September 21, 2012

Last night of the Proms 2012

Few people would imagine how nervous I was for my performance at the last night of the Proms. Not only I was the first tenor to appear in more than 30 years but one of the very few non Brits who did this .  It also happened to be in the midst of a week full of performances, rehearsals and promo for my new Album, “Be My Love,” tribute to Mario Lanza.

That Saturday started with an early call for rehearsals where I went through all the arias and songs I had to sing in the evening with the orchestra and Mro. Jiri Belohlavek.  Rehearsing on the same day of the performance is usually “verboten” for opera singers as it is a bit like asking a marathon runner to run a marthon before he actually runs the marathon! Still I warmed up my voice a few minutes before going on stage for the rehearsal and I launched, pretty much in full voice, in the first aria from Ballo. Reassured that I was on form I eased and sung the remaining stuff mezza voce.

The evening came and with it the moment I had to go on stage. The first arias were greeted warmly but nothing could prepare me from the ovation that the prommers granted me after “Nessun Dorma.” One had to be there and the applause and foot stamping was so loud that I was almost moved to tears. Almost three minutes of it!

After that it was pretty much a party. Indeed nothing and I do mean nothing, beats the atmosphere at “The Last Night of the Proms.”

Thanks to all my colleagues on that night, the prommers and all of you who watched it!


  1. Sean

    I listened live on the radio, and you rocked the house, JC.

  2. I keep watching your prom performance on You Tube and keep hitting the replay button. Made us all back home in Malta really proud.

  3. Catherine

    You simply excelled yourself at “The Last Night of the Proms”. Bravo! What a performance!!!

  4. I am a resident of Norwalk, CT in the USA. All of my life I have loved good music which essentially includes all Operatic works. I am almost 80 years of age and I do miss the good times of my younger days. Unable to get out and attend any of what I call the good stuff….musically, I tend to search through the hundreds of TV chanels which rarely amounts to anything I am looking for.

    As for my countryman Mr Joseph Calleja I have heard alot about him from friends and family I talk to on the telephone. However, so far I have been unable to get a CD so that I could entertain myself in a classy fashion. My wish is to at least get a couple of CD’s one of which. I am hoping is Joseph Calleja singing Neapolitan songs. I am not all that sure….at my age whether I could have this wish come true before time beats me to it.

    My heartfelt Congratulations go to the most talented and gifted operatic singer I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to in my life.

    I would be happy to receive any information at all about Mr Joseph Calleja. Please, feel free to contact me. I would welcome anyone who cares to email me: [email protected]

    Thanking you in anticipation.
    Joe Farrugia
    55 Midrocks Dr.
    Norwalk, CT 06851

  5. Dave

    You deserved that reception. The prommers work in unison and sure if you had just been OK they would have clapped and maybe cheered a little, but you were so much better than that. You went all out for it on Nessun Dorma, you didn’t play it safe and you nailed it. It’s no wonder you had the crowd in raptures. I’ve watched Last Night for the past 15 years and your the best soloist they have had on so far. Hope you return again one day 😉

  6. JOSEPH, you were MAGNIFICENT on the Proms. I am a Great Great Grandmother and was moved to tears,(I tell you this to let you know you have very aged “groupies” as well as young ones) and if you ever sing in Manchester,England, I will be the first to buy a ticket. What a Godgiven voice you have!

  7. Philip

    I was idly checking out Last Night of the Prom on YouTube, saw Nessun Dorma there and decided to give it a listen. Absolutely brilliant! When Sandra came back from work, the first thing I said to her was, “Hey, you have got to listen to this!!” I discovered Jussi Bjoerling on YouTube and I have the same feeling of gratefulness that I have discovered Joseph Calleja. The difference is I am not too late to catch one or two of your live performances. Looking at the schedule, I would certainly like to hear you belting out Dovunqu’ il Mondo in Vienna, but the one that I will just have to go and see is the Pearl Fishers next year. Can’t wait! Bravo!

  8. Philip

    PS Maybe you could get round one day to singing O Helga Natt, which was one of Bjoerling’s great songs. I can imagine you would do it really well

  9. Alicia

    Dear Joseph
    On the topic of the Proms 2012… I was lucky enough to be a Soprano in the Chorus of Verdi’s Requiem which you did. I can honestly say that after doing Mahler 2, that was one of the best performances I’ve ever sang in. I remember our rehearsal in that terrible theatre in Reading where you sat in front of us and we were truly mesmerised when you started to sing. I am a massive fan and hope that I will have the opportunity and great pleasure and privilege to sing in the background with you one day again. In the mean time I’ll just attend every concert possible. God bless.

  10. John Felice

    I was there you were superb,my next stop is at the Ryal Albert Hall on the 5th of September,waving the Maltese flag,thank you Joseph for your performances.

  11. Phillip Formosa

    To Joseph Calleja
    A few months ago, my father urged me to listen to a opera singer that was from is home country of Malta, my father’s home city being Isla. I listened to Nessun Dorma by Calleja and absolutely fell in love with the build up of the song and how perfectly Calleja accompanied the orchestra. I always had a very superficial interest in opera music, but finding Joseph Calleja’s voice made me fall in love with this type of music. Calleja’s voice is overwhelmingly beautiful and it has altered the way I view and appreciate music.


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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?