Throughout May, the Malta Society of Arts in Valletta will become the home of the multidisciplinary art platform, City of Art. Its first project, titled Decadence, Now brings together a collective of artists, curators and researchers all inspired by the concepts and individuals who enriched the fin-de-siécle period.
As part of Decadence, Now, the recital hall at Palazzo de la Salle will be re-imagined as a 19th-century salon. Traditionally an environment that sought to please and educate, the salon was the heart of experimentation, debate, creativity and discovery.
Each weekend will feature a new programme of songs and showcase some of the most beautiful music of that period, accompanied by poetry, letters, memoirs and more. A group of internationally acclaimed performers will come together to create a unique experience that goes beyond the traditional recital.
The first salon will be devoted to German lieder and will include songs by Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler, featuring performances by baritone André Morsch and pianist Charlene Farrugia. The second salon will consist of an Italian repertoire by Paolo Tosti and Giacomo Puccini, featuring performances by soprano Gillian Zammit, tenor Raffaele Abete and pianist Lucia Micallef. The third and final salon will focus on French art-song, featuring performances by Gillian Zammit and Lucia Micallef, who will interpret songs by Debussy, Hahn and Duparc.
Each of the three salons will be hosted by a salonnière‚ a woman who will curate the performance, as is traditional. This role will be shared by Gillian Zammit, Denise Mulholland and Maria Theuma respectively.
And, finally, Decadence, Now will host the world premiere of a new song cycle by Maltese composer Karl Fiorini. Inspired by Strauss, Gabriele D’Annunzio and Charles Baudelaire, these exciting new songs will be performed by Gillian Zammit as part of the salons.
An ongoing exhibition featuring loaned artefacts from acclaimed European museums as well as four new exhibits by artists Luke Azzopardi, Maria Theuma, Andrew Borg Wirth, and Michael Zerafa will also grace the halls of the Malta Society of Arts throughout the month of May.
Decadence, Now runs from May 11 to 31 at the Malta Society of Arts in Valletta. This project is supported by Arts Council Malta’s Programme Support Grant. For more information on Decadence,Now visit cityofart.eu/decadence-now/.