Joseph Calleja |

Joseph Calleja |

Joseph Calleja

Date of birth
Voice type

Joseph Calleja |

The owner of the “golden age voice” for which he is usually compared to the legendary singers of the past: Jussi Björling, Beniamino Gigli, even Enrico Caruso (Associated Press), Joseph Calleja in a short time has become one of the most famous and sought-after tenors of our day.

Joseph Calleia was born in 1978 on the island of Malta. Only at the age of 16 did he become interested in singing: he initially sang in the church choir, then began to study with the Maltese tenor Paul Asciak. Already at the age of 19, he made his debut as Macduff in Verdi’s Macbeth at the Astra Theater in Malta. Shortly thereafter, the young singer won the prestigious Hans Gabor Belvedere vocal competition in Vienna, which gave impetus to his international career. In 1998, he won the Caruso Competition in Milan, and a year later, Placido Domingo’s Operalia in Puerto Rico. In the same 1999, the singer made his debut in the USA, at the festival in Spoleto. Since then, Calleja has been a regular guest at major theaters around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Lyric Opera Chicago, Covent Garden, Vienna State Opera, Liceu Theater in Barcelona, ​​Dresden Semperoper, Frankfurt Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Bavarian State Opera opera in Munich.

Today, at the age of 36, he has already sung lead roles in 28 operas. Among them are the Duke in Rigoletto and Alfred in Verdi’s La Traviata; Rudolph in La bohème and Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly; Edgar in Lucia di Lammermoor, Nemorino in Potion of Love, and Lester in Donizetti’s Mary Stuart; title roles in Faust and Romeo and Juliet by Gounod; Tybalt in Bellini’s Capuleti and Montagues; Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. He also sang the role of Linda in the world premiere of Azio Corgi’s Isabella at the Rossini Festival in Pesaro (1998).

Regular performances at the world’s finest opera stages and concert halls, as well as an extensive discography, have led US National Public Radio (NPR) to name Calleia “undoubtedly the finest lyric tenor of our time” and Gramophone magazine’s “Artist of the Year” vote in 2012. .

Kalleia constantly performs with concert programs around the world, sings with leading orchestras, receives invitations to many summer festivals, incl. in Salzburg and at the BBC Proms, performed at open-air concerts in front of tens of thousands of listeners in Malta, Paris and Munich. In 2011, he participated in a gala concert dedicated to the Nobel Prizes in Stockholm, was chosen by the President of Malta to perform in front of Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, toured Germany with Anna Netrebko, sang solo concerts in Japan and in many European countries.

Since making his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 2006 in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, Calleia has received numerous engagements at the theatre, notably the title roles in Gounod’s Faust in the 2011/12 season (staged by Desmond Makanuf) and in Tales Hoffmann” by Offenbach (staged by Bartlet Sher). At Covent Garden he made his debut as the Duke in Rigoletto, then appeared on stage in La Traviata as Alfred (with René Fleming) and Adorno in Simone Boccanegra (with Plácido Domingo). At the Vienna State Opera, in addition to roles in operas by Verdi, he sang the roles of Roberto Devereux and Nemorino in operas by Donizetti, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Elvino in La sonnambula and Arthur in Bellini’s Puritani. Not so long ago, Calleia graced with his art a new production of Rigoletto at the Bavarian State Opera.

Calleia co-headlined the closing concert at the BBC Proms in 2012, and a year later closed the festival with two performances: at the Verdi 200th Anniversary Gala at the Royal Albert Hall, and then at the closing concert at Hyde Park, along with violinist Nigel Kennedy and pop singer Bryan Ferry. The singer’s other engagements in the 2013/14 season included a concert of works by Verdi at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris (with the Orchester National de France conducted by Daniel Gatti); concert at London’s Royal Festival Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; “Requiem” by Verdi with the Orchestra of the Academy of Santa Cecilia in London and Birmingham (conductor Antonio Pappano).

Opera engagements in 2013/14 include a new production of La Traviata at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, La bohème directed by Franco Zeffirelli at the Metropolitan Opera, Simon Boccanegra at the Vienna State Opera (with Thomas Hampson in the title role, performance recorded on Decca Classics ), “Faust” in Covent Garden (in ensemble with Anna Netrebko, Simon Keenleyside and Bryn Terfel), the performance of the five main roles on the stage of the Bavarian State Opera (Duke in “Rigoletto”, Alfred in “La Traviata”, Hoffmann in “The Tales of Hoffmann” , Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Macduff in Macbeth).

Since 2003, Calleia has been the exclusive artist of Decca Classics. He has an extensive discography on this label, including recordings of operas and concert repertoire, as well as five solo discs: Golden Voice, Tenor Arias, Maltese Tenor, Be My Love (“Homage to Mario Lanz”, Amore. Performance of “La Traviata” Covent Garden, in in which Calleia shines with R. Fleming and T. Hampson, was released on DVD (on the Blu-ray label).In 2012, Calleia was nominated for a Grammy as an artist of Decca Classics.

Not so long ago, the singer made his debut in Hollywood: in the film “The Immigrant” he played the legendary Enrico Caruso (in other roles – Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner). However, his voice has sounded in films before: in the film “Taste of Life” (No Reservations, 2007, starring C. Zeta-Jones and A. Eckhart), he performs the Song of the Duke La donna é mobile from “Rigoletto” by J. Verdi.

The Maltese singer has been the subject of articles in publications such as the New York Wall Street Journal and the London Times; his photo adorned the covers of many magazines, incl. Opera news. He frequently appears on television: on CNN’s Business Traveler, BBC’s Breakfast, The Andrew Marr Show on BBC 1, and is a member of numerous television concerts.

One of the most famous Maltese, Joseph Calleja was elected the first cultural ambassador of Malta in 2012, is the face of Air Malta and the founder (together with the Malta Bank of Valletta) of the BOV Joseph Calleja Foundation, a charitable foundation that helps children and low-income families.

Source: Moscow Philharmonic website

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