Georgian-born world-class soprano Nino Machaidze will be heading this year’s cast in La Bohème at the Aurora Theatre in Victoria, which is due on October 12.

At merely 36 years of age, her name already appears at the world’s two greatest and most prestigious opera houses – Milan’s La Scala and New York’s Metropolitan Opera House, and her CV already includes outstanding collaborations with Gheorghiu, Domingo, Villazon, Netrebko, Mastrangelo, Gatti, Oren and Chailly.

This exponential career, powered by her charming looks and compelling acting skills, has earned Machaidze the nickname of ‘The Angelina Jolie of Opera’ by the international press.

Young as she is, she will be flanked by a predominantly young set of singers which the Aurora took time and care to assemble. With the academic insight brought to the production by stage director Vivien Hewitt, who has appeared on the bill of the Puccini Festival 19 times in the last 22 years, the Aurora tries to transmit the charm, affection and lure that the great composer desired of La Bohème.

This, however, does not diminish the no-compromise stance when it comes to quality, a trait around which the Aurora has built a name and a reputation over the years.

Young as she is, she will be flanked by a predominantly young set of singers which the Aurora took time and care to assemble

Thus, fresh from his international successes in Aida and Trovatore, Ivan Defabiani, one of the foremost exciting emerging tenors and Leo Nucci’s protégé will be Rodolfo, Krum Galabov will be Marcello, Enrico Marabelli will be Schaunard and Mariano Buccino will be Colline.

Flair and glamour, on the other hand, are set to come about with Maria Novella Malfatti’s interpretation of Musetta. Dario Giorgelé will play the double role of Benoit and Alcindoro while Gozitan young tenor Angelo Muscat will appear as Parpignol.

Together, this cast brings to the Aurora the finesse and prestige of the continent’s major opera houses from Barcelona’s Liceu to Venice’s La Fenice, Genoa’s San Carlo to Verona’s famed Arena, and the likes.

La Bohème is the opera of young people, of inspired youths, full of life – even when it fades – at the heart of the city of lights, and getting the ideal cast together can be quite delicate and intricate.

However, this cast is set to bring these emotional attributes to life in Hewitt’s new production at the Aurora. It will feature the Aurora Opera Chorus and the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Colin Attard. Hewitt designed the period scenes, which will be produced in-house at the Aurora and painted by Gozitan artist Paul Falzon, while Luke Azzopardi designed feature-gowns for some of the artists in Camilleri Paris Mode textiles. The costume manufacture is the fruit of hard work by the Aurora theatre’s in-house wardrobe team.

La Bohème’s single performance will run on Saturday at 7.30pm. Tickets at €50, €60 and €80 are available online or via the ticket helpline 79045779. Logistical details such as transport, dining facilities as well as details on a number of supplementary events including a pre-opera talk, walking tours around Victoria and the Gozo Citadel and chamber recitals may be found on the website or via ticket helpline.

La Bohème is supported by the Gozo Cultural Support Programme by the Arts Council Malta and the Ministry for Gozo.

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