Finally, after two and a half years in the works: “Caravaggio The Musical” debuts in September

After two and a half years in the making, a new musical Caravaggio The Musical, is set to debut in September at the Mediterranean Conference Centre (MCC) and which will mark it as the venue’s first in-house production.

The musical, composed by Paul Abela with lyrics by Joe Julian Farrugia and directed by Malcolm Galea, tackles the life of the great Italian master artist, Michelangelo Merisi di Caravaggio. It will tell his story at the height of his fame and his transformation into an outlaw forced to seek refuge in Malta with the Knights of St John.

The production hasn’t merely aimed to tick the boxes of the master’s biography, but also tries do justice to the core of the story of his tormented genius.

A major attraction for visitors at St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta, his masterpiece, The Beheading of St John The Baptist, remains his foremost hallmark.

Caravaggio is acclaimed for his unique ‘chiaroscuro’ painting style, which at his time dominated baroque. His style displayed the psychological realism of the divine to form in his dynamic and deeply expressive paintings.

His talents may seemingly have appeared granted from tye divine , but his fiery temper and a penchant for scandal remained a cloud over the master painter for as long as he lived.

At a news conference today launching the production, MCC chairman Kenneth Spiteri said that it is hoped that the musical could be exported after a succesful local run between September 20 to 25. 

Spiteri said that “Our aim was to mount a production that could also be staged overseas, so we wanted to find a character that is renowned all over the world. This musical is an occasion to recount a small piece of Malta’s rich history and attract tourists to the islands with its stories.”

Director Malcolm Galea described Caravaggio as an enigmatic person whose short stay in Malta left an enormous legacy. He added that the artist “was left to juggle his divine talents with an infernal temper, whose demons led him to produce masterpieces, but whose inevitable destiny is all but written into his DNA. Working on this production has been a beautiful process that will leave the legend of Caravaggio with a new generation as well as showcase our considerable local talents.”

In his address to the gathered press, the Tourism Minister, Clayton Bartolo augured that the musical would remain a spoken-about production for the generations which follow.

He added that “We are happy to be able to offer such a high-level production not only to locals but to tourists who will be visiting our island. We are full of courage for our future and it is encouraging to see the industry getting back to normality as well as creating new and diverse experiences that will be open to tourists.”

“Caravaggio the Musical” tickets are available on www.showshappening.com

The Beheading of St John's The Baptist is on display at St John's Co-Cathedral. Photo: St John's Co-CathedralThe Beheading of St John’s The Baptist is on display at St John’s Co-Cathedral. Photo: St John’s Co-Cathedral

Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo announces the new musical based on Italian painter Caravaggio. Photo: Jessica Arena