Malta’s history is quite known to some, but its cultural history appears somewhat hidden in St. John’s Knights’ Chronicles. Beside state rule, the Order of Knights Hospitalier (The Knights of Malta) functions as an art legislator too. Their important contribution is the emergence of young opera in Malta, beginning in the 17th century. Since then, opera at the archipelago undergoes an era of heyday and fall, sometimes nearly complete fall; but at the last forty years, not without Bulgarian participation, it is flourishing again.
Bulgarian-Maltese relations began in 1975, when Boris Hristov performed in Malta. Concert and teaching activities took place in 1980-1990, further enriching the two countries’ cooperation. After 1999, a large number of opera singers and troupes visited Malta, leaving a bright mark at this country’s cultural life. Among them are Raina Kabaivanska, Gena Dimitrova, Stoian Popov, Nikola Vassilev, Blagovesta Karnobatlova-Dobreva, Niko Issakov, Emilia Boteva, Kaludi Kaludov, Plamen Kartalov, Borislav Ivanov. Cultural ties remain active today, in both education and performance.