2019.02.27 In Mourning News Item Banner

It’s being dubbed as the end of an era for our beloved Teatru tal-Opra Aurora. In a matter of three days we lost the first opera soprano to perform at the Aurora, Mrs Flavia Tabili and the President who saw to the acquisition, design, construction and inauguration of the Aurora Opera House, apart from the production of the first ever opera in Gozo and a hundred-and-one other things on stage, Mr John Cremona.

Posted: 27th February 2019

In Mourning: The End of an Era

Demise of 2 distinguished stalwarts in 3 days.


2019.02.27 In Mourning News Item Image 1Flavia Tabili, the first soprano singing opera in Gozo, at the Aurora
Teatru tal-Opra Aurora would like to salute and pay tribute to Mrs Flavia Tabili, first soprano in opera in Gozo at the Aurora, and mother of long-time collaborator and friend Novella Tabili, who passed away on Sunday 24 February 2019. La Signora Flavia, as we affectionately knew her, sang Madama Butterfly 1977 and a few other subsequent titles at the Aurora but, until her health allowed, she remained a constant presence with her beloved husband, and point of reference. Since 1986, her daughter Novella started taking over with costume designs and eventually production design and direction. Flavia used to accompany Novella. Together with the late Maestro Carlo Ventura, she was for a good number of years a Godmother of sorts for the Aurora. Her love for the Aurora was by deliberate choice of hers. She watched and helped the Aurora grow up and grow strong and for this we are indebted to her and her family.

Indeed, it was very fitting that tributes poured from young and old alike as soon as the news of her demise was announced. The Aurora Opera House would like to convey heartfelt condolences to Novella and her husband Giuseppe, Germana, relatives and friends. We join them in mourning and in celebrating the extraordinary life of a great woman.

2019.02.27 In Mourning News Item Image 2

Cremona’s demise really and truly marks the end of era. It was, indeed, an inspirational era that sowed the seed of the big tree from where we are still reaping fruits.

John Cremona, Honorary President
In just three days, then, on Wednesday 27 February 2019 evening, the Aurora Opera House and Leone Philharmonic Society received the sad news of the demise of our Honorary President Mr John Cremona, affectionately known by one and all as Ġanninu. As a President (following a stint as Treasurer), Mr Cremona was at the helm of the whole Leone Philharmonic Society with the band, the various subcommittees and all. But the theatre was one area which was particularly close to heart.

Cremona served as President when the premises that nowadays host the Aurora Opera House were purchased, when the designs were made, when the opera house was built and inaugurated and when the first opera was produced. So just like Flavia Tabili, Cremona is also a 1977 stalwart that singles himself out in the most distinguished of manners.

A teacher by profession and a poet and dramaturge by inspiration, Mr Cremona published a number of poetry collections, radio plays and other plays for the theatre. He also translated the operetta Mikado, which was performed in 1978 at the Aurora Opera House. Being a staunch beholder of Catholic values, Cremona was active in the Catholic Action group and the Gozo Cathedral Parish, which is intrinsically related to the Leone Philharmonic Society. For the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, which the Leone Band is exclusively responsible of, Cremona composed lyrics for the two most renowned hymns.

At the venerable age of 92 years, Ġanninu remained until his last days a Gozitan patriot, a rational activist and supporter of the Leone Philharmonic Society, a distinguished and honourable citizen of the Victoria, the town where he was born and bred and a father figure whose presence was cherished by one and all. 

Cremona’s demise really and truly marks the end of era. It was, indeed, an inspirational era that sowed the seed of the big tree from where we are still reaping fruits. He leaves to mourn his beloved wife Georgia, nephews, nieces and cousins. We join them too in mourning and in celebrating the exemplary life of a great stalwart.

May they rest in peace.