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NOTTE BIANCA: The Best One Yet?

NOTTE BIANCA: The Best One Yet?

Once a year, towards the beginning of October, something magical happens in the capital city of Valletta. It begins at sundown when city life usually begins to dwindle after a day of hustle and bustle. Only on this evening there seems to be far more people entering city gate than those exiting. Suddenly bells from church steeples start to ring in glorious cacophony. Musicians and bands take to makeshift stages set in piazzas. Thespians perform on street corners. Dancers and clowns and magicians roam the streets looking for anyone and everyone to entertain. And just like that, Valletta comes alive to a nocturnal arts and culture jamboree that lasts until the early hours. This is Notte Bianca.

Now in its twelfth edition, Notte Bianca has firmly established itself as one of the highlights of the Maltese cultural calendar. Tens of thousands of locals and tourists flock to Valletta to experience a flurry of events, including amongst the very best in music, dance, theatre, visual arts, literary events, as well as projects that explore the exciting emerging world of new and digital arts.

Notte Bianca is no stranger to international guests. However, this year, the festival has outdone itself with a number of high profile, globally acclaimed collaborators taking part. The crowing jewel of these in this year’s programme is undoubtedly world-renowned theatrical group La Fura dels Baus, who have opened the Barcelona Olympics and performed in some of the greatest stages around the world. During the week leading up to Notte Bianca, La Fura will be hosting a workshop for local artists and theatre practitioners to immerse themselves in the creative ethos of this acclaimed troupe. Through this intensive workshop, they will develop a unique performance piece that will be open to the public on the night of Notte Bianca. The public are invited to download an app called KALLIOPE to experience the performance, which will be open to 500 people at one time.

A diverse assortment of multi-national electronic artists – including ODED NIR, Above Smoke and The Floating Fluxman – will combine talents in the event titled NOTTE BLANK. Local artists will have the opportunity to collaborate with these guests and find ways to fuse their talents into a thrilling live production at Fort St Elmo’s ravishing Pjazza D’Armi.

Furthermore, jazz enthusiasts are in for a treat as acclaimed British drummer Clark Tracy – named UK Jazz Drummer 2017 – will be joining local virtuosos Dominic Galea and band in Sur Jazz. Together with local vocalist Nadine Axisa, the band will play a selection of jazz favourites – including a special tribute to local music legend Sammy Bartolo – on Victoria Gate.

As the city itself is the stage, Notte Bianca always takes full advantage of Valletta’s idiosyncratic architecture. By using the capital’s streets and public spaces in innovative, creative ways through a mix of roaming and site-specific projects, visitors will have the opportunity to experience Valletta anew as a true open-city of culture.

Crowds wandering into Republic Square can join in a spot of birdwatching in a project titled Ajru, an interactive installation of several bird-like objects banding together in flight. A huge curtain of LEDs will be set up in St George’s Square, which will project the dancing silhouettes of anyone who is brave enough to bust a move in front of a specially set up camera in Lampa Stampa. And visitors may want to keep an eye out for three vintage red telephone boxes, where mysterious callers are waiting on the line, part of a project named Min Hemm?

The play Qatta Ġrieden will explore Valletta’s underground and promises to be another theatrical highlight on the night. Produced by local theatre group Xenati with a script written by Anna Pullicino and original music by Justin Galea, Qatta Ġrieden is rip-roaring comedy that follows Valletta’s mice colonies who are forever facing the capital city’s disturbing construction works.

After the massive success of past years, Karaoke ta’ Vera returns bigger and better. Anyone who wants to channel their inner pop star can jump onto this live karaoke stage with live music provided by Brass House Unit. Visitors can sing their heart out to the masses and duet with local mainstream superstars Destiny, Claudio Faniello, Kevin Borg, and Gaia Cauchi.

In addition to the forty-odd official Notte Bianca events, festivalgoers are further spoilt for choice as many of Valletta’s churches, state palaces and museums will be opening their doors to visitors until the early hours, some of which will also be playing host to art exhibitions and performances. This year the Archbishops’ Palace will be open for the first time, whilst the Malta 5D experience will be open to audiences for free.

Every which way they turn, all through the night, patrons are bound to stumble upon another magical festival delight.

Notte Bianca is organised by the Festivals Directorate within Arts Council Malta under the Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government, with the support of Valletta 2018 Foundation, Valletta Local Council, MSV Life, and Farsons.

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About Notte Bianca

Notte Bianca is Malta’s biggest annual arts and culture festival. For one special night every October, Notte Bianca lights up the Valletta cityscape with a spectacular celebration that is open to the public free of charge.

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