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Of Hell and Exile

Of Hell And Exile is a multi-faceted, interlinked, fully immersive project. The process-led nature of this project sees a multimedia dialogue between artists who explore Dante’s Divina Commedia through the eyes of Anna Akhmatova. Akhmatova was one of the few artists who remained in Russia during Stalin’s regime. For Of Hell And Exile, The Akhmatova Songs by John Tavener were performed and recorded by Gillian Zammit and Akos Kertesz. The six songs of the cycle have been divided into chapters and are linked with poetry/text by Dante and Akhmatova. Monochrome line-art works build upon imagery inspired from, and reflecting the Soviet State and the Gustav Dore illustrations of the Divine Comedy, are part-projected onto couture pieces designed by Luke Azzopardi. The project speaks of notions of identity, displacement and the universality of human suffering. It aims to unveil a ‘work-in-progress’ style artistic vision with a socio-political tinge.

Artistic Collaborators

Gillian Zammit

Akos Kertesz

Luke Azzopardi

Akhmatova Songs By John Tavener

11 November 2021




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Gillian Zammit is a versatile soprano with a varied repertoire ranging from Baroque to 20th century opera. Having trained with Carlo Bergonzi and Victoria de Los Angeles, Zammit is highly regarded as a recital and chamber music singer. Her repertoire includes Strauss’s Vier letzte lieder, Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été and Britten’s Les Illuminations, which she has performed with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra. She has also given numerous voice and harp recitals with harpist Britt Arend. Zammit also specialises in Baroque music and performs annually during the Valletta International Baroque Festival. She recently performed the Ortiz Vespers and Requiem by Durante with Marco Mencoboni and Cantar Lontano at the Utrecht Early Music Festival. She works regularly with the Valletta International Baroque Ensemble (VIBE) and has toured Madrid, Paris and Berlin with the ensemble. Gillian has performed with international colleagues namely Joseph Calleja, Andrea Bocelli, Eugene Kohn, Steven Mercurio and Emma Kirkby.

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Hungarian cellist Akos Kertesz received his Master’s degree in cello performance from The Royal Conservatory of The Hague, after having earned his Bachelor’s degree at the Liszt Academy in Budapest. Akos joined the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra in 2012 and since 2019 has been acting principal cellist there. Previously he had played in the Hungarian State Opera, the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra (Japan), the Limburgs Symfonie Orkest (Maastricht) and Het Residentie Orkest (The Hague). Akos has worked with world-class conductors and soloists and has toured extensively throughout Europe, North America, China and Japan. Akos has appeared as soloist with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and with the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra. He is also an avid chamber music player; he is a member of the Kalypso Ensemble and cellist of the MPO Quartet and the Omnia Quartet.

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Luke Azzopardi is couturier and fashion historian. He was born and raised in Victoria, Gozo. After studying at Central Saint Martins in London UAL and the University of Malta, the couturier moved back to Malta to launch his brand. The Luke Azzopardi studio focuses on the idea of timeless elegance stemming from Luke’s academic background in costume history. The creative director was awarded the prestigious Premio Cultura e Moda 2016 by L’Istituto Italiano di Cultura, the Fashion Designer of the Year 2018 award by LovinMalta and was shortlisted for the Artist of the Year 2018/19 awards, Best International Export 2020 and Best Art Project during COVID-19 by Arts Council Malta. Azzopardi’s methodology of fusing together powerful visuals, academic research and artisanal design is what distinguishes his work. This translates into his maison’s ethos, which is that of being a self-sustainable atelier that embraces both concept-based fashion and beauty.