The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Sergey Smbatyan, performed at the InClassica Classical Music Festival in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on September 15 and 16.
"It is a great honor to present the orchestra. It is a special feeling, as I am the chief conductor of the orchestra and to present it in such a festival, where the best orchestras have performed and will have, is a great responsibility," Smbatyan told reporters.
On September 15, the orchestra performed with the famous Maltese opera singer Joseph Calleja.
Calleja performed famous arias from his repertoire, including an aria from the opera "Romeo and Juliet." The world-famous tenor had a concert with Sergey Smbatyan for the second time. The first was again in Dubai, where a few months ago he performed Spendiaryan's "Oh Rose" romance, with the accompaniment of the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra.
"I sang in Armenian, Sergey Smbatyan was impressed that I can sing quite well in Armenian. I just fell in love with that composition and, who knows, maybe in the future we will collaborate, I will sing some Armenian songs. And as a promise, I will definitely come to Armenia," Joseph Calleja told reporters.
The next concert of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra was with the German virtuoso cellist Mischa Maisky. They performed works by Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky at the Coca Cola Concert Hall in Dubai. Mischa Maisky had collaborated with Sergey Smbatyan for the first time.
"Sergey Smbatyan and I have many common friends, I have heard a lot about him. We discussed together the possibility of performing together in Armenia. So far, the issue is to decide the day, but we are still discussing. Of course, I hope it will work out. I have wonderful memories of Armenia, the last time I came was last January, and I hope I will have the opportunity in the near future as well," he told reporters.
Conductor Sergey Smbatyan is not only the conductor of the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra, but also the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra for two years now. The leader of the orchestra Catherine Tabone is impressed with Smbatyan's work.
"Yesterday I participated in the concert and I am very impressed with how Sergey Smbatyan conducted the concert, especially two parts, about which I have already talked to him. I consider Sergey Smbatyan's musical talent very inspiring. There is no doubt that by conducting such a musical talent as he is, our musicians will be more motivated to move forward," Tabone noted during the conference after the concert.
Dr. Jose A. Herrera, Minister for National Heritage, Arts and Local Government of Malta, was also invited to Dubai to listen to the concerts.
"I followed with great pride the performance by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra. This was the first time I had seen the orchestra perform. The Philharmonic Orchestra is a very important part of our portfolio. There are many other orchestras in Malta, but the National Orchestra is unique and very important to Maltese culture. We already had a National Orchestra, but it had faded over the years. The orchestra was restored in 1968 and has grown ever since. Our ambitions are great, we want to reach the level of other prestigious, particularly European orchestras. We want to increase the popularity and standing of Maltese culture," he told a press conference after the concert.
The InClassica Classical Music Festival has brought a cultural breath of fresh air into Dubai, the financial and commercial hub of the United Arab Emirates. 37 famous musicians, 7 famous orchestras, and 12 famous conductors from different parts of the world take part in the daily concerts being held since August 28. The organizer of the festival, Konstantin Ishkhanov, President of the European Foundation for Support of Culture, considers it a success.
"The aim of the festival, of course, is to promote the development of classical music. This is also the main goal of the Foundation. I believe we have taken the first but quite big step in Dubai because, in any case, we have to start from big things in Dubai, here are the tallest buildings in the world, the biggest amusement site, the tallest fountains. And it is very difficult to start here with small things; that is why I believe we did not start badly. Taking into account the conditions under which we worked, I believe it turned out great, there is a large number of spectators, and the spectators are happy," Ishkhanov told reporters.
The 10th InClassica International Classical Music Festival will continue until September 26.
The seven orchestras participating in the festival are the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the Russian National Orchestra, the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra, the Kaliningrad Symphony Orchestra, and the State Philharmonic of Rhineland-Palatinate of Germany.
Famous conductors Dmitry Yablonsky, Alexander Sladkovsky, Michael Francis, Sergey Smbatyan, Marius Stravinsky, and others are also engaged in the festival.
The program of the festival includes a large number of works, from baroque music to works by contemporary composers, including the works of the festival's resident composer Alexey Shore.
The InClassica Festival is organized by the European Foundation for Support of Culture, and it is held jointly with SAMIT Event Group.