The Archconfraternity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Valletta, is celebrating the 400th Anniversary of its foundation this year, having been founded in 1622. Over the recent years, the Archconfraternity has committed itself to restoring its Oratory, as well as a number of artifacts which it possesses. These included the magnificent Statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the Oratory, now attributed to Pietro Paolo Troisi, the statue of the ‘ Nazzarenu’ by Karlu Darmanin, and the painting of the Immaculate Conception by Giuseppe D’Arena, among others.
Much remains to be done. The work on restoring the Oratory has had to temporarily come to a halt because of persistent dampness of one of the walls of the Oratory. Until a solution is found, this has made progress with the restoration impossible, apart from imposing extra, unplanned for, expenses on the Archconfraternity.
Furthermore, work needs to start on the restoration of the altarpiece painting in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of the Basilica. Known as ‘The Crucifix with Saint Andrew Corsini and Saint Agnes’, this painting is also the responsibility of the Archconfraternity. . It has been traditionally attributed to Guido Reni, but further study is necessary to establish its real authorship. Apart from this painting, which is in a poor state of repair, there are also a whole series of paintings of the Passion of Our Lord , which are of great historical interest, but urgently need restoration.
The rector of the Archconfraternity, Dr Mark Agius, said: “We are very willing to accept the commitment of carrying out all this work, however our Archconfraternity does not possess the funds or any regular income to do so. Therefore it is necessary to carry out much fundraising activity to do so. We hope that, once all the work has been done, this historic Oratory and its artworks will be enjoyed by Maltese and tourists alike in the best possible conditions.”
For this purpose, the Archconfraternity is organising a unique concert of sacred music by harpists Jacob Portelli and Laetitiae Mariae Troisi and soprano Michaela Agius. Called ‘Two Harps One Voice’, it will be held at 8 pm in the Basilica Of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Valletta on Monday July 11.
“We invite Maltese and foreigners in Malta to come and enjoy beautiful renditions of such classics as The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba (Handel), O for the wings (Mendelson), Laudate Dominum (Mozart), Zadok the Priest (Handel), among others. It will be a pleasant way of spending an evening in Valletta. Entrance is free but we encourage a donation to the restoration projectsin this Oratory,” said Dr Agius.