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

July 11th, 2014

10 tips to overcome vocal fatigue

The end of my operatic season is night and pretty much invariably, year after year, its when I feel most tired and in dire need of my annual summer break. Singing the last few performances culminating with my Malta yearly summer concert can be a challenge – especially when I have to tackle a total of around 19 arias/songs!
Thankfully there is stuff that works for a tired physique and voice. Here is what works for me -

1. Move! Working out, swimming and even a long brisk walk will do wonders for your circulatory system. Don’t do this on the day of the performance but definitely in between.

2. Silence. If you are singing a lot than it is imperative that you keep mum during other hours and only talk if its absolutely necessary. Limit phone conversations too as much as possible.

3. Diet – 3 main meals a day are a must. Avoid foods high in lactose and sugar and go instead for protein, veg and loads of fresh fruit. Keeping your blood sugar relatively constant is important and regular, healthy meals will lessen the likelihood of acid reflux. Its also important not to eat late in the evening. I try to avoid eating after 6pm whenever possible.

4. Steam inhalations – Get a big pot or steam inhalator, throw in some bicarbonate of soda and sea salt and just inhale the healing/relieving vapours! This is really beneficial to basically all your upper respiratory tract and will dislodge mucus and other impurities from your throat.

5. Nasal irrigation – Not the nicest “procedure” but it does remove all kinds of “junk” from your nose. Make sure you always rinse with saline water and there are prepared sachets you can get from virtually any pharmacy.

6. Sleep – Its boring but a good 8 hour sleep is unbeatable to get the voice back in shape. Acid reflux sufferers will also find relief by tilting their head upwards by using two pillows to avoid nasty acid creeping up their throat during their slumber.

7. Stress – or the lack of it. Absolutely avoid stressful situations which may include noisy places/bars. Your throat tenses up automatically even if you don’t speak apart from the fact that you can “tire” your ears out. There have been some studies that our “ears” tire out too so the avoidance of high decibel places is a must!

8. Vibrator – Yep that one. Apparently tests have shown that massaging your throat with a vibrator is beneficial to the surrounding neck muscles. Apparently there are some therapists that employ such “devices” already…

9. Humidity – A constant dry environment can spell disaster for your voice and general well being. If you are in a cold climate and the heating is at full blast, chances are that the relative humidity is low. Invest in a humidifier and let them rip! We all have slightly different comfort levels. For me what works best is around 55 to 65% – just like a good cigar!

10. Arguments – Whether of a business or personal nature do walk away from these when you are singing. Even if talking is not involved the mere thought or presence of something negative will automatically tense your neck muscles and raise the incidence of acid reflux!

 

If everything of the above fails than you need a vacation! Choose a high humid climate with beautiful, clear seas at hand. Swimming in the ocean/sea is truly beneficial for the voice as long as one avoids the worse hours of the sun.