• Lucy Farrimond

Gaulitana: A Festival of Music


Miriam Gauci Vocal Master Class and Concert.

In early January, I participated in a Master Class course and Concert with internationally acclaimed soprano Miriam Gauci. The events were organised as a part of ‘Gaulitana: A Festival of Music’, Gozo’s main Classical music festival.  


Application Process:

When I received the email from the vocal studies department at the ‘Royal Northern College of Music’ regarding applications for ‘Gaulitana’, I was immediately interested. Not only did the prospect of learning from such a distinguished singer seem extremely exciting, but I have always been a lover of travel, exploration and discovering new cultures. I had never been to Gozo before, or Malta for that matter, and something about the little island caught my eye. After realising applying was - in fact - a “no brainer”, I sent off my application in November 2018. Two weeks later, I was informed by ‘Gaulitana’ by email that my application had been successful.

So it begins!


A bundle of nerves awaiting my flight to Malta from Manchester Airport, I befriended a kind Maltese couple, who told me useful and extremely fascinating facts about their wonderful country. Ironically, the weather seemed to have been better in Manchester upon takeoff, as I arrived in a rather tempestuous Malta. From the airport in Luqa, I took a transfer north of the island, where the ferry awaited to transport me to the beautiful island of Gozo. Feeling a little nauseated by the rough sea and admittedly still a little nervous at the spontaneity of my adventure, I was glad to arrive on solid ground at Mgarr. From here, a short bus journey took me to my final destination - Victoria - where I settled in my beautiful home for the five days, ‘Casa Gemelli Boutique Guesthouse’.

Master Class:

Master classes took place at Gozo College Middle School.  I took three arias with me to work on; 'L'ho perduta, me meschina' by Mozart, 'Il fervido desiderio' by Bellini and 'Se tu m'ami, se sospiri' by Pergolesi.  Ms Gauci was incredibly supportive and caring during the classes.  I recieved a great deal of helpful advice regarding vocal technique and performing, which I will most definitely carry with me through my future singing career.  Also participating in the classes were singers from Malta, Australia, America and Belgium.  Watching the other singers in the classes proved to be very beneficial and it was wonderful to be in a room filled with talent!

Concert:

The concluding concert took place at 'Gozo Ministry Hall', a beautiful building in Victoria, Gozo.  Lasting one hour - and to a full audience! - each participant performed repertoire they had worked on with Ms Gauci in the master classes.  I sang 'L'ho perduta, me meschina' and 'Se tu m'ami, se sospiri', accompanied by the wonderful pianist-in-residence, Julia Miller.  I was extremely happy to have friends and family in the audience from the UK and Australia.  It was lovely to see some familiar faces! Following the concert, Gaulitana organisers, Ms Gauci and course participants gathered in St. George's Square, Victoria, for a farewell celebration.

What did I enjoy about the trip?

- I adored learning from such a distinguished artist as Miriam Gauci. Throughout my time in Malta, Ms Gauci was a constant support and her kindness and lovely personality was wonderful to be around.  

- I have made many wonderful friends of varied nationalities. I am so grateful to have met these people and I know for certain that we will remain lifelong friends!

- It is safe to say that I have fallen in love with the little island of Gozo.  Not only is it a place of extreme beauty; with impressive architecture a representation of its deep cultural history, it has an irresistible charm and warm atmosphere generated by the wonderful Gozitans that live there.

- Those that know me will understand I have an adoration for learning new languages.  Maltese puzzled me at first, with its Italian roots seeming so familiar, yet Arabic connections adding to the intrigue.  I was delighted to learn a new word: "mela", meaning 'so' or 'well'... used by Maltese all the time!

- During the master classes; performers were observed by artist Thalia Stones, who painted individual portraits of each participant.  These pieces of art were displayed at the concluding concert, and gifted to each singer.  This is something I will cherish forever.  (http://www.thaliastonesartgallery.com)

- I have to say that my time in Victoria simply wouldn't have been the same without my fantastic accomodation at 'Casa Gemelli Boutique Guesthouse'.  I truly was so well looked after there, and cannot thank proprietresses Anna and Sonia enough!  You can find their website here (https://www.tamariagozo.com/accomodations/casagemelli/)

Did the course meet my expectations?

The course most definitely exceeded by expectations, and beyond! Not only have I grown as a musician, but also as a person.  The decision to travel to a country unknown to me and to perform for people I had never met before was extremely daunting, however the whole experience was an extreme confidence boost and one of the best times of my life!

Where can I find out more about Gaulitana?

I would like to thank all at Gaulitana for the wonderful, unforgettable opportunity! For more information regarding Gaulitana: A Festival of Music, 2019, you can visit their webpage (http://gaulitanus.com).

Here are some more snaps from the trip!

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