Pjazza Teatru Rjal, the open theatre on the ruins of the former Opera House in Valletta, was officially inaugurated this evening.

President George Abela and the Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Jose' Herrera, presided over the ceremony.

The theatre is the second stage of the designs for City Gate by architect Renzo Piano, the first having been Piazza de Valette, inaugurated some months ago. Rapid progress is being made on the remaining major features of the project - the new Parliament House and the 'gate', with the new narrow bridge over the ditch practically completed.

The open theatre hosted its first activities over Christmas and was also the venue of many activities of the Malta Arts Festival last month.

Today's ceremony included a concert by the European Youth Orchestra, formed of 125 young musicians from all the EU member states, including three from Malta.

Parliamentary Secretary Herrera said earlier this week that the government had decided to maintain the Piano designs untouched and was therefore not planning a roof over the theatre despite the raging controversy some months ago.

The theatre project included excavation to create changing rooms, wardrobes and space for equipment underground behind the theatre between the Church of Our Lady of Victory and Piazza de Valette. The remaining ruins of the old theatre were cleaned and restored, including the former ticket offices at the front, which housed small shops for several years.


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