News

September 27, 2012

Joseph named 2012 Gramophone “Artist of the Year”

Gramophone Awards logo

Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja has been named the 2012 Gramophone “Artist of the Year.” The announcement was made at the Gramophone Awards at the Dorchester Hotel in London earlier today. The Artist of the Year award is the only Gramophone prize bestowed by public vote, and recent winners include conductor Gustavo Dudamel and mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato. After learning of the win, Joseph told The Times, “The other nominees are all great artists, so I am very honored to have won this. It has been a great month for me personally and I would like to thank everyone who voted for me from the bottom of my heart.”

The award caps off what has been a successful start to Joseph’s 2012-13 season. On September 8, Joseph performed at the world-famous Last Night of the Proms with violinist Nicola Benedetti. In its review of the performance, Reuters said, “Calleja, for one, was in top form and got ovation after ovation for his ventures into repertoires like Puccini’s ‘Nessun Dorma’ and Lara’s ‘Granada’ that once were standards for the late Luciano Pavarotti.” A week later, the release of his fourth solo album on Decca, Be My Love: A Tribute to Mario Lanza, became the first classical album to hit No. 1 on the Danish Pop Chart since the release of The Three Tenors in 1994. Joseph closes the month singing the role of Pinkerton in Puccini’s classic Madama Butterfly with the Vienna State Opera and then celebrates the U.S. release of Be My Love with a concert at New York’s City Winery in collaboration with the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival on October 11.

Joseph's Blog

September 27th, 2014

Malta’s 50th birthday.

Unfortunately work commitments prevented me from being present for the 50th Anniversary of Malta’s independence. By all accounts the show was quite something and Prince William seemed genuinely charmed by my fellow islanders. Kudos to the government and the organizers.

I sometimes wonder how the Maltese people managed to achieve so much in relatively little time. Lets not kid ourselves – we are a very small island and  in the middle of nowhere to boot. As yet we can boast 7,000 years of history, our own unique culture, language and a populace that, throughout the ages, has  repeatedly demonstrated  that it could rise to the occasion and punch above its weight when it really matters.  And how I wish, that it “matters” more often!

I simply hate it when I see some of my fellow countrymen squabble over a few votes and losing all principles whilst rubbishing great ideas just because they come from the other side of the fence. I can’t understand why there is a certain fanatical mindset, on both sides, that thinks only one half of the population is fit to “lead” the nation and should do so indefinitely. Can it please be a battle of ideas rather than “parading” colors in peacock like fashion?  For example - individuals who are simply not fit for purpose, should be treated exactly as such and not given positions of “pseudo importance” because it was “politically convenient” at the time.

The current government won the past elections with an historic majority, the likes of which we have never seen. Such a big win means power and this power surely must be “cashed” into responsibility. This majority has to be used to tackle certain hot issues and implement changes where necessary.

It’s easy to dismiss my words as “uninformed” or “utopian” but the thing is that I have travelled the world, pretty much constantly for the past 17 years. The more I see and soak in different cultures and experiences, the more I realize how much untapped potential Malta still has. Surely the management of our environment, education, infrastructure  and culture is in need of tweaking or a complete overhaul in some cases.

The good news is that I can see it happening already. The bad news is that it might not be happening as fast as it should. I really hope that our dynamic leaders do not mess up things in the end game and may the next 50 years be a time when we Maltese understand what we were, what we are now and what we could turn into if we truly become a united nation. It matters now…