April 15, 2016

Shakespeare 400 Gala Concert in Stratford-on-Avon

Next week, Joseph Calleja returns to the United Kingdom for a special gala concert in the historic Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Performing at the church where Shakespeare was baptized and buried, the Maltese tenor along with soprano Angel Blue celebrate the Bard’s operatic legacy in the 400th anniversary year of his death. Roger Vignoles accompanies on piano.

The concert is sold-out, but more information — including the program listing — can be found here.

April 6, 2016

2016-17 Season: Joseph Calleja makes role debut in new production of Norma at Royal Opera House

As was announced by the company today, the Royal Opera House will welcome back Joseph Calleja as part of their 2016-17 programming. The Maltese tenor will open the season in a new production of Norma, which will also mark his role debut as the heroic Pollione. Joseph stars opposite Anna Netrebko, also making her debut in the title role, with Sonia Ganassi as Adalgisa.

Bellini’s bel canto drama of love and country is to be directed by Àlex Ollé and conducted by ROH Music Director Antonio Pappano. Click here for more information.

Click here for Joseph’s full schedule and continue to check back for updates as more 2016-17 season details are announced.

April 4, 2016

Joseph Calleja shines in a “premier team of Verdians” at the Metropolitan Opera

Following April 1’s premiere of Simon Boccanegra at the Metropolitan Opera, Joseph Calleja — counted among “a premier team of Verdians” by the New Yorker — has earned further acclaim for his account of Gabriele Adorno.

The New York Times praised the Maltese tenor as “one of the most abundantly gifted tenors of the current generation. His voice has melting warmth and carrying power.”

Likewise, Bachtrack cited Joseph as “a standout… His voice is truly unique, going back to the old Italian singing tradition. His voice had the usual unmistakable, diffused timbre, yet a floating ease that was breathtakingly beautiful. In ensembles, he repeatedly hit high notes effortlessly, his voice riding above the orchestra. His phrasing was impeccable, with genuine legato.”

“His warm, slightly grainy tenor was an effectively disparate contrast with [Plácido] Domingo [as Simon Boccanegra],” noted the New York Classical Review. “His singing was marvelous throughout, with ease and elegance even in the murderous expression of ‘Sento avvampar nell’anima.’”

Simon Boccanegra continues at the Metropolitan Opera through April 16, with the next performance taking place tomorrow, April 5. Fans around the world can tune into the Met’s Saturday Matinee Broadcast of Simon Boccanegra on April 9.

Click here to watch Joseph in a selection from “Propizio ei giunge” with Ferruccio Furlanetto.

Click here to watch Joseph in a selection from “Vieni a mirar la cerula marina tremolante” with Lianna Haroutounian.

(Photo: Ken Howard/The Metropolitan Opera)

April 1, 2016

Joseph Calleja honored with Opera News Award April 10

In between performances of Simon Boccanegra (opening tonight at the Metropolitan Opera), Joseph Calleja will be honored with a 2016 Opera News Award on April 10. The Maltese tenor will receive the prize for excellence in the genre in a black-tie gala at the Plaza Hotel alongside fellow inductees Anna Netrebko, Elīna Garanča, Waltraud Meier, and José van Dam.

In this month’s issue of Opera News, Louise T. Guinther writes: “Auditory ecstasy is a rare commodity. Those moments in the theater when a vocal performance suspends us in time are the glimpses of the divine that keep us coming back. Joseph Calleja is profligate with such moments, regularly rousing his fans to euphoria.”

Click here to read Joseph’s full tribute.

March 17, 2016

April 1 – 16: Simon Boccanegra at the Metropolitan Opera

Following a run of Roméo et Juliette at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Joseph Calleja next returns to the Metropolitan Opera stage for Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra in the heroic role of Gabriele Adorno.

Among a cast of noted Verdians led by Music Director James Levine, Joseph stars opposite Plácido Domingo in the title role, Ferruccio Furlanetto as Jacopo Fiesco, and Lianna Haroutounian as Amelia Grimaldi in the composer’s compelling political drama in a revival of Giancarlo del Monaco’s lush production.

Performances take place April 1, 5, 9, 13, and 16 with a live audio stream of the premiere on April 1 via A further airing on April 9 will be presented on terrestrial and digital radio as part of the Met’s Saturday matinee broadcasts which can be heard on the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network.

An acclaimed interpreter of Gabriele, Joseph has been praised by The Guardian for “fully vindicating the integrity and complexity of a role that some tenors have regarded as being insufficiently starry and have refused to sing.” Opera Britannia added that the part is “probably Joseph Calleja’s best Verdi role.”

