Taking a trip to Gozo’s capital city for a night of opera at the beautiful Teatru Astra has become a tradition among culture lovers on the Maltese Islands. Since its inauguration in 1968, the Astra has hosted some of the world’s top singing talent – and staged lavish operas such as Rigoletto, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Aida and many others. World-famed tenor Joseph Calleja made his operatic debut in Macbeth way back in 1997.
In 2018, audiences will be able to enjoy Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata, which will be marking Astra’s 50th anniversary celebrations. Gabriele D’Annunzio’s telegraphic phrase about Verdi, “colui che pianse ed amó per tutti” (he wept and loved for all), sums up in a nutshell the Maestro’s genius and flair. D’Annunzio’s telling phrase, himself no newcomer to love and tears, says it all about La Traviata. Perhaps in no other of his operas as in the magnetic La Traviata does Verdi concentrate the essence of his genius as a supreme interpreter of the human condition in all its strengths and weaknesses. Making full use of his dramatic prowess and intuitive sense of irony, Verdi’s immortal score plumbs the depths of waywardness and redemption through love. Yet, there is no escaping the terrible truth that there is no redemption without the shedding of blood, be it physical or spiritual.