Inquisitor's Palace, Birgu
7 December 2019 | 7:30pm 

Girolamo Abos

A Maltese-Italian composer of both operas and church music



irolamo Abos – born to a French father & Maltese mother (Gian Tommaso Abos & Rosa Farrugia respectively) in Valletta in 1715 – would go on to become a prolific composer whose music was sung by some of Europe’s finest eighteenth-


century singers. Sent to Naples from a very young age to study music under two of the finest Neapolitan composers of the time – Leonardo Leo & Francesco Durante – he would never return to his island of birth.

After composing various comedies/comic operas (a genre he would never return to) for various Neapolitan theatres from 1742 to 1745, he received his big break in the form of various ‘opera seria’ commissions from major theatres in a string of major Italian cities – Florence, Venice, Rome, and Ancona – from 1746 to 1748. After returning to Naples to première his opera seria Tito Manlio in 1751 – which was followed by other successful operatic commissions in Rome, Naples, and Turin from 1752 to 1753 – he took up a teaching post at the Conservatorio della Pietà dei Turchini in 1754, where one of his gifted students (who would go on to cause waves in the world of opera) was none other than Giovanni Paisello. After his appointment as Maestro al Cembalo (Director of Music) at the Italian Theatre in London from 1756 to 1758, Abos returned to Naples to teach at the Conservatorio della Pietà dei Turchini once again. Despite composing operas for most of his life, the final two years of his life were dedicated to composing a great deal of sacred music – including seven masses and several litanies.

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Pietro Fabris (active Naples 1756-1779).
'Les Bougies Baroques' Ensemble_photo by


‘Les Bougies Baroques’


es Bougies Baroques is an international vocal and period instrument ensemble founded in November 2012 by Maltese conductor-harpsichordist/fortepianist Ian Peter Bugeja. The ensemble specialises

 in vocal and instrumental repertoire from the late sixteenth century through the beginning of the nineteenth century on period instruments and period instrument reproductions.

The ensemble arose out of a need for young professionals to perpetuate the work of the great pioneers who introduced the concept of historical performance on period instruments back in the 1960s and 1970s. Les Bougies Baroques therefore represents the new generation of music-making in the 'baroque spirit’, with its 'new pioneers’ illuminating the path to contemporary enlightenment through the medium of earlier music. The ensemble does this by regularly performing in various historical venues across the UK and mainland Europe – aiming to bring earlier music to audiences within intimate and/or historic settings – ethically a world away from the 'cinematic' aesthetics permeating mainstream classical music-making today.

Notable performances have included the closing concert of the ‘Valletta International Baroque Festival’ (January 2014 – a concert showcasing the ‘Villains and Lovers’ from the operas of Rameau & Handel), the ensemble's Berlin & ‘London Handel Festival’ debut concerts (in September 2014 & March 2016 respectively), and the 2018 ‘Apsley Lates’ series at Apsley House (devised by – and under the artistic direction of – Ian Peter Bugeja). Upcoming performances include a collaboration with the National Gallery (London) commencing February 2020, as well as various symphonic and operatic concerts in the United Kingdom & mainland Europe.

Artist Bios

Ian Peter Bugeja

Conductor - Harpsichordist


an Peter is a graduate of the University of Malta, the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama (where he was generously supported by the Janatha Stubbs Foundation), and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama – where he read

for a B.A. (Hons.) in Music, an MMus in Orchestral & Opera Conducting, and a [doctoral] MPhil in historical performance. He previously studied piano and theory of music with Maria Dolores Amodio and Stephanie Quintano Lauri respectively.

Ian Peter specialises in historical performance as both conductor and soloist, and also conducts early instrumental music and operas from the keyboard (harpsichord/fortepiano); he is the founder and executive director of Les Bougies Baroques, and has worked with a number of ensembles and orchestras that include the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra, Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, Orion Symphony Orchestra, RWCMD Chamber Orchestra, REPCo Orchestra, and the ‘Wales International Academy of Voice (Saturday Academy)’. Operas in which Ian Peter has featured as main conductor and assistant conductor include Strauss’s Die Fledermaus (Wales Millennium Centre), Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (Mid-Wales Opera), Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (Wales Millennium Centre), Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor & Salieri’s Prima la musica e poi le parole (Teatru Manoel), the Mascagni-Leoncavallo Cavalleria Rusticana & Pagliacci double-bill (Teatru Manoel), and Gluck’s Il Parnaso Confuso (Wilton's Music Hall).

Ian Peter has toured the UK & mainland Europe extensively, performed in Damascus (Syria), and was a prize-winner during the fourth edition of the international piano competition Concorso Pianistico W.A. Mozart, held in Italy; he has also performed for HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and other distinguished guests for a Duke of Edinburgh World Fellows event, while in 2013 he was responsible for musically preparing internationally-acclaimed countertenor Max Cencic ahead of the release of his album Venezia with record-label Virgin.

