the younger generation.
Headed by Rosetta De Battista as from the coming season, the Manoel will inaugurate a three-year strategic plan in which the younger generation is encouraged to be inspired by the arts in an innovative manner. A programme of specific events is being designed to formulate a sense of appreciation thus enabling the younger generation to incorporate the arts as part of their lifestyle.
Kenneth Zammit Tabona, the Manoel’s deputy chairman who co-chaired the conference, divulged how in the near future, management is appointing a drama consultant who would work with the committee, alongside Brian Schembri, the theatre’s music consultant.
Describing the Manoel Theatre’s role over the years as being “all things to all men” Mr Zammit Tabona listed the variety of music genres, drama performances, opera and operetta which make up the new season.
Among the musical highlights, Les Paladins, one of the most prestigious baroque ensembles in Paris, will make its Maltese debut celebrating the Manoel’s recently purchased harpsichord. The ensemble which specialises in 17th century Italian repertoire will feature works by Vivaldi and Pergolesi.
The highly anticipated annual opera, will next March have an extended run of four performances. Il Trovatore by Giuseppe Verdi, has been entrusted in the capable hands of Damiano Binetti, who was responsible for the acclaimed production of last year’s Lucia di Lammermoor by Donizetti. Next month the Compania Corrado Abbati will present the Lombardo and Ronzato evergreen operetta Il Paese dei Campanelli, thus marking the return of Italian live operetta to the Manoel after a lapse of over two decades.
Following Joe Friggieri’s L-Għanja taċ-Ċinju which inaugurates the current drama season, the American Drama Group Europe (ADGE) will present two acclaimed UK-based companies. Tour de Force Theatre’s (whose Importance of Being Earnest was a hit with audiences last April) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and TNT Theatre’s musical production of Dickens’ Oliver Twist.
The local dramatic repertoire includes three revivals; De Filippo’s Filumena Marturano by Talenti, Kesselring’s Arsenic and Old Lace by the MADC, the Drama Centre’s presentation of O’Neill’s Desire under the Elms and the stage version of the Yes, Prime Minister! television’s sitcom by Mellow Drama.
Dance, which has been described as Malta’s fastest growing art form, has its own little Manoel niche in Colores del Tango hailing from Belgrade, which is scheduled for next February, with Puerto Flamenco, by a Seville based dance troupe set to hit the boards a month later.