Aurora Opera House
100 Republic Street,
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The Aurora Opera House is owned and run by the Socjeta Filarmoniker Leone which was established in 1863.
In 1971 the members of the Filarmoniker, all voluntary (ie unpaid) workers, decided to erect an Opera House to house their own band performances and those of visiting companies. At first film shows were also part of the entertainment but over the years the 1,600 seat theatre simply proved to large for the potential film audience and the projectors have now been removed and are on display in the foyer on the first floor.
The ground floor has a very large foyer and bar, which is used throughout the year irrespective of whether there is a performance in the theatre.
The auditorium is a massive space with a large raked stalls area of seating and three tiers of boxes which line the side and rear walls. The original designs of Maltese artist, Prof. Chev. Envin Cremona have been retained since the theatre opened on 9th October 1976. The ceiling contains one circular and one semi-circular massive light fitting each equipped to change colours to adjust the ambiance. There is a large stage and extra large orchestra pit to accommodate the annual Opera Season. This, like the Astra’s, is a real community event with local made costumes and scenery, professional principals, the Orchestra of the Teatru Manoel from Valletta, and local chorus and extras. Above the stage, off-set to the left, Aurora watches out over the audience.
The Socjeta Filarmoniker Leone clearly takes a great pride in the Aurora which is beautifully maintained by the members of the society.
Much has been made of the apparent rivalry of the La Stella and Leone societies, and whilst there will obviously be some competition between the two groups, I was certainly not aware of any ill-feeling from one to the other. In fact both organisations proved to be quite exceptionally welcoming and friendly on my visit.
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