January 16, 2014

Joseph is a “splendid Rodolfo” at the Metropolitan Opera

Joseph Calleja’s return to the Metropolitan Opera on Tuesday night earned him applause from audiences and critics alike. The Maltese Tenor’s performance as Rodolfo in La Bohème was deemed “splendid” by The New York Times.

“Mr. Calleja seemed in his element, singing with melting richness and youthful energy,” the Times added. “And you like this decent, jovial and self-doubting character, as played by Mr. Calleja, especially when he is so awkwardly, immediately and charmingly smitten by Mimi after she knocks at his garret door in Act I.”

“Mr. Calleja’s heady voice, with its flickering vibrato, is pure poetry—just right for the aspiring poet Rodolfo,” wrote The New York Observer. “So effortless is his vocalism that it’s easy to overlook the sophistication of his singing. Seamless legato phrases dance with his virtuoso use of rubato, miniscule shifts of tempo that add a dash of individuality to Puccini’s luscious melodies.  Even when he sings as familiar a piece as ‘Che gelida manina,’ you stop and take notice, because suddenly the piece sounds new, impulsive and uncontrived.”

“His ‘Che gelida manina’ was exemplary, displaying ringing caramel tone infused with ardent intensity,” added the New York Classical Review. “His best work, though, came in the third act, when confronted by Marcello (Alexey Markov) for his jealous treatment of Mimì. When he finally came clean with his concerns about her health, he sang with passionate grief, clearly torn between his desire to stay with her and his desire to see her pursue a better life. The confrontation between the two men… was one of the evening’s highlights.”

Joseph can be heard as Rodolfo at the Metropolitan Opera through January 30.

(Photo: Cory Weaver)

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?