St John`s Co-Cathedral, Valletta
Venue for the Singing and Praying for Peace Ceremony ( November 2)
St John’s Co-Cathedral, was originally built as the humble monastic church of the knights of the Order of St John. The facade of the church is very simple, built in the mannerist style by the Maltese military engineer, Girolamo Cassar (1574). About one hundred years later, the Order of St John commissioned Mattia Preti, an artist from Calabria, Italy, to renovate the whole interior of the church into a noble Baroque masterpiece of architecture. Successive Grand Masters, on being elected, bestowed their special gift to the church and so the artistic accumulation of objects turned the church into a veritable treasure trove of art and architecture. The church was elevated to the status of ‘Co-Cathedral’ which it is today, in 1816. This means that the conventual church became the direct co-ordinating cathedral to the already exisiting seat of the Roman Catholic Bishopric in Mdina.
Catholic Institute Theatre & St Publius Church - Floriana
Venues for the Secular and Sacred Music Competitions
The auditorium of the Catholic Institute provides the venue for many theatrical productions throughout the year that include comedy, drama and musical entertainment. The Catholic Institute was inaugurated in 1960 to serve various needs of the Maltese Diocese in communicating with the lay society; the Centre soon developed into a prominent theatre and an important meeting place for conferences. The Institute, is a very active centre and has the specific aim to foster a solid Christian culture and education in Malta. Amongst the activities held at the Institute, there are many educational courses, seminars, lectures, prayer meetings and similar occasions. Every so often, the place is used as an operation centre for mega-concerts that are held on the ‘Granaries’, that open space in front of the Institute.
The Catholic Institute will serve as the main operations nerve centre for the Malta International Choir Festival as well as the venue for the Secular Competition sessions of the Festival.
One hundred metres away, is the Parish church of Floriana, dedicated to St Publius, the patron saint of the town. The present church was built post War as the older church was destroyed when receiving a direct hit in World War II. The structure of the church dominates the skyline of Floriana, while its interior is beautifully composed by ornate chapels. The Sacred Music Competition of the festival is held here, as this religious place of worship is also very conveniently situated close to the Catholic Institute.
The Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta
Venue for the Festival Concert Saturday, November 4, 2017
The Mediterranean Conference Centre (MCC) is a very historic building that dates back to the late 16th century. the Order of the Knights of St John built and developed the place into a huge complex to serve as their hospital, that cared for the knights, the Maltese and those injured in battle. The original central courtyard of the building was transformed into an auditorium for conferences and stage entertainment. The sensitive and innovative restoration won the MCC international acclaim and the ‘Europa Nostra' Award for restoration of excellence. A very busy year was certainly 2015, when the Valletta Summit, which was attended by eighty Heads of State from Europe and Africa, was held here; this was soon followed by the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) headed by HRH, Queen Elizabeth II.
The MCC is also proud to be the venue for high quality musical performances such as those held by the La Scala Filarmonica Orchestra and Ballet, the Athens State Symphony Orchestra, the Belgian Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, the Moscow State Orchestra, the Bolshoi Ballet. The theatre is the venue of choice for the Malta’s own Philharmonic Orchestra.
The theatre is also the venue for vocal concerts of various musical genres. Amongst the prominent celebrities who performed here are Chris de Burgh, Richard Clyderman and the internationally acclaimed Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja.
City Entrance, Valletta
Venue for the Singing in the City Concerts: November 3 & 4, 2017
The present appearance of the main entrance to Malta’s capital is the result of the design created by the world famous architect Renzo Piano. Piano opted to do away with the traditional concept of a fortified gate that was originally constructed in 1570’s to keep the threatening enemy out and the people safe within the city walls. He had the most recent gate built in the early sixities demolished and instead, opened an access that is constructed in such a way as to be a welcoming front entrance to Malta’s capital, as befits the present and the future. The entrance is flanked from inside by two sets of sumptuous staircases, each leading straight to the city’s fortification walls. On the right hand side there now stands a very conspicious modern structure, resting on pilasters, that serves as the House of Representatives, where Malta’s Parliament convenes. As part of the revamping and remodelling of the old entrance area, Renzo Piano also designed an outdoor theatre known as Pjazza Teatru Rjal, out of the ruins of the old Royal Opera House (1866), which was destroyed on April 9, 1942.
Upper Barrakka Garden
Venue for the welcome reception
The Upper Barrakka Garden dominates the panoramic view of Grand Harbour, Malta’s major strategically positioned port and the so called ‘three cities’ of Senglea, Vittoriosa, and Cospicua. Viewing the port from this vantage point, one will see to the left, the entrance to the Grand Harbour and the historic Fort Ricasoli. The Upper Barrakka Garden is situated on the highest point of Valletta and so it served the knights well, for them to enjoy the busy view of the port. Even today, the Upper Barrakka Garden serves well as a green oasis for those who wish to take some moments of respite to beat the busy streets of Valletta, while enjoying a light breeze.
Fort St Angelo
Venue for the farewell party for choristers on November 5, 2017
Malta has often been called the ‘Fortress Island' due to the great mass of military architecture that can be located practically all over the island. Fort St. Angelo is the jewel in the crown of the Maltese Islands’ military heritage. The Fort served as the seat of the Order of the Knights of St John, from their arrival in Malta in 1530 until 1571, when the Order then moved to the newly-built city Valletta.
As from 1821, Fort St Angelo served as the naval base for the British Navy in the Mediterranean. The British considered Fort St Angelo, their ‘stationary ship’ and so they lovingly called the place HMS St Angelo (Her/ His Majesties Ship). When the British Military left Malta in 1979, the fort was closed down and for a long time fell into disuse. More recently, the uppermost part of the fort was leased to the Sovereign Military Order of the Knights of St John to be cared for by a residing knight of the Order. A lot of restoration work was carried out in the middle level of the fort and today this area falls under the responsibility of Heritage Malta, the national agency which caters for the upkeep of numerous museums and sites of national importance. Otherwise, the area at sea level forms part of the Birgu Yacht Marina where many luxurious yachts are berthed.