Sibt Xogħol: Christopher u l-opra jsibu għamar ġdid f’Malta
The battles of World War II left many of Malta’s landmarks destroyed. Among them was Valletta’s Royal Opera House.
The remnants of the Opera House stood neglected for decades. There were proposals to rebuild it, but none moved forward. It was left untouched until just a few years back when Valletta embarked on an ambitious programme to reconstruct it, funded by the Maltese government and the European Investment Bank, the EU bank.
Instead of rebuilding it completely, the remnants of the old structure were incorporated into a state-of the-art open-air theatre called the Pjazza Teatru Rjal.
“While I was growing up, it was basically a derelict car park,” remembers Christopher Muscat, the theatre’s director. “It has been magical to witness its transformation into one of the city’s cultural centres again after so many years.”
Christopher has dedicated his life to music. At 16, he had already took up professional musical training and knew how to play three instruments. Later, he studied conducting and composing in Malta and the UK.
When he learnt about the reconstruction of the new opera house, he had been the director of artistic operations with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra for almost 15 years. “I was ready for new challenges, so when an opportunity to become the director of the new theatre appeared, I just grabbed it.”
“Working here allowed me to venture into different art forms, such as dance and theatre,” Christopher says. “It truly helped me grow as an artist.”
In the four years since it opened, the theatre has become a household name in Valletta. The company has set up concerts, plays and, of course, operas. “In my previous job, I performed at different venues every week,” Christopher says. “Now, I have a theatre that I can call home.”
Christopher’s job is one of millions supported by the European Investment Bank, the EU bank. By 2021, investments signed by the EIB Group in 2017 alone are expected to have raised EU GDP by 1.1% and to have created 1.2 million jobs. Even in 2036, there will still be a 0.7% increase in EU GDP as a result of the EIB's 2017 investments, as well as 650 000 extra jobs.
“What I love most about my work is that every performance, every concert feels like writing a new story. It’s challenging, yet fulfilling,” Christopher says. “But most of all, I’m grateful to able to write the new chapter in the story of one of Valletta’s most iconic cultural heritage sites.”