The chairman of Valletta 2018 has shot down criticism about the “unoriginality” of last Saturday’s acrobatic spectacle at the Tritons fountain, arguing this was nothing but nitpicking by “bitter” people.
“The festival was an enormous success, and a few bitter people are just trying to find something to complain about,” Jason Micallef told Lovin Malta. “I have never seen so much national pride in Malta, but some people just want to nitpick at a time when the country is united.”
The spectacular acrobatic show at the regenerated Tritons Fountain Square, featuring suspended Maltese acrobats and a large humanoid puppet, was designed by internationally renowned Spanish theatrical company La Fura Dels Baus. The performers wowed the crowds, but several people took to social media later to point out that La Fura dels Baus had organised strikingly similar renditions of the ‘Human Net’ in Amsterdam, Budapest, Santiago and Uruguay. Critics argued this went against the ultimate intention of Valletta’s inauguration as European Capital of Culture, which is to promote creativity in Maltese culture.
However, Micallef said Valletta 2018 organisers gave Maltese acrobats a unique opportunity to work with one of the best theatrical companies in the world.
“Are we seriously questioning the choice of La Fura dels Baus on the basis that they go on tours around the world?” he asked. “Are we saying festivals like Isle of MTV, Lost and Found and Tomorrowland are all rehashes and photocopies just because the singers would have performed the same songs at other concerts? With all due respect, but I cannot understand these arguments so much that it make me smile in disbelief.”
An estimated 110,000 people, a staggering quarter of the entire Maltese population, descended on Valletta last Saturday. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat hailed the high turnout as a sign Maltese national pride and unity is making a comeback.
“It is a sign of national pride that thousands of people, including elderly people and families with pushchairs, attended the inauguration despite knowing it was going to be a logistical nightmare to walk from one square to the other,” he said.