Simon SchembriSimon Schembri

The sixth edition of the Valletta International Baroque Festival will run from January 13 to 27 with two weeks of gorgeous music spread over 26 events in 14 locations across Malta.

The event is produced and managed by the Manoel Theatre and is now a must in the local arts and culture scene. This year’s festival will feature a number of internationally-acclaimed stars from the baroque music world. Mahan Esfahani, the harpsicord legend, will return this year to delight us with his music, together with La Folia Barockorchester, while The Ghislieri Choir and Consort will be performing two concerts, one at St John’s Co-Cathedral and another at the Mdina Cathedral .

This year’s festival will venture outside the capital to other impressive locations such as the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Aula Capitulare in Mdina, Verdala Palace and the Malta Maritime Museum in Vittoriosa. The festival kicks off at the Manoel Theatre on January 13 with Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. Shunske Sato on the violin will share the limelight with Concerto Köln, who will stage another performance on the second day of the festival, performing Bach and Italy. Other international guests include Concerto Romano, Scholars and Gentlemen, Collegium Orpheus, Het Collectief and the Abchordis Ensemble.

Shunske Sato will be on the violin for Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.Shunske Sato will be on the violin for Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.

The festival will feature music from the Archives of the Cathedral Museum, performed by the Valletta International Baroque Ensemble on January 21.

This year, VIBE will also perform in the Monteverdi Vespers at the Church of St Catherine in Żejtun, under the direction of Marco Mencoboni.

Other local performers include guitarist Simon Schembri and Sandro Zerafa and friends, where baroque will meet jazz at the Malta Maritime Museum.

The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Riccardo Bianchi, will perform music by Grieg, Tansman, Gravina and Villa-Lobos.

Messa Due Cori, composed by Maltese priest Benigno Zerafa, will be performed as appropriately fit at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mdina, where Zerafa served as Maestro di Cappella between 1744 and 1786.

On January 14, the Baroque Treasure Hunt will be held at the Studio Theatre, while Baroque Jazz for Children will be held on  January 21.

Harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani.Harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani.

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