The Covid-19 pandemic that is scourging the entire world during 2020 has had its effect on a wide spectrum of our lives, be it economical, political, mental and not the least cultural repercussions. Chorus Urbanus was not spared from this scourge and apart from the cancellation of its usual choral commitments during the year, the pandemic has wrecked havoc with the Feel the Magic programme of events for 2020. Planned concerts had to be cancelled and postponed, hopefully for next year.
However the ‘Feel the Magic’ project committee was not disheartened by these unfortunate circumstances and had to rethink and redesign the whole concept of the Feel the Magic 2020 offering. In fact these current threats have proved to be opportunities for Chorus Urbanus to be creative and adapt according to the current circumstances.
The FTM committee shifted its perspective to the virtual “reality” that has become so relevant with the spread of Covid-19. It was decided that virtual audiences should replace the physical audiences that normally attend to such concerts. The first attempt in such an initiative was Feel the Magic of Napoli featuring Gozitan baritone, Charles Buttigieg, that was followed online by more than 6.7K viewers.
This success prompted FTM committee to embark on another ambitious project: the filming of John Galea’s symphonic poem “Ggantija” that is inspired from Gorg Pisani’s poem “Il-Ggantija t’Ghawdex”. This was commissioned way back in 1988 and ever since then was only produced in concert version only. The current situation provided the necessary impetus to produce this musical composition in its intended form. John Galea’s “Ggantija” had been recorded in 1999 by Mega Music at the studio of the Bulgarian National Radio in Sofia, with the participation of the Sofia Symphonic Orchestra under the direction of the composer himself, soloists Yvonne Galea (sop), Noel Galea (bass), Chorus Urbanus and Edward Scerri (narrator).
Lucía Piquero was commissioned to choreograph the work with the participation of the dance company ODT. Mr Luke Azzopardi created the costumes for this specific production that added a lavish touch of prestige to the whole production. CVC – Gozo TV Productions filmed the production on location within the enclaves of the Ggantija Temples to add to the mystical ambience in which the narrative of the symphonic poem takes place. Members of Chorus Urbanus and some of the Urbanus Junior Choir took part in the crowd choral scenes and offered a backdrop to the suggestive acts of the dance troupe. Lighting effects have been entrusted to Beam Lighting (Chris Gauci) while the sound design was in the hands of ProStage Sound.
This production is expected to be broadcast on the virtual domain later on this year. More details about the production would be given in due course.
Chorus Urbanus would like to thank the Malta Arts Council (Gozo Support Cultural Programme), the Ministry for Gozo and Heritage Malta without whose sponsorship and co-operation such a production would not have been possible.