Joseph can be seen and heard opposite Domingo in the Royal Opera House’s 2010 production of Simon Boccanegra, available on DVD, and also appears on the 2013 audio recording of the work with Thomas Hampson in the title role.

March 14, 2016

2016-17 Season Announcement: Joseph Calleja revives Mefistofele in Munich

Following a critically acclaimed role debut as Boito’s Faust, Joseph Calleja will return to the Bayerische Staatsoper for a revival of the composer’s Mefistofele in November.

Presented as part of the company’s recently announced 2016-17 season, the three performances on November 4, 7, and 10 will see the Maltese tenor opposite Erwin Schrott in the title role with Ausrine Stundyte as Margherita, Karine Babajanyan as Elena, and Andrea Borghini as Wagner. Paolo Carignani conducts Roland Schwab’s production.

Joseph is also heard as Faust for two additional presentations of Mefistofele in the Staatsoper’s current season when it is seen this summer on July 21 and 24, featuring René Pape in the title role.

March 10, 2016

Spring highlights in New York, Stratford-upon-Avon, and Frankfurt

Following an acclaimed return to Lyric Opera of Chicago, Joseph Calleja heads to New York for a revival of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra at the Metropolitan Opera. Reprising the role of Gabriele Adorno, the Maltese tenor stars opposite the legendary Plácido Domingo in the title role in performances heard on April 1, 5, 9, 13, and 16.

While in New York, Joseph is also honored as one of five 2016 Opera News Awards laureates in an April 10th black-tie gala celebration. Fellow award recipients include Anna Netrebko, Elīna Garanča, Waltraud Meier, and José van Dam.

A few days after his time in New York, Joseph joins soprano Angel Blue and pianist Roger Vignoles for a special concert at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon celebrating the 400th birth-anniversary of Shakespeare. Joseph and Angel offer an evening of arias and duets from works inspired by Shakespeare’s canon on April 16.

In June, Joseph makes his second role debut of his 2016-17 season when he stars as Don José in Carmen at Frankfurt Opera. In a production by Barrie Kosky, Joseph stars opposite Paula Murrihy in the title role of Bizet’s ill-fated romance from June 5 to July 3.

Click here for Joseph’s full schedule.

March 7, 2016

Joseph Calleja awarded Honorary Membership of Royal Academy of Music

Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja has been named one of the 2016 inductees into the Royal Academy of Music’s Honorary Members. A regular presence on London’s opera and concert stages, Joseph joins a roster that includes Bryn Terfel, Joan Sutherland, Paul McCartney, Nicolai Gedda, Joyce DiDonato, and Plácido Domingo.

The elite membership is limited to 300 members with the award to be presented by the Duchess of Gloucester in July.

February 29, 2016

“Robust passion” with a “megawatt tenor” in Roméo et Juliette at Lyric Opera of Chicago

Joseph Calleja’s Romeo in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s new Roméo et Juliette has earned the Maltese tenor acclaim for a “megawatt tenor,” “robust passion,” and an “effortlessly clarion sound.”

“Calleja cut a suitably dashing, Byronesque figure and produced a big, bright, effortlessly clarion sound that rang to thrilling effect in Romeo’s balcony-scene cavatina ‘Ah! leve-toi, soleil!’ The Maltese tenor also summoned palpable anguish for his Act 3 finale ‘Ah! jour de deuil,’” wrote the Chicago Tribune. The Tribune also praised “the robust passion he poured into his portrayal of the doomed hero,” and noted that the “detailed direction” of the production allowed “[this] appealing singing [actor] to penetrate deeply into the music, French text, and dramatic scheme.”

“Joseph Calleja sings splendidly, reminiscent of Alfredo Kraus in quieter moments,” wrote New City Stage. Bachtrack added that the Maltese tenor “makes the role brawny and sympathetic, crackling from the first note with a megawatt tenor that doesn’t let up.” “When Joseph Calleja as Romeo (at performances through March 8) joins [Susanna Phillips as Juliet] in their first duet, it’s no less than pure joy to hear,” noted

Roméo et Juliette continues at Lyric Opera of Chicago with Joseph in the title role through March 8. Click here to see the trailer. 

February 17, 2016

Joseph Calleja returns to Metropolitan Opera in Rigoletto for 2016-17 season

As announced by the company earlier today, Joseph Calleja returns to the Metropolitan Opera for the 2016-17 season. The Maltese tenor revisits the role of the Duke of Mantova in the company’s revival of Rigoletto, starring in Michael Mayer’s Vegas-inspired production. Joseph sings opposite Olga Peretyatko as Gilda and Zeljko Lucic in the title role April 19, 22, and 27. Pier Giorgio Morando conducts.

Click here for Joseph’s schedule, and continue to check back for additional dates as more seasons are announced.

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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?