September 11, 2008

Rigoletto | Hamburg State Opera, September 2008


“So far, the revivals of “Rigoletto” and “Macbeth” have been outstanding. The fans were eagerly awaiting the State Opera début of Joseph Calleja, one of the most frequently mentioned names in the tenor generation after Domingo and Pavarotti, a singer who ranks among Anna Netrebko’s most preferred partners. As Duke of Mantua, the Maltese artist was able to pull out all the stops of his velvety lyrical voice. He sings Verdi’s shameless roué with youthful, masculine charm and a beguiling bel canto glow.By Calleja’s side, Eglise Gutierrez made her acclaimed Hamburg début. The young Cuban soprano with her ethereally sensitive, yet substantial soprano voice, delivered a thrilling performance as a stylistically flawless Gilda with a shimmering pianissimo. Beyond this, the soprano and tenor blended with magnificent harmoniousness in the duets.

Spot-on operatic casting doesn’t just happen by going shopping for expensive singers from Mafioso agencies. It comes about successfully as a result of good taste and skill on the part of the artistic management, bringing very good and concurrently perfectly matched voices together in a sensitive combination.”

All translations from German to English: Donald Arthur

Joseph's Blog

May 16th, 2016

Quo Vadis Eurovision and other stories

Malta did not win the Eurovision but lo and behold the sun still rose and the island (the center of the known universe) still spun…

My two cents is that Ira Losco gave a really good performance and that the whole presentation was excellent. She shouldn’t have performed cause she is pregnant? Come off it – I have performed repeatedly with pregnant opera singers well into their 7th and 8th month of pregnancy and trust me when I say that rehearsing and performing for a full opera production is much more physically demanding than a couple of days at the Eurovision. Of course there are those who know much better than the undersigned and who went on to say that the presentation was a tad “camp”…oh the irony when one considers that the Eurovision is the campest of them all.

Meanwhile, this wouldn’t be Malta and the Eurovision wouldn’t be the Eurovision unless its politicized to the exhaustible hilt. The inevitable “mud slinging competition,” which we will see a lot of in the coming 22 months, ensued and even yours truly (inexplicably) ended up in the midst of the fray, in yet another “supernova” in a tea cup. The Eurovision suddenly became an interchangeable bullet to be used ad nauseam by both sides much like bitter parents who use their innocent children during disputes.  I have always found sycophants interesting, even amusing but they will not be getting the much desired Streisand effect from me, thank you very much. It is part of human nature after all to conjure conspiracies and we are not going to let the simple truth get in the way of some exciting and convenient fiction.

Speaking of “conjuring” is it me or is a company advertising real estate using a chap “connected” with the tragic and unnecessary death of an underage girl? It must be a clone or a”doppleganger”, otherwise this would be the epitome of bad taste and a 100 shades of wrong. Don’t get me wrong I am all for “second chances” and all of that but shouldn’t there be due process first? After all Lisa Marie didn’t get a second chance did she?