Notable appearances have included a performance with the Academy of Ancient Music in a 2013 ‘side-by-side’ concert, closing the ‘Valletta International Baroque Festival’ with Les Bougies Baroques in 2014, debuting in Berlin and at the London Handel Festival with Les Bougies Baroques (in September 2014 & March 2016 respectively), and heading the 2018 ‘Apsley Lates’ series (as deviser & artistic director) at Apsley House.


Le Nozze di Figaro

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Piotr Jordan

Ensemble Leader

Polish violinist Piotr Jordan has pursued a diverse freelance career across Europe and the UK, with wide-ranging musical interests; from chamber ensembles on both period and modern instruments, to early jazz and a range of folk traditions 


from Celtic to Balkan, Piotr's passion is to bring all musical genres to a diverse range of audiences while bringing out the improvised ephemeral aspects of music-making within each genre’s context.

Nicola Said



Maltese soprano Nicola Said is a graduate of the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama Opera School – where she studied with Shighemi Matsumoto & Yvonne Kenny respectively.

Nicola’s operatic roles to-date include: Lucia in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor (Festival Lyrique-En-Mer, Fulham Opera/Grimeborn), Nannetta (cover) in Verdi’s Falstaff (The Grange Festival), Madame Herz in Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor (Teatru Manoel), Maria in the first Maltese opera cycle Belt il-Bniedem – City of Humanity by Reuben Pace (Valletta-2018), Adele in Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus (Lyric Opera Studio Weimar), Adina in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore (New Sussex Opera), Blondchen in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Warsaw Chamber Opera), Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni (Teatru Manoel), Königin Der Nacht in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (Charles Court Opera), Zerbinetta in Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos (Opera Project at West Green House Opera), the title role in Janáček’s Jenůfa (Grange Park Opera), the title role in Martinů’s Ariane (GSMD Opera School), Lucia in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia (GSMD Opera School), and Rosaura in Wolf-Ferrari’s Le Donne Curiose (GSMD Opera School), Barbarina in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, La Fée in Massenet’s Cendrillon, and Olympia in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann.

Nicola is a Malta Airport Foundation Ambassador, Talent Unlimited Artist, Peace and Prosperity Trust Young Artist, Drake Calleja Trust Scholar, Samling Scholar, and a BOV Joseph Calleja Foundation Scholar – and throughout her career, has received support from the Walter Hyde Memorial Trust, London Syndicate, Malta Arts Scholarship, Janatha Stubbs Foundation, and Ian Tomlin. She was also nominated by Joseph Calleja – with whom she has performed in concert – to attend the Salzburg Mozarteum in Summer 2014, where she won Second Prize in the Strauss Competition; in 2017, she also won First Prize and the Audience Prize at the Fulham Opera Robert Presley Memorial.  Nicola has performed in Cadogan Hall, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Barbican Hall, and at the Royal Opera House as Echo in Laurence Osborne’s opera Narkissus & the Reflektions. She has also recorded and premièred Paul Carroll’s works at Abbey Road Studios with the Commonwealth Orchestra, and has given recitals for HRH The Earl of Wessex at a Duke of Edinburgh event in Malta & at St. James’s Palace; she has also performed at the Three Palaces Festival, with Barrandov Opera, and at the President’s New Year’s Concert with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra.

Nicola’s upcoming performances include the BOV Joseph Calleja Foundation 2019 Christmas Concert, and the role of Madeline in the première of Reuben Pace’s City of Humanity II: The Island Fortress in 2020.

Don Giovannis invitation to the statue o

Don Giovanni invitation

to the statue of Commendatore

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Clare Chigo


altese mezzo-soprano Clare Ghigo is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama – from which she graduated with a Master’s Degree in Performance and an Opera School 


Master's Degree in Performance respectively; while at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Clare was under the tutelage of mezzo-soprano Leah-Marian Jones.

Clare's operatic roles to-date include Cherubino in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Annio in Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito, Hansel in Humperdinck‘s Hansel & Gretel, the Third & Second Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, the old Gypsy Woman in Rachmaninov’s Aleko, Speranza/Proserpina in Monteverdi's L’Orfeo, the title role in Bizet's Carmen, Angelina in Rossini's La Cenerentola, Maria in Piazolla's Maria de Buenos Aires, and Rosina in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Kannell in the children’s opera Il-Qtates fix-Xatt by Euchar Gravina, Anna Rosa in Carlo Diacono’s L’Alpino, and the roles of Saja & Nunzjata in the world première of Aħna Refuġjati and City of Humanity (both Valletta-2018 projects) respectively.

Together with soprano Gillian Zammit and harpist Britt Arend, Clare has recently formed a harp trio, which – after successful recitals at the AlteOper in Frankfurt, Rotes Rathaus in Berlin, and the Hôtel de Ville in Paris – was recently invited to perform at the Khachaturian Festival in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan.

