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Transformations & Translations

Transformations & Translations is a multi-disciplinary fashion installation directed by Maltese couturier Luke Azzopardi. It is concerned with the ways that history can be revisited, deconstructed and reassembled to create new narratives. 



Project Director & Couturier: Luke Azzopardi [LA Studio]

Composer:  Paul Max Edlin

Choreographer:  Joeline Tabone [Naupaca Dance Factory]

Videographer: James Vernon

Dancer: Claire Galea

Dancer: Edel Cauchi

Performer: Maria Theuma

Prop Designers:  BLOC_Col

Artistic Director: Michelle Castelletti [Three Palaces Festival]

Filmed at:

Museum of Archaeology, Valletta

Dating from the 1570s, built by the Knights of St John, and designed by Maltese preeminent architect Girolamo Cassar, the Auberge de Provence now houses the Museum of Archaeology in Baroque Valletta.  The Gran Salon on the top floor is one of the most exquisite interiors in the city, with its rich, grotesque wall painting and wooden beamed ceiling, as well as a wooden musicians’ balcony.  The intricate design and wall painting was the point of departure and inspiration for tonight’s interdisciplinary performance.

Artistic Director's Notes

I knew I wanted to create an interdisciplinary project that merged haute couture with sound, movement, texture and visuals; and, therefore, I immediately knew it had to be Luke.  Our exciting discussions stemmed from the exquisite, intricate grotesque painting at the Museum of Archaeology.  This became an inspiration and point of departure for further discussion, which evolved around the interpretation of an overarching exploration of transformation, hence thinking on the lines of metamorphoses, ethereal sounds, and deities, juxtaposing material, movement and sound, which brought to mind a composer (Paul) whose soundworld I believe captures all of this.


-Dr Michelle Castelletti, Artistic Director, Three Palaces Festival

Programme Notes

Transformations & Translations is a multi-disciplinary fashion project that draws inspiration from the mythological figure of Artemis, known to the Romans as Diana, goddess of the hunt, as well as the overlap between primitive and early historical references and motifs in nineteenth-century architecture. To this end, Transformations & Translations presents a performance where the craft of couture meets music, poetry and dance. Virtually launched, the hybrid-digital performance speaks about the lifetime of an artwork, and the ways in which history can be revisited and reassembled to create the newer narratives of our contemporary moment.

Based on the source myth of Diana and Actaeon as found in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which tells of the unfortunate fate of a young hunter named Actaeon and his encounter with the chaste Diana, Transformations & Translations is about garments that are designed to stand in for narrators — that borrow from the past to make statements about art and movement in the present.


…and of transformations

for large chamber ensemble


Preah Khan is part of ‘Angkor’ in Cambodia.  I had written a series of large-scale works based on Angkor’s architectural designs in the 1980s and 1990s.  However, it was not until 2017 that I went to Angkor.  I felt a need to return ‘musically’ to the place and to respond to what I had seen.  Preah Khan made an immensely powerful impression, exemplified by the way in which trees and buildings entwine, as if purposefully juxtaposed by a surrealist artist.  I first wrote a (slightly shorter) version of this piece (‘…and the Body of Transformations’) for Magnetic Resonator Piano.  But as I was writing that version, I knew I wanted to create an ‘orchestral’ version.  Preah Khan has a famous stele with inscriptions that tell of the gods it invokes, the context of the temple and its relationship with the God King.  The opening lines translate as The Lord (bhagaván) is divided, for his body is the Body of the Law, the Body of Enjoyment, and the Body of Transformations.  From here evolves the title of this work, which is ultimately all about transformations.  © Paul Max Edlin

Luke Azzopardi

After studying at Central Saint Martins in 2013 creative director and founder Luke Azzopardi moved back to Malta to launch his brand. The Luke Azzopardi studio focuses on the idea of timeless elegance stemming from Luke's academic background in costume history. The creative director was awarded the prestigious 'Premio Cultura e Moda 2016' by L’Istituto Italiano di Cultura, the 'Fashion Designer of the Year 2018' award by LovinMalta, and has most recently been shortlisted for the award of 'Artist of the Year 2018/19' by Arts Council Malta. Luke Azzopardi's methodology of fusing together powerful visuals, academic research and artisanal design is what distinguishes his work as Malta’s foremost fashion artist. This translates into his maison's ethos, which is that of being a self-sustainable atelier that embraces both concept-based fashion and beauty.

Joeline Tabone / Naupaca Dance Factory

Joeline Tabone, through her dance company Naupaca Dance Factory, has sought to explore dance as an interdisciplinary medium to create and share ideas about body movement and artistic expression. Joelie Tabone’s latest choreography-based projects revolve around ideas of revision and adaptation. Her aim is to dismantle, and to consequently reassemble, in a contemporary manner, bodily movement with its intrinsic potentialities through reassignment. She continuously attempts to dissect and to re-examine methods in contemporary dance in hopes of discovering new ways of presenting bodies in motion. Tabone’s work is an attempt at exploring what happens to kinetic and temporal performance art after the theatre lights are turned off and audiences return to their daily lives. Janus-faced, she wishes to look back at past endeavours in dance in order to create new narratives for the future, and to fully understand where we are as a society, in order to figure out the cultural situations open to artistic exploration at this moment in time.

Paul Max Edlin

Paul Max Edlin’s compositions have been performed both nationally and abroad by many leading artists, ensembles and orchestras including London Sinfonietta, Arditti Quartet, Dame Sarah Connolly, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Nicholas Daniel, John Wallace, Psappha, Britten and Southbank Sinfonias. His works have been broadcast on BBC R2, BBC R3, as well as on radio & television abroad. He has a particular interest in opera, and his first opera, The Fisherman, was premiered to wide critical acclaim in a production for the London International Opera Festival. His most recent opera, Frida, was premiered to critical acclaim at 2019 Oxford Festival of the Arts with Katie Bray as Frida.  He was Composer-in-Residence for London Chamber Orchestra 2016/2017.  Paul is currently Director of Music at Queen Mary University of London and Artistic Director of Deal Music & Arts.  He was President of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (2011 to 2012).  Paul Max Edlin studied at the Royal College of Music and University of Sussex.

photo by: Tony Nandi

Maria Theuma

Maria Theuma is a Malta-based writer and researcher. She has written for and performed in various theatres around Malta and her visual work has been exhibited at St James Cavalier in Valletta. Her writing has appeared in The Rumpus and Isles of the Left. Maria has studied English at the University of Malta and Goldsmiths, University of London, with her doctoral thesis focusing on the relation between posthumanist aesthetics and beauty. Her other areas of academic and personal interest are feminism, girlhood studies, and millennial- and Gen-Z-focused content surrounding both pop and digital culture.

Luke Azzopardi Studio

Throughout its past projects, the Luke Azzopardi studio has worked with Heritage Malta, V18, Arts Council Malta, EU2017 (Maltese presidency of the council of the European Union), Naupaca Dance Factory, ZfinMalta, Teatru Malta, Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti, as well as Din l’Art Helwa. In collaboration with these entities, as well other artists in practitioners, the studio has also worked in sensitive, culturally indispensable, historic locations such as Hagar Qim Temples as well as the Gran Salon of the Museum of Archaeology. 

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Disclaimer: All the necessary precautions to safeguard our artists and crew were taken during the filming of this project. 'Transformations & Translations' is produced by Festivals Malta, in collaboration with the Valletta Cultural Agency and Heritage Malta. The Three Palaces Festival is sponsored by Kinnie, Hertz, MAPFRE MSV Life and the Ministry for National Heritage, The Arts and Local Government.

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