News

February 12, 2017

Joseph Calleja is “superb” as Don José in ‘Carmen’ at Lyric Opera of Chicago

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“There is some fine singing, most notably that of Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja as Don Jose, the callow young corporal whose obsession with the Gypsy seductress Carmen spells his doom … and Italian lyric soprano Eleonora Buratto as Micaela, his village sweetheart, who tries to rescue him from Carmen’s clutches. Both proved to be the real deal heading the cast fielded by Lyric Opera on Saturday night, under the spirited and sympathetic baton of Harry Bicket …

If ever there was an opera role made to order for Calleja’s superb tenor, it’s Don Jose. The part may be a relatively recent addition to his repertory, but vocally and dramatically he gripped one’s attention as the young man’s passion for Carmen became more and more desperate, his jealousy more heated the more she rebuffed him. The clarion heft of his sound was tempered by an elegant legato, sensitive phrasing and feel for the drama. His shift to head voice and lovely diminuendo at the close of the Flower Song were well managed, earning him a warm ovation.”

John von Rhein – Chicago Tribune

“And as her Don Jose, the Malta-born tenor Joseph Calleja uses his rich, warm voice and Brando-like looks to effortlessly suggest his character’s emotional weakness and constant ambivalence.”

Hedy Weiss – Chicago Sun-Times

“As Don José, Calleja showed an effortless, velvety tenor, dominating the stage but never at the expense of tone or pitch. His duet with Eleonora Buratto as Micaëla (‘Parle-moi de ma mère’) was exemplary for its reliable execution.”

James L. Zychowicz – Seen and Heard International

“Calleja brings not only his stunning tenor voice to the part of Don José, but he also brings a startling acting performance. His portrayal of Don José enables the audience to observe how this character transforms from a naïve, smitten soldier into a jealousy-ridden, possessive brute.

He is obsessed with Carmen and determined to ensure that if she will not belong to him, then she will belong to no one. This possessiveness is what kills Carmen when José stabs her in a jealous rage. The curtain falls as he weeps over her lifeless body.”

Emma Sulski – Loyola Phoenix

Image: Abel Uribe / Chicago Tribune

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?