‘Small Island, Great Riches’ tells the moving story of the life of Paul Asciak. Born in Valletta, Malta, he determined to become an opera singer achieving his ambition against many odds and developing a successful career in Italy and the UK. When he was only 30 he gave it all up to return to his family in Malta and begin a new life. Over thirty years later he discovered the outstanding vocal talen of Joseph Calleja and became his only teacher, training him in the tradition of fine singing in which he himself had been nurtured.
Paul Asciak’s story is told agfainst the background of the many changes in Maltese life over the last eighty years. It is an inspiring story of energy, dedication, generosity and achievement won despite some private sadnesses. It throws light on Maltese identity and culture, the history of opera in Malta and, for the first time, describes in detail the way in which Calleja’s unique sound and style were fostered by Asciak.