Press

July 12, 2012

Les Contes d’Hoffmann | The Metropolitan Opera via Fathom Events

MELANIE O’NEILL, EXAMINER.COM

“Calleja sang the role with impressive charisma for a debut role. His bright voice could carry a pretty tune, but also gush with passion when appropriate.”

 

May 1, 2012

La Bohème | Royal Opera House

DANIEL ROSS, THE ARTS DESK

Calleja’s admirably tempered aria “Che gelida manina” is far stronger than Giannattasio’s answering “Si, mi chiamano Mimi”, and the audience lets them know with their applause. Still, we’re engaged enough and invested thanks to Calleja and his cohorts (particularly the affably boyish charm of Fabio Capitanucci’s Marcello). Read more

March 15, 2012

The Maltese Tenor (CD-Review)

SCOTT BARNES, OPERA NEWS

“Calleja sings especially well in the French-language selections: in Faust, Hoffmann and Manon he manages the tricky feat of projecting plausible-sounding French without resorting to nasality or any restriction of his beautifully open sound…. Read more

January 15, 2012

Faust | The Metropolitan Opera, January 2012

ZACHARY WOOLFE, THE NEW YORK TIMES

January 15, 2012

“But there’s one good reason to revisit this “Faust”: the tenor Joseph Calleja, who has replaced Jonas Kaufmann in the title role. Mr. Calleja has one of the loveliest voices in opera right now, pure, sunny and strong, but with a ringing vibration — even the slightest quaver — at its core that comes across as vulnerable rather than unsteady. Faust’s floating exclamation “O merveille!,” when Méphistophélès grants him his first vision of youth, was all quiet astonishment; his great aria “Salut, demeure” was beautifully controlled.” Read more

October 25, 2011

“The Maltese Tenor” Launch at Le Poisson Rouge, October 2011

VIVIEN SCHWEITZER, THE NEW YORK TIMES

“Opera recitals are usually relatively formal affairs, so it was a treat to hear Mr. Calleja, 33, a tenor from Malta, in such an intimate space. He charmed the audience with jokes and anecdotes during the one-hour event, accompanied by Steven Mercurio conducting an orchestra squashed onto the small stage.” [...]

“Mr. Calleja’s passionate interpretations here were also distinguished by his beautiful phrasing, alluring in his ardent rendition of “E lucevan le stelle” from Puccini’s “Tosca,” and “Forse, la soglia attinse” from Verdi’s “Ballo in Maschera” and “Pourquoi me réveiller” from Massenet’s “Werther.””

July 25, 2011

Prom 13: Verdi Requiem | Royal Albert Hall

TIM ASHLEY, THE GUARDIAN

25 July 2011

“Calleja’s penetrating, elegant tenor was ravishing in both Ingemisco and Hostias…”

March 10, 2011

Lucia di Lammermoor | The Metropolitan Opera, 2011

MIKE SILVERMAN, ASSOCIATED PRESS

February 25, 2011

Tenor Joseph Calleja, in his third leading role at the Met this season, sang an Edgardo of exceptional elegance. In their Act 1 love duet, his honeyed tones blended beautifully with Dessay’s leaner sound. When he burst into the wedding scene to denounce Lucia for betraying him, his singing was anguished without ever turning strident. And Calleja was at his best in the final scene, when Edgardo pours out his grief in a heartbreaking two-part aria, before stabbing himself so he can join Lucia in death. This was golden age vocalism, pure and simple. Read more

January 10, 2011

Rigoletto | The Metropolitan Opera, January 2011

ROBERT LEVINE, CLASSICS TODAY

“The “veteran” in the group is Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja as the Duke of Mantua. Still in his early 30s, he has made quite a name for himself since his impressive debut at the Met in this same role in 2006. And happy to report, Mr Calleja has gained in stature and confidence while maintaining his always appealing, easily recognizable tone, with its fast vibrato and easy top notes. His smooth legato was always in evidence, particularly in his duet with Gilda and in his second act aria, where he genuinely seems to be in love with her. And he tossed off “La donna e mobile” almost conversationally. I can’t think of another tenor who sings this role better.” Read more

