Valletta Baroque Festival Returns in 2021 with a Covid-Safe Programme

While a COVID-safe, pared-down version of Teatru Manoel’s much-loved music festival will be held in 2021, the full programme has been moved to 2022   

The full programme of the 2021 edition of the popular Valletta Baroque Festival has been postponed to 2022, due to restrictions connected with the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.

Teatru Manoel, which annually organises the eagerly anticipated annual music festival, has taken the difficult decision to postpone the extensive programme of the upcoming ninth edition, which features both international and local artists, to 2022. In its place, from 15 to 24 January 2021, will instead be an equally high-quality, pared-down programme of local and closer-to-home performers.

“Preparations for the Valletta Baroque Festival each January start long before, with the programme publicised up to a year in advance,” shares Teatru Manoel artistic director, Kenneth Zammit Tabona. “Due to COVID-19, in April this year we advised all the participants of the 2021 festival – 36 concerts involving over 300 artists – that we may have to transpose the entire festival to January 2022, which the majority accepted. Ergo the 2022 festival programme is ready, but to keep the festival’s spirit alive this year I have devised a scaled-down version comprising Maltese musicians and singers like Gillian Zammit, Michael Laus and Sarah Spiteri, alongside others from Italy to perform on instruments like the viola da gamba and theorbo.”

Besides these local artists, who are synonymous with the Valletta Baroque ensemble and hence the Valletta Baroque Festival, the 2021 pared-down programme will also feature a chamber version of ‘inspired by baroque’ by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra. This unique performance will showcase works by modern and contemporary composers that were inspired by the baroque idiom such as Ottorino Respighi or Igor Stravinsky. Award-winning harpsichordist Andrea Buccarella will also be performing Bach’s magnificent ‘Goldberg Variations’, in a 2021 festival that will be held exclusively within the Teatru Manoel.

“All events in the 2021 festival will take place at the theatre. I know that many will miss being lured from pillar to post as in previous years, exploring the beautiful baroque architectural and artistic heritage of Malta, but it is more sensible and straightforward to stay in one venue in terms of COVID-19 protocols,” continues Mr Zammit Tabona. “But I hope that the 2021 festival will remind us that we must have the courage to continue living our lives as best as we can, while taking all necessary precautions to stay safe. It is also important to support our artists in their hour of need. All artists have felt the negative effects of the pandemic and we cannot let them – or the cultural legacy and accumulated civilisation that they represent – down. For their sake, as well as our own.”

The Valletta Baroque Festival will be held at the Teatru Manoel, Valletta from 15 to 24 January 2021. More information may be found online at

Monique Chambers

Monique started indulge in 2011 and has since created Indulge Me GIFT and Indulge Me FOOD and volume 1 of The Artists Directory - Malta. A marketing professional by trade, Monique's passion is to promote local talent and Malta in general. Free time is her biggest indulgence, when she can tinker in her craft room or the kitchen, or be selfish with a book, the sofa and good glass of wine (of course, wearing something beautiful and with freshly coiffed hair!)

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