Valletta Baroque Festival Opens January 11 in Malta

The 11th edition of the Valletta Baroque Festival begins in Malta, today, January 11, through January 29, 2023.

The Valletta Baroque Festival is a unique event because its main venue, Teatru Manoel, is one of the oldest working theaters in the world. This prestigious two-week festival, organized by Festivals Malta, features some of the best soloists and ensembles in the baroque music scene, under the artistic direction of Kenneth Zammit Tabona, the Valletta Baroque Festival showcases the enormous diversity of the true meaning of “baroque” and is deeply treasured by the Maltese.

The opening concert ‘The Dettingen Te Deum and other Handelian hits’, which will be performed by the Valletta Baroque Ensemble and Kor Malta under the musical direction of Christian Curnyn at St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta, will set the tone for the festival. The festival will wrap up with the world premiere of a mass by Italo-Maltese composer Girolamo Abos at the Jesuits’ Church in Valletta which will be performed by The Monteverdi Project and Cantar Lontano, under the musical direction of Marco Mencoboni. 

The festival has a terrific line-up, including: Mahan Esfahani, Charlie Siem, Gabetta Consort with Valer Barna-Sabadus, Vasillis Varvaresos, Avi Avital, and many more. Following last year’s success, this year’s edition will also see the return of The Rock Troupers & the Valletta Baroque Ensemble with their project BaRock at the Manoel Theatre.

St. John’s Co-Cathedral – image courtesy of Julian Vassallo

Minister for the National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government Owen Bonnici stated that “this prestigious festival presents a diverse program of 36 concerts which will be held in 20 different venues all over Malta, including Auberge de Provence, Gran Salon, St John’s Co-Cathedral, Manoel Theatre, and others.” 

Minister Bonnici shared that, “The Valletta Baroque Festival will host among the most prestigious artists and ensembles of baroque music in our country.”

“This clearly shows how dynamic culture is and how it creates various opportunities that cover all the niches of the creative economy.” 

Festivals Malta Chairman, Aaron Zahra, stated: “The Valletta Baroque Festival is a magnet for cultural tourism, as it attracts patrons from all over Europe, who come to Malta to immerse themselves in the wonderful holistic baroque experience that the festival offers, which is what makes it unique. This is an integral part of our mission – to establish Malta as a European festival destination.”

This is the 2nd edition that Festivals Malta is producing since the festival was added to the agency’s portfolio of events in 2021. “The Valletta Baroque Festival indeed complements our high-quality portfolio of cultural festivals and provides us with another opportunity to keep raising the bar as the national agency for festivals in Malta,” mentioned Annabelle Stivala, Festivals Malta CEO.

Artistic Director, Kenneth Zammit Tabona, stated that this year’s edition includes multiple genres, delivering a unique interpretation of early music. He explained that the festival includes rock and jazz, 20th-century and contemporary orchestral compositions.

Tickets and more information are available on

Infographic of 2023 Valletta Baroque Festival – image courtesy of Julian Vassallo

About Malta

The sunny islands of Malta, in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, are home to a most remarkable concentration of intact built heritage, including the highest density of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in any nation-state anywhere. Valletta, built by the proud Knights of St. John, is one of the UNESCO sites and the European Capital of Culture for 2018. Malta’s patrimony in stone ranges from the oldest free-standing stone architecture in the world, to one of the British Empire’s most formidable defensive systems, and includes a rich mix of domestic, religious and military architecture from the ancient, medieval and early modern periods. With superbly sunny weather, attractive beaches, a thriving nightlife and 7,000 years of intriguing history, there is a great deal to see and do. 

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