December 11, 2010

La Boheme | The Metropolitan Opera, December 2010

MIKE SILVERMAN, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

“Singing their roles for the first time here Wednesday night, Joseph Calleja as the poet Rodolfo and Krassimira Stoyanova as the tubercular seamstress Mimi managed to overcome these obstacles and give performances that were moving in their sincerity and directness. Calleja, a Maltese tenor still in his early 30s, has a voice unlike anyone else on the operatic scene today. A rapid vibrato gives his sound an alluring sweetness, and in recent years he has refined his technique so that the quality is consistent throughout his range, up to high C. On Wednesday, there was an irresistible tenderness to his utterances when he first sees how ill Mimi is. Though not the subtlest of actors, he entered into the stage business convincingly, joining gamely in his roommates’ high jinks and playing the part of a jealous lover when Mimi innocently flirts with passers-by.” Read more

December 10, 2010

Elisir d’amore | Bavarian State Opera, December 2010

KLAUS KAHLSCHMID, SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG

“After Giuseppe Filanoti and Pavol Breslik, Joseph Calleja has now stepped into the role as a dream casting, secure in singing and acting. Playing Nemorino as a kind of Chaplin-Keaton clown clone is not the thing for this tree of a man and his nobly vibrating timbre, And so in the costume and make-up and demeanor of a shy youngster we had the body of a giant. The not just marriage-hungry girls were allowed to undress him, and the sight of black, feel-good underwear instead of the usual body-hugging white variety – we could clearly hear it – still had plenty of impact on the ladies in the audience. He didn’t just sing his “Una furtiva lagrima” with infatuating beauty, but also managed the feat four meters up in the air on a lamp post.” Read more

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Joseph's Blog

September 10th, 2014

A summer festival in Malta?

I was more than a bit amused to read some negative reporting re the fact that the government sponsored my summer concert. Hundreds of thousand of euros, if not millions, were thrown around  and some went as far to state that I was “on the take” and part of the hundreds of thousands were directed to my pocket. The claims are so ridiculous and unfounded that, to date,  I didn’t even bother to point it out. For those unfamiliar with our island, Malta is ferociously bi-partisan it is inevitable that, for some at least,  everything has to be turned into a political football. Others simply measure by their own yardstick. For the record I got no remuneration by the government, whether directly or indirectly, in the deal they made with NNG promotions nor form part of same company.  To my knowledge, the funds are wisely spent on the filming, editing and international distribution of the concert creating an incredible advert for Malta. Should the government sponsor such initiatives? Of course it should- as what better advertisement can Malta have to increase the much coveted “cultural tourism”?

In Malta we have the curse but also the blessing of being very small. So small in fact that you can walk from one end of the island to the other in less than a day. And what a walk that would be. Despite our small size, our location – smack in the middle of the Mare Nostrum  – made sure that every major civilization left its mark throughout our 7000 year history. Natural resources are pretty much non existent and even for fresh water we have to turn to the sea. Still our island nation enjoys the most important resource of all – its people. Once you remove our petty and constant bickering which (surprise surprise) usually revolve around politics, the Maltese are a force to be reckoned with and a nation that shy away from challenges we are not. Most of us are at least bi-lingual , hard working, resourceful and good hearted. Talent is also another virtue that this island has and never before  did we have so many young budding artists on the verge of an international career. When I was studying to be an opera singer there was literally no one else on the scene on a professional level bar Miriam Gauci. Nowadays we have close to a dozen. Clare Ghigo, Nico Darmanin, Cliff Zammit Stevens, Joseph Lia, Nicola Said and Marvic Monreal are already chasing their dream in conservatories and colleges abroad. Nico Darmanin in particular is already performing professionally and has already debuted at the Royal Opera House. This from a nation of 400,000.

Indeed it is a time of renaissance for at least classical music in Malta. So many festivals whether in Gozo, the place of my very first performances,  or Valletta. In fact it is time that the government notices the elephant in the room and launch THE proper summer festival our island deserves. The raw material is in place already it just needs to be coordinated and a month long festival is really within our grasp and no there is no multi million euro outlay as we have the necessary infrastructure in place already.  Our airport and airline are top notch and hotels comparable to the best on mainland Europe. All that is needed is that nudge, the concentration of the laser beam, the proverbial pulling of the same rope and Malta could host a festival that would rival any in Europe. This government has won with such a majority that it should really use that majority to implement changes that no one had the courage to do before. Redundant boards and committees should be restructured or removed altogether. Competent people should be given executive power to effect necessary changes and not waste their time and energies navigating the endless meanders of bureaucracy caused by useless boards.

 

Last but not least lets give Malta its cultural home back and move ahead with a National Theatre/auditorium. I hear there are great plans for the MCC, now is the time to move forward and turn these plans into reality. We have so much to offer and it would be a great sin to miss out on this opportunity. I dream of the day when Valletta will turn into a major and globally renowned  artistic hub. Believe me when I tell you that we have what it takes.