Azzopardi, Evaristo (2.7.1911-5.7.2001)
Born in Valletta, Azzopardi was taught music by his father, Edward, a well-known violinist who played at the opera house in Valletta. At the age of 14, Azzopardi started his music career by playing the violin at the cinemas during the silent film era. In 1927 he joined the orchestra at the Royal Opera House with whom he played until the beginning of World War II.
During the war, Azzopardi composed the music for two hymns, Ave Maria and II-Qalb ta Gesu, to lyrics by Ruzar Briffa. He then joined the British Institute Orchestra where he played the violin solo in the Concerto in E major by Bach, conducted by Paolo Nani. Azzopardi played the last opera season at the Knights Hall, where he was privileged to work with such famous artists as the baritone Tito Gobbi.
In 1952 Azzopardi emigrated to Australia and played in more than 40 operas. He worked hard to establish himself as a musician and started teaching guitar, piano accordion, as being a virtuoso on the violin and soon became known in the Australian musical scene as music conductor, teacher, and arranger.
Azzopardi's many compositions include two Oratorios on the Resurrection and the Birth of Christ to lyrics by Manwel Nicholas-Borg. He also composed music for two masses in Italian and six in Maltese. His two most popular songs, 'Angel of Love' and 'Kiss me once and kiss me twice', have been played on Australian television. His latest composition consists of using musical sequences on the computer by micro logic software.
In September 1991 Azzopardi was awarded the Manoel De Vilhena Cultural Award for his contribution to the propagation of Maltese arts and culture in Australia. In his eighties, Azzopardi is still working on Maltese tarantellas and concertinas for the violin. Azzopardi is married to Stella Bruno.
He died on 5/7/2001. From the Obituary in The Age, it can be noted that his wife died in 1993 and that at the time of his death he was survived by 3 children, 10 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.
Source: Maltese Biographies of the Twentieth Century (1997), editors Michael J. Schiavone and Louis J. Scerri