Words by VISITGOZO / MINISTRY FOR GOZO | Extract taken from October's 2022 Il-Bizzilla Magazine | Read more here
Make no mistake – autumn in Gozo is everything but boring. As the summer heat ebbs away and the Gozitan countryside soaks the first rains, Gozo is reborn. The countryside will dress up a bright carpet of green. The air gets cooler and everyone agrees that it is an ideal time for escapades into the countryside and active adventures that are focused on fun as opposed to surviving the sweltering summer heat. In this sense, autumn in Gozo is blissful and the sea temperature is still warm enough for a dip. Beyond all that, autumn is the stage for many Gozo events.
Autumn has the magnificent echo of the Gozo Opera. For years the Gozo Opera has been an outstanding national event every autumn. The two opera houses Astra theatre and Aurora theatre, located on the same street in the main city of the island of Gozo will each stage an opera. The fiery rivalry between the two opera houses means that opera aficionados are never disappointed by the quality of the productions. This year the season ‘Opera is Gozo’ will be a month-long programme of opera-related events.
On Saturday 15th October, the Aurora theatre will stage Verdi’s triumphant masterpiece, the AIDA. This year’s post-pandemic season has been long awaited after the two-year lull, and this AIDA will be a Zeffirelli-designed production that promises a high-calibre show. At the end of October (Thursday 27th and Saturday 29th), it will be time for Carmen, Goerge Bizet’s fiery opera. The story of the femme fatale gypsy has always worked its magic with the audiences. Whether you’re an enthusiastic opera devotee or a newbie in the world of opera, this production will be rewarding.
The Ewfonija Grand Operatic Concert that will be held on the 8th of October at the Citadel Ditch will be one of the first events in Gozo this autumn. Spanning over two months, Festival Mediterranea, a production by Astra Theatre will present a programme featuring a variety of events.
On the 14th of October, a spectacular evening awaits those who attend the Symphony of Lights in the main square of the hamlet of Santa Luċija. The music by the Saint Gregory Band accompanied by fireworks and light spectacle, amid the candles and torches in the square will evoke a magical atmosphere.
The Basilica of the Nativity of Our Lady in Xagħra will be the stage for the second edition of Michelangelo & Friends Sacred Concert on Friday 21st October. During the same weekend, Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd October, you can also enjoy the Aurora International Folk Festival held at the Citadel in Victoria. Marking the end of October events in Gozo, is another musical evening - From the Beatles to U2 will be held at the Aurora Theatre.
If you are in Gozo on the 9th of October, do not miss out the Fjakkolata on Għar Ilma hill, where hundreds of fire torches will light up the hill. This is a sight to behold from various points on the island, while down in the main square of Santa Luċija, one will be able to indulge in food and music in a traditional setting.
During the weekend of the 14th to 16th of October, families can enjoy Gozo’s great outdoors at San Dimitri Chapel in Għarb where the Kite and Wind Festival will be held.
Gozo marks the end of October with the Mixgħela tal-Qaddisin, an All Saints’ Day celebration with evocative candlelight installations in front of every parish church in Gozo. This is also coinciding with the Sweet Tooth Festival, held on 30th October, when Villa Rundle Gardens in Victoria will be transformed into a beckoning candy land with sweets and dessert stalls.
In terms of art, autumn in Gozo will not disappoint. During October and November, Il-Ħaġar Museum, in the core of the Victoria will hold The Q’eros: Beyond the Clouds, an exclusive photography exhibition by Italian photographer, Alessandro Bergamini, the winner of the ‘Travel Photographer of the Year 2021’. In this exhibition, Bergamini features photos of a trip to the Andes in Peru.
In November, Gozo will host several music events too. On Saturday 19th November, the Aurora Theatre will present A Night with Andrew Lloyd Webber. This gala concert will feature masterpieces by Andrew Lloyd Webber. During the same weekend, the Għaqda Mużikali Viżitazzjoni will hold a festival spread over two evenings and morning /early afternoon. The event, Make Music Great, will be held in Għarb.
By then it will be time for Christmas on the island of Gozo and as the air starts to get chilly, it will be perfect for the opening of Gozo’s calendar of events for the Christmas season. On the 26th of November, Gozo will officially light the street Christmas lights for the yuletide season that lasts until the 6th of January.