March 15, 2012

The Maltese Tenor (CD-Review)


“Calleja sings especially well in the French-language selections: in Faust, Hoffmann and Manon he manages the tricky feat of projecting plausible-sounding French without resorting to nasality or any restriction of his beautifully open sound….

But the sheer beauty of Calleja’s voice and the artistry with which it is employed make this disc worthy of a place in any tenor-lover’s collection, and of repeated listening. As I continued to listen, I realized that the empathetic knot in my stomach that accompanies most of my recital listening these days — the one that grew out of my fear (and indeed, expectation) that the chosen repertoire would be beyond the vocal means of the singer — was nowhere to be found. Calleja is more than equal to his foray into the spinto repertoire, without losing the beauty of tone and ease of production that characterized his earlier recordings.”


21 August 2011

“Fast forward nine years and the Maltese tenor has conquered the Met with no sign of a Villazón-style burn-out. The solidity of his technique is evident in this calorific recital: it takes muscle to support such delicate messa di voce. There’s a rare, old-fashioned sweetness of timbre”


19 August 2011

“He acquits himself with a greater and more flexible command of vocal resources than before, along with a developed interpretative maturity that allows
him to shape this material with nuances and inflections largely absent from the performances I have heard from him in the opera house and on disc.”


29 July 2011

“A huge success at the Royal Opera House last year in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, Joseph Calleja understandably includes his standout aria from that production, “Sento avvampar nell’anima”, on this latest collection, along with plenty of Puccini and a series of French heroic roles from Offenbach’s Hoffman, Massenet’s Manon and Bizet’s Pearl Fishers, in all of which he shows no cramping of his natural bel canto style by the French line, finding plenty of room to manoeuvre.

And when he and the soprano Aleksandra Kurzak begin their dalliance, the chemistry is sublime. Elsewhere, the various Puccini arias from Tosca and Manon Lescaut present Calleja at his best: robust and resonant.”

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?