November 6, 2015

Joseph Calleja triumphs in role debut at Bayerische Staatsoper


Joseph Calleja’s first performances as Boito’s Faust in Mefistofele have earned the Maltese tenor acclaim from audiences and critics:

“Dafür singt Calleja, wie man es sich hinreißender nicht vorstellen kann. Wenn er den Mund aufmacht, scheint es, als ob auf der Bühne das Licht angeknipst wird. … enormer stimmlicher Präsenz, wachsweichen Phrasen, musterhaft entwickelten Höhen, mit einer einsam leuchtenden vokalen Qualität.” (Merkur)

“Toll ist auch Joseph Callejas Faust, alles klingt fein und dynamisch.” (Deutschlandradio Kultur)

“Für das Himmlische an diesem Abend ist Faust zuständig – mit der Stimme von Joseph Calleja: Leichtigkeit, Eleganz und Leuchtkraft, Sicherheit und endlose Bögen – Joseph Callejas Tenor hat alles. Er liebt und leidet. Calleja spielt kaum, aber das schadet nicht an diesem vor Aktionismus überschäumenden Abend.” (Bayerische Rundfunk)

Mefistofele continues at the Bayerische Staatsoper through November 15, with the final performance webcast via the Staatsoper’s website.

Joseph also earned acclaim for his recent concert at Frankfurt’s Alte Oper on November 3, which ushered in the 2015 European Central Bank’s Kulturtage, which was this year dedicated to Malta.

“Weich bis in die Spitzen sind seine hohen Töne, gut gemacht sein Einsatz der Kopfstimme, und nachgerade großartig seine Ausgestaltung des „O figli, o figli miei!“ aus Giuseppe Verdis „Macbeth“ – der Oper übrigens, mit der er als 19-Jähriger auf der Opernbühne debütiert hatte. Ohne jeden Druck in der Stimme, offenbar mit riesigen Reserven. Nicht einmal bei der obligatorischen „O sole mio“-Zugabe mit ihren üblichen „wer kann länger“-Spielchen schwillt ihm die Halsschlagader. Gesünder kann man das nicht singen.” (Frankfurter Rundschau)

(Photo: Wilfried Hösl)

October 30, 2015

Macbeth, starring Joseph Calleja, now available via Deutsche Grammophon


The Metropolitan Opera’s 2014 production of Macbeth, starring Joseph Calleja in the heroic role of Macduff, is now available worldwide on DVD and Blu-ray. The revival of Adrian Noble’s gritty take on Verdi’s opera opened the Met Live in HD season and earned Joseph acclaim in his “luxuriously cast” role (Financial Times).

In the Scottish opera, the Maltese tenor stars opposite Zeljko Lucic in the title role, Anna Netrebko as Lady Macbeth, and René Pape as Banquo. Fabio Luisi conducts.

Click here to order Macbeth.

(Photo: Marty Sohl/The Metropolitan Opera)


October 28, 2015

Joseph featured in Wine Spectator magazine


The October 31 issue of Wine Spectator profiles Joseph Calleja’s extensive wine cellar. Likening oenophiles to operaphiles, the magazine notes “As Calleja has grown into a more seasoned Bordeaux connoisseur, he’s discovered more and more parallels between the development of a fine wine and that of a distinctive voice. Both winemakers and opera singers need raw material of exceptional quality and distinction. For winemakers, it is a vineyard’s terroir; for singers, it is a voice’s timbre. Both vocations involve long periods of development to reach excellence. Both reward consistency.”

Joseph adds in the interview, “No great career has come out of one performance, and no great house has earned its reputation from one vintage.”

Read more on Joseph’s 4,100-bottle collection (including a 1942 Château Lafite Rothschild) here.

October 3, 2015

Macbeth, starring Joseph Calleja, available on DVD and Blu-ray from Deutsche Grammophon this month


On October 30, Deutsche Grammophon releases the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD transmission of Macbeth, starring Joseph Calleja as Macduff, on DVD and Blu-ray. The Maltese tenor was hailed as “luxuriously cast” as the hero in Verdi’s Shakespearean drama by the Financial Times, which added: “The timbre of Joseph Calleja’s plangent tenor is highly distinctive yet underscores the depths of Macduff’s despair in lamenting the loss of wife and children to Macbeth’s despotic reign.” Additionally, the New York Times dubbed Joseph in “ardent, excellent voice.”

In an all-star cast, Joseph stars opposite Zeljko Lucic in the title role, Anna Netrebko as Lady Macbeth, and René Pape (his current Mefistofele costar in Munich) as Banquo. Fabio Luisi conducts.

Click here to preorder Macbeth.

