Fusing the Sacred and Profane

Updated: Oct 20, 2021

The Three Palaces festival goes online for the second consecutive year with a extraordinary programme.

This year, the festival is following the theme of ‘Sacred and Profane’, with the three pillars of inspiration behind this edition of the festival being the 700th anniversary of Dante Aligheri’s birth, the 450th anniversary of Caravaggio’s birth and Malta’s Heritage. Artistic Director Michelle Castelletti commented, “I wanted to use the past as a mirror for the future, embracing the digital world we are living in, whilst gripping tightly to our exceptional history”.


Both Caravaggio and Dante have a unique and interesting history with Maltese Heritage. Caravaggio’s arrival to Malta, despite being very dubious considering the warrant of arrest and accusations of murder following him, left great pride and value to the Maltese Islands. Nowadays, one of his most famous masterpieces and arguably the pinnacle of the chiaroscuro technique in art history, the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, is proudly displayed in St. John’s Co-Cathedral. On the other hand, Dante Aligheri’s history with Malta is less decorated, however, one which still holds importance. Dante makes a very negative reference to Malta in his epic La Divina Comedia, describing it as a place of anguish and punishment. However, it could be that Dante was referring to a prison in Italy called ‘Torre di Malta’. Regardless of this, both Dante and Caravaggio are fulcrum figures in world history and considering their connection with Maltese heritage, it is only fit that the Three Palaces Festival celebrates this on these anniversaries from their birth.


This year, the Three Palaces will feature five unique interdisciplinary performances by local artists, which were chosen after an open call, and a critically acclaimed acrobatic performance by international artists No Gravity. “Together, we have collectively curated an interdisciplinary festival which reflects our vibrant society, our rich heritage, and our excitingly ambitious creativity”, said Michelle Castelletti.


CEO of Festivals Malta Annabelle Stivala said, “The Three Palaces Festival, albeit a relatively young festival, is one of great importance for Festivals Malta. Being the second online edition of the festival, it allows us to reach a wider audience and spread culture, history and art to everyone in a comfortable environment”. “The Festival will enable us to celebrate culture and history in an artistic manner”, she continued.


The programme of events for the Three Palaces Festival is as follows:


8th November 2021 at 8:30pm - Oskur

An audiovisual interpretation of Caravaggio’s chiaroscuro and tenebrism. Oskur is video art, created through a piano improvisation, whereby the pianist controls and interacts with electronics and visuals


9th November 2021 - Double Bill Special

The Kiss at 8:30pm

The Kiss is a dance film highlighting elements from Dante’s Canto V. Using camera and dance, it brings to life a contemporary rendition of Francesca and Paolo’s tragic love story.


Portal Shades at 9:00pm

Portal Shades takes its inspiration from doorways and portals, coupled with Dante’s narrative from hell to paradise, that sparked its concept and choreography.


10th November 2021 at 8:30pm - Nel Mezzo Del Cammin

The Nel Mezzo Del Cammin journey begins with the emblematic opening lines of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, leading the way to a multi-disciplinary journey – a marriage of music, drama and dance.


11th November 2021 at 8:30pm - Of Hell And Exile

Of Hell And Exile is a multi-faceted, interlinked, fully immersive project which sees a multimedia dialogue between artists who explore Dante’s Divina Commedia through the eyes of Anna Akhmatova.


12th November 2021 at 8:30pm - Inferno

Illusion and sculpture dance along with figure theatre come together for NoGravity’s visual feast that is Inferno. With a cast of six acrobat dancers, Inferno presents viewers with a gravity defying performance.


The Three Palaces Festival will take place online, with the performances being premiered on the Festivals Malta YouTube Channel and The Three Palaces Festival Facebook Page. For more info visit www.festivals.mt/ttp




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