Clare has also participated in various operatic competitions, highlights of which include: First Prize at the Malta International Signing Competition, qualifying as a semifinalist at both the Alfredo Kraus Vocal Competition & the 2016 London Handel competition, and qualifying as a finalist in the Hans Gabor Belvedere competition.

Clare is a versatile recital artist who has performed with acclaimed singers such as Joseph Calleja, Bryn Terfel, Anna Tomova Sintova, Nelly Miriciu, Monserrat Caballe, Daniela Dessi, Richard Bonynge, and Luciana Serra; she has alsp performed with various ensembles including the Jeune Orchestre Atlantique, Les Bougies Baroques, GSMD Consort, Rossini Ensemble, VIBE, Ensemble Télémaque, and the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra (with whom she also toured China).

Clare also forms part of London Festival Opera (UK), the Orfeo Foundation (Amsterdam), and is scholar with both ENOA (Aix-en-Provence) & the Georg Solti Accademia Del Bel Canto.

Cenk Karaferya



urkish-American countertenor Cenk Karaferya is a graduate of Trinity Laban and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama – from which he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music and a Master’s Degree in Performance 

respectively; while at the Guildhall School, he studied with Andrew Watts & Yvonne Kenny, and was a proud recipient of the Borusan Music Scholarship. He has also participated in masterclasses with various internationally-acclaimed singers – amongst whom were David Daniels, Brian Asawa, Christoph Prégardien, Amanda Roocroft, Benjamin Luxon, and Emma Kirkby.

His roles to-date include: Kalkhas in Bujor Hoinic’s Troya (Ankara State Opera), the title role (cover) in Jonathan Dove’s The Little Green Swallow (British Youth Opera), Aquilo in the UK première of Pergolesi’s Adriano in Siria (Opera Settecento), Artemis (cover) in Henze’s Phaedra (Guildhall Opera School), Erato in Gluck’s Il Parnaso Confuso (Wilton’s Music Hall), Narciso in Handel’s Agrippina (an Izmir State Opera & Ballet ‘Donizetti Classical Music Awards’ winning production), Annio in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito (Teatru Manoel), David in Handel’s Saul (Royal Swedish Opera Orchestra), Bartarido in Handel’s Rodelinda (Opéra de Baugé), Conscience in Toby’s Young’s Diary of a Thief (with Olivier Award winner OperaUpClose), male solo in Philip Venables’s The Schmuerz (London Contemporary Opera), and Spirit & 1st Witch in Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas (Opéra de Baugé).

Concert performances include a Wigmore Hall appearence with Voiceworks, a recital of songs in the ‘Music Above the Park’ concert series in Madrid, and a concert in Budapest's FUGA concert hall with mezzo-soprano Judit Rajk. Cenk has sung in solo concerts with Divino Sospiro, I Virtuosi Delle Muse, Barockorchester La Banda, Les Bougies Baroques, Izmir State Symphony Orchestra, and Broschi Ensemble – performing at prestigious venues such as the Southbank Centre, Centro Cultural de Belém Lisbon, Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, Zorlu Performing Arts Centre, Izmir Opera House, St. John’s Smith Square, St. James’s Piccadilly, The Holburne Museum, and Albert Long Hall Istanbul; he has also performed in various acclaimed festivals that include the Valletta International Baroque Festival, London Handel Festival, Greenwich Festival of Early Music, and the Istanbul Barok Festival.

Equally at home in recital, Cenk has been one of the core artists that Handel House has nurtured since its inception; he has also given countless solo recitals – receiving considerable acclaim for his broadcasts on CNN, BBC Radio 3 'In Tune', RTP 2, and TRT in the process – and recorded Handel’s Messiah for documentaries shown on BBC Two and TRT Muzik.

Opera Agrippina

Handel's Agrippina

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Artistic Director  Tatiana Lisnic

Conductor  Ian Peter Bugeja


Soprano Nicola Said


Mezzo-Soprano Clare Ghigo


Countertenor Cenk Karaferya


Les Bougies Baroques


Ensemble Leader Piotr Jordan

Violin I Piotr Jordan

             Marguerite Wassermann


Violin II  Ada Witczyk

               Ana Mlejnik


Viola Michael Bennett


Violoncello Anna Tam


Double Bass  Rosanna Moon


Harpsichordist  Ian Peter Bugeja

Festivals Malta


Chairman Norman Hamilton


Director Festivals Malta Annabelle Stivala


Assistant Director Frans Agius


Event Manager Martina Bonello


Marketing Team  Alice Azzopardi

                               Clayton Saliba

                               Terrence Cutajar

                               Felix Busuttil


Graphics & Web Design Clayton Saliba


Content Editor Albert G Storace


Technical Team  Martin Gauci

                             Alexander Kitcher

                             Saviour Busuttil

                             Patrick Cunningham

                             Charles Ellul

                              Joseph Ellul

                             Colin Ellul

                             Alan Mifsud






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