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Christmas Bonanza
Music room 29 December 2008 @ 8.00pm

An evening of songs, arias and lieders from the most popular to undiscovered gems the repertoire of Christmas music. For this occasion, three young and dynamic singers, Nick Agius Darmanin, Alexandra Scicluna and Frances Catherine Farrugia will join forces together with pianist Elizabeth Leonardi, promising an unforgetable and magical experience.


C. Monteverdi  Angelus ad Pastores                   

C. Gounod  Ave Maria   
C. Wesley  Hark! The Herald Angels Sing  

G. Caccini  Ave Maria  

A.H. Malotte  The Lord’s Prayer          

J. Brahms
Geistliches Wiegenlied  (guest violist: Sarah Spiteri)        

E. Humperdinck  Evening Prayer (duet from Hansel & Gretel)   

Anon. 15th century  Qui Creavit Coelum
F. Schubert  Ave Maria     

C. Franck  Panis Angelicus                 
S. Adams The Holy City       

P. Yon  Gesu Bambino          

A. M. De Liguori  Tu scendi dalle stelle                  

W. C. Dix  What child is this?  

A. Adam  O Holy Night     

The artists

Frances Catherine Farrugia - Soprano
Frances Catherine Farrugia started music lessons at the Johann Strauss School of Music at a young age. At the age of 19 she began voice lessons with Soprano Antoinette Miggiani, with whom she started building a vocal repertoire to suit her lirico spinto soprano voice. She is currently reading a degree in theory of music with the London Schools of Music and studies piano under the tuition of Angele Galea.

Frances Catherine has attended and participated in master classes both locally and abroad given by  Raffaele Ponti, Baritone Thomas Bauer and Soprano Mirella Freni.  She has recently participated in master classes organized by Florence Opera under the coaching of Soprano Patrizia Morandini and participated in the Florence Opera Concert, Italy, singing arias by Puccini, and Cilea. Frances Catherine has sung at Westminster Cathedral, London, for Malta Day 2006. She has also participated in concerts at St. James Cavalier, Sala Isouard with the Friends of the Manoel Theatre, Salesians Theatre and a number of other concerts featuring arias from the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras, operettas, musicals and sacred music. She has also performed at San Anton Palace in a concert held under the auspices of the President of Malta. 

Frances Catherine holds a Degree in Business Management from the University of Malta and currently works at Malta Enterprise within the Public Relations Department.


Alexandra Scicluna - Mezzo-soprano 
Alexandra Scicluna began her musical studies at a young age privately and at the Johann Strauss School of Music, Valletta, Malta. She studies vocal technique, interpretation and repertoire under the guidance of Dramatic Soprano Antoinette Miggiani, follows piano and music theory training with Fay Griscti Davies and solfeggio with Elizabeth Leonardi.
She has participated in masterclasses both locally and abroad, having to-date trained under the guidance of Raffaele Ponti (US & Italy), Ettore Nova (Italy), Ambra Vespasiani (Italy), Thomas Bauer (Germany), Joyce Fieldsend (UK & Italy) and Barbara Robotham (UK).

Alexandra is gradually gaining experience as a soloist on the concert platform, having performed in Ripatransone, Italy as part of the Festival Internazionale di Musica Lirica e da Camera, as well as in Ambleside, UK, as part of the Lake District Summer Music Festival. In Malta, she has participated in a number of cultural evenings and concerts organised by the the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts, the Friends of Teatru Manoel, the National Students Travel Service, the University of Malta Student Representative Council, as well as a number of religious functions. Furthermore she has performed at concerts at St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, Sala Isouard, the Sacrestia Vault at the Valletta Waterfront, St.John’s Co-Cathedral, St. Catherine of Italy, several churches, as well as at San Anton Palace under the auspices of the President of Malta. She has also begun to gain experience on the operatic platform through chorus participation in productions put up at the Teatru Manoel (Valletta, Malta) and Teatru Astra (Rabat, Gozo).

Alexandra holds a B.A. (HONS.) in History of Art as well as a Grade 8 Distinction in Vocal Performance from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. She worked as Head of Educational & Cultural Affairs with the National Student Travel Foundation (Malta) for four years, having proceeded to an advisory role. Alexandra presently dedicates most of her time to the study of voice and music as well as performing.


Nick Agius Darmanin - Tenor
Nick started piano lessons at the age of seven and currently holds his Royal Associated Board Grade 8 Certificates in piano performance and Vocal Performance.  At the age of seventeen, he discovered his passion for classical singing and started vocal training with Soprano Gillian Zammit having immediately been cast in the Opera ‘Semele’ by Handel.

Nick has since performed in various musicals and small scale operas, playing roles such as the Prince in the pantomime ‘Cinderella’ (MADC), Tony in ‘West Side Story’ (Drama Troupe), Soloist singer in ‘Voices Extraordinaire’, Prince Tamino in ‘The Magic Flute’ (Manoel Theatre), Soloist singer in ‘Notturno’ a classical recital and also a Soloist singer at one of the concerts held at St. Catherine of Italy Church, ‘Sound an Alarm’ a classical recital of Tenor Arias. Nick has also attended several master classes with Denise Mulholland (Soprano) and Jane Webster (Soprano). He has recently been coached by Nicholas Sears (Tenor) head of Vocal Studies at the Royal College of Music in London.

Nick is currently reading for a Postgraduate Vocal Performance Diploma at the Royal College of Music.  He further aspires to obtain a place at the highly acclaimed Benjamin Britten Opera School at the RCM and eventually pursue a career as a Classical and Opera singer.


Elizabeth Leonardi - Pianist
Elizabeth Leonardi started piano lessons at the age of four. Having passed all grade examinations she won the Francis Ebejer Prize. She succesfully passed her first Diploma from the London College of music (ALCM) and also participated in a summer course at the Sofia State Academy in Bulgaria at the age of fourteen. In 1998 Elizabeth obtained Diplomas and Performance Certificates from the Royal College of Music and Trinity College (ATCL). During these years in Malta she performed in various concert venues such as Sala Isouard, Manoel Theatre, both as a soloist and accompanist with various artists. She also gave live performances on radio stations and television programmes.
In 1999 Elizabeth succesfully passed entrance examinations at the Tchaikovsky State Conservatoire in Moscow and also at the Sofia State Academy in Bulgaria. For seven years she studied in Russia at the prestigious Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatoire, for the first four years under Prof. Sergei Glavatskih, Prof. E. Richter, and Prof. Irina Chukovskaya and then at the Gnessin State Academy also under Prof. Irina Chukovskaya and Prof. Ludmilla V. Pluzhnik where she recently graduated with a Masters in performance and teaching. During her stay in Russia she perfomed at concerts in Sveni Gorod and Moscow, at different concert halls at the Conservatoire and Gnessin Academy, at monthly engagements at the House of Literature, and represented Malta at the Russo-Maltese relations concerts in the presence of Mme Terishkova, the Maltese Ambassador and Dr. E. Zolina.
Having only recently returned to Malta she has performed as a soloist at Sala Isouard, the Russian Centre, and St. John's Cavallier amongst others, while accompanying various artists amongst whom Soprano Lydia Caruana. Using Russian methods she has started her own school situated in Paola teaching Pianoforte herself together with Russian teachers: Miklukho Yaroslav for Violincello, Filipenko Natalia for Violin, Yuri Charyguine for Accordian and Bass Guitar.


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