Nothing wrong with our acoustics, Manoel Theatre says of Raoul Lay’s claims

‘The Manoel Theatre is a historic theatre built in 1731 and as such should only host performances that do not interfere with its fabric’

The Manoel Theatre has responded to claims of defective acoustics by the Raoul Lay, the former artistic director of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, who resigned last week.

Lay last week told culture minister José Herrera that he was unable to convince MPO director Sigmund Mifsud to “remedy the malfunctions which hinder the normal and serene exercise of my duties” and that he not able to work on the general organisation of all MPO activities.

Amongst them were the need to modify the defective acoustics of the Manoel Theatre.

READ MORE Malta Philharmonic artistic director resigns over clash with Sigmund Mifsud

Lay is a conductor and composer, formerly the director of the Ensemble Télémaque that he founded in 1994
Lay is a conductor and composer, formerly the director of the Ensemble Télémaque that he founded in 1994

 

But the theatre’s management has said that at no time was it ever intimated in meetings held by Mro Lay and the theatre’s artistic director Kenneth Zammit Tabona that there were to be any discussion about opera selection in the theatre.

“Operas have, for the past six years since Mr Zammit Tabona has been artistic director, chosen for their suitability to the size, ambience and style of an 18th century theatre. The theatre hires and pays the MPO for their services,” the Manoel Theatre’s spokesperson said.

“Although dry, the theatre’s acoustic is perfect for all the other artistic disciplines it organises throughout the season. The theatre is definitely intrinsically unsuitable to host a large symphony orchestra. This is why the erstwhile Manoel Theatre Orchestra was removed from there in 1997 and became the National Orchestra. The problem lies in the fact that, since then, the orchestra has remained without a concert hall to perform in.”

Indeed, the theatre’s spokesperson said there has never any issue about addressing the so called ‘defective’ acoustic of the Manoel as it has been understood for the past 23 years that a concert hall was supposed to have been provided. “This in fact is in the present government’s electoral manifesto which binds it to find a suitable concert hall for the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra.”

The spokesperson said the Manoel Theatre is a historic theatre built in 1731 and as such should only host performances “that do not interfere with its fabric. That includes any proposed alteration in its acoustic to accommodate a genre for which it was not created for and is, size-wise, impossible to fulfil; especially without consulting the Board and management of the theatre beforehand.”

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