October 1, 2015

Role debut as Boito’s Faust in new Mefistofele at Bayerische Staatsoper


This month, Joseph Calleja makes his role debut as Boito’s Faust in a new production of Mefistofele for the Bayerische Staatsoper. No stranger to the Goethe-based tale of a man who makes a deal with the devil thanks to his account of Gounod’s Faust, the Maltese tenor now turns to Boito’s work, staged by Roland Schwab and conducted by Omer Meir Wellber.

Joseph stars opposite Kristine Opolais as Margherita and René Pape in the title role. Andrea Borghini sings the role of Wagner.

Mefistofele opens October 24 and continues in Munich through November 15, with November 15’s performance scheduled for webcast on Staatsoper.TV. Joseph returns to the role in 2016 for two further encore performances July 21 and 24.

September 17, 2015

Returning to Bayerische Staatsoper, Joseph Calleja stars in Madama Butterfly and Mefistofele


This week, Joseph Calleja returns to his acclaimed role of B.F. Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly in three performances at the Bayerische Staatsoper (September 19, 22, and 27). The Maltese tenor stars opposite soprano Hui He in the title role, with Okka von Damerau singing Suzuki and Levente Molnár as Sharpless. Keri-Lynn Wilson conducts the performances of Wolf Busse’s production.

Joseph is also heard in Munich this fall in a new production of Mefistofele. Making his role debut as Boito’s Faust, he opens the production opposite René Pape in the title role in October.

September 2, 2015

2015-16: Role debuts in Boito and Bizet, plus returns to New York, Germany, Chicago, and beyond


Joseph Calleja’s 2015-16 season is highlighted by new productions in Munich and Frankfurt, alongside returns to Berlin, New York, and Chicago. The Maltese tenor begins his calendar of performances at the Bayerische Staatsoper where, following three encore performances as Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (September 19-27), he opens a new production of Boito’s Mefistofele, singing his first Faust opposite René Pape in the title role (October 24-November 15).

Germany is also the setting for a trio of performances as Rodolfo in La Bohème at the Staatsoper im Schiller Theater in the new year (January 8-19). An additional German engagement comes in the form of a new production of Bizet’s Carmen (June 5-July 3) in Frankfurt. This also marks his debut in the role of Don José.

In the United States, Joseph graces the stages of the Metropolitan Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago, beginning with Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette in the Windy City (February 22-March 8). At the Met, Joseph reprises his acclaimed account of Gabriele Adorno in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, alongside Plácido Domingo as the eponymous doge (April 1-16).

Joseph is also active on the concert stage in the coming months, with performances in Moscow, London, Düsseldorf, Orange, and beyond.

Click here for Joseph’s full schedule.

August 27, 2015

Keep in touch with Joseph Calleja


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August 7, 2015

Pavarotti tribute concerts in Copenhagen and Aarhus


On August 9 and 10, Joseph Calleja gives his final two concerts of the season with two Pavarotti tributes in Denmark in what would have been the year of the operatic legend’s 80th birthday. The Maltese tenor begins on August 9 at the DR Koncerthuset in Copenhagen where he performs some of the late Italian tenor’s most famous arias. He reprises the program at Aarhus’s Musikhuset the following day.

Inspired by the singer early on in his career, Joseph himself has earned numerous comparisons to Pavarotti. “Only one lyric tenor on the scene today has the honeyed tone and ingratiating style to make comparisons to Pavarotti and Gigli seem serious, and it is Calleja,” wrote Russell Platt in The New Yorker. The Times added of the title “the new Pavarotti” that “This title gets lobbed hopefully at plenty of new lyric tenors but there is reason to believe in Calleja.”

August 6, 2015

BOV Joseph Calleja Foundation launches “Growing Through Arts” children’s program


Following a “stupendous” Monday evening concert in Malta (Malta Today), Joseph Calleja continued work in Malta this week with his synonymous BOV Joseph Calleja Foundation. Accompanying Foundation chairman Roderick Chalmers, the Maltese tenor attended the inauguration of an art exhibition, “Art Through the Eyes & Soul of the Child,” at St, Patrick’s Salesian School. Curator and artist Daniela Guevska coached the young artists who participated in the program, which was designed around their individual needs and introduced them to various techniques and media over ten weeks.

The event marked the launch of the BOV Joseph Calleja Foundation’s “Growing Through Arts” children’s program.

Young members of the BOV Joseph Calleja Children’s Choir were also showcased in Malta this week as part of Joseph’s annual summer concert, held this year at Luxol Grounds in Pembroke and also featuring pop sensation Anastacia and Maltese band Red Electrick. Click here to view excerpts of the concert.

Launched in 2013, the aim of the BOV Joseph Calleja Foundation is to support talented young performing artists in realizing their full potential as well as providing assistance to underprivileged children whose situations are not catered for by existing social support programs.

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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?