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

March 15th, 2015

We are not a nation of bird killers!

Ask anyone to identify the one single thing that gives Malta a bad name abroad and the answer will be hunting. So much misinformation has been spewed in local and foreign press about what goes on, supposedly, in the Maltese islands that there are actually people that believe that in Malta hunters really do kill millions of birds annually. I even received various ridiculous messages on my social media requesting that I lobby with the Maltese government to stop the “traditional eating” of song birds. For the record we don’t eat songbirds and the only game we really eat is quail and turtle dove. Both are eaten on the continent so nothing exotic going on here.

There is of course a degree of illegal hunting in Malta, just like in any other country in the world where hunting takes place. This is deplorable and the perpetrators should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law but to say that we somehow effect worldwide bird population or that millions of bird killings takes place in Malta is not only hyperbole and preposterous but it is a downright lie. Unfortunately it makes for good press and exciting television and Malta’s miniscule geographical proportions makes it an ideal location to monitor and document every single illegality, if one would really want to and some do. Of course the majority of hunters are law abiding citizens and a lot of unfair reputational damage has been done to the Maltese islands internationally by overzealous individuals and organizations who, quite frankly, should know better. Think about it. Where is one most likely to spot and film illegalities? Certainly not in countries with thousands of hectares of available hunting grounds away from it all. No question that Malta is a much easier target for those who want to document hunting whether in its legal or illegal.

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