Valletta’s lost treasure has been put firmly back in the spotlight thanks to 89.7 Bay.
Hundreds of fans on Bay’s social media have joined calls for the Royal Opera House to be restored to its original Victorian glory.
A post on the award-winning Bay Retro Facebook page, showing the majestic building in the 1930s, attracted nearly two thousand likes and hundreds of positive comments.
Maltese heritage campaigner and newspaper columnist Astrid Vella said: ‘To think that it was not completely destroyed, as we have been led to believe.
‘Only one-third was destroyed and it could have been rebuilt, in fact it stood until around 1954 when it was ordered to be dismantled in spite of the protests of the architect in charge.’
Tarcisio Sammut posted on Bay Retro: ‘I’m in my 70s but I still pray that someone will give this lost jewel back to the Maltese nation.’
Anna Agius Muscat wrote: ‘It’s never to late to rebuild it again nothing is impossible. I’m sure all the Maltese will be very happy.’
Susan Vella Bardon posted: ‘Cannot understand why, after the war, Malta did not accept Germany’s offer to re-build it!’
Sarah Maree Zammit added: ‘What a gem! Whoever took the decision not to rebuild is really stupid! Look at it now a complete disaster filled up with speakers and modern seating. This beauty if built again will not only make Valletta one of a kind but attract more tourists.’
YADA Dance Company director Felix Busuttil also called for the theatre to be restored.
He said: ‘I firmly believe that the Royal Opera House should be rebuilt with its former stunning exterior and a modern interior with the latest technology.
‘Every capital city has its cultural gems. Ours was destroyed during the Second World War and was never rebuilt.
‘I personally wish for it to shine bright once again in Valletta, just like a phoenix.’
The history of Valletta’s lost treasure
The Royal Opera House was also known as the Royal Theatre by the Victorians in Valletta.
It was designed by British architect Edward Middleton Barry and opened in 1866.
In 1873, its interior was extensively damaged by fire but was eventually restored by 1877.
The theatre received a direct hit during a Luftwaffe bombing rain in 1942 during the Second World War.
Prior to its destruction, it was one of the most beautiful buildings in Malta.
German prisoners-of-war in Malta reportedly offered to rebuild the theatre in 1946 but nothing was done.
The remaining structures were levelled in the 1950s as a safety precaution, with the interior being used as a car park until 2006.
How beautiful is this?Valletta's long-lost Royal Opera House pictured at night before it was destroyed during the Second World War