June 9, 2017

Joseph Calleja is “unforgettable” in role debut as Cavaradossi at Grange Park Opera

“It’s in the evening’s star turn – the appearance of international tenor Joseph Calleja as Cavaradossi – that the performance really heats up. On magnificent vocal form, he suggests the painter’s devil-may-care impulsiveness and makes something unforgettable out of his last-act aria.”

George Hall – The Stage

“Calleja’s performance was so confident, so open, so natural that one could only wonder why he hasn’t tackled the role before. The sheer warmth of the voice and the easy swell of his phrasing couldn’t fail to seduce, and there was power to burn in the big dramatic highs. He sang a particularly fine part in the Act III duet “Amaro sol per te m’era morire”, when he tells Tosca that losing her was the only fear that death held for him. This November’s Tosca in Munich,  which Calleja sings with Anja Harteros and Željko Lučić, looks like an enticing prospect.”

David Karlin – Bachtrack

“… he sang here with all the buzzing vibrancy, ease and warmth that are his trademarks – some imaginatively coloured moments in “E lucevan le stelle” were the evening’s brightest vocal spot.”

Rupert Christiansen – Telegraph

“To sing Cavaradossi, GPO has lured perhaps the world’s leading tenor in this repertory, Joseph Calleja. That’s a casting coup on a par with Fitzcarraldo’s Caruso. And the Maltese tenor was on imperious form, wired and explosive in a role he could sing in his sleep. To hear Calleja sing “Recondite armonia” and “E lucevan le stelle” in close-up was an experience not to be missed.”

Mark Valencia – What’s On Stage

“Peter Relton’s production was pretty stolid, too, what’s known in the trade as “park and bark”. That’s fine when a singer barks as beautifully as Joseph Calleja, the Maltese tenor playing Cavaradossi. In this comparatively intimate space he barely needed to turn on the turbo-power.

Instead, in E lucevan le stelle and elsewhere, he crafted some wonderfully honeyed nuances and looked the part of the stroppy painter, too.”

Richard Morrison – The Times

“Each of the singers in Tosca seemed to have a built-in megaphone. It was quite a coup for Grange Park Opera to secure star tenor Joseph Calleja for his first try at Cavaradossi and he responded by heading to the front of the stage and pouring out a stream of glorious tone at full throttle …”

Richard Fairman – Financial Times

“Calleja’s glorious singing makes the whole trip worthwhile …”

Michael Church – The Independent

“Wasfi’s powers of persuasion must also have had a part to play in getting Joseph Calleja to open the season with his first Cavaradossi – quite the coup, of course … producing stentorian tone and plenty of Italianate warmth.”

Melanie Eskenazi – musicOMH

“The 750-seat theatre – modelled on La Scala, Milan, with a horseshoe shape and four tiers – is a near miracle, having been constructed by Wasfi, her architect Anthony Smith and a dedicated team of builders in less than a year.

It has excellent acoustics and provides a fitting setting for Calleja’s honeyed tones as a more than usually interesting Cavaradossi. Calleja’s Cavaradossi is not just an ardent lover, singing his two showpiece arias most beautifully; he also makes use of his rugby prop-forward build to stand up valiantly against the murderous Scarpia and his henchmen.”

David Mellor – Daily Mail

“… here he was able to emphasize the impulsiveness and passion of the painter with dangerous revolutionary sympathies. Cavaradossi clearly suits Calleja vocally, too: in addition to answering the role’s every notated need—such famous moments as “la vita mi costasse, ti salver” in Act I and the cries of “Vittoria!” in Act II were thrillingly delivered—Calleja found more subtle tone colors for his superior rendition of ‘E lucevan le stelle’ in Act III, which was undoubtedly the evening’s highlight.”

George Hall – Opera News

Image: Robert Workman

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?