1/24/2013, Smetana hall at Prague's Municipal House
“From Nessun dorma to Be My Love”
Joseph Calleja’s tribute to Mario Lanza
CD release & Concert Tour 2012-2013
Navarra Symphony Orchestra
Frédéric Chaslin – conductor
Blessed with a golden age voice that routinely inspires comparisons to “legendary singers from earlier eras: Jussi Björling, Beniamino Gigli, even Enrico Caruso” (Associated Press), the Maltese-born Joseph Calleja has become one of the most sought-after tenors on both sides of the Atlantic. At only 34 years of age, he has sung 28 principal roles and performed on most of the world’s leading opera stages, including New York’s Metropolitan Opera, London’s Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, and the Vienna Staatsoper. At the end of September he was named the 2012 Gramophone “Artist of the Year”.
Joseph Calleja kicked off the 2012-13 season at the world-famous Last Night of the BBC Proms in London’s Royal Albert. The September 8 concert featured the Calleja singing repertoire from his new Decca recording and is broadcast live on BBC radio, television, and online. On the opera stage this season, at the end of September Calleja returned to the Vienna State Opera as Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, and in December he sings in Munich’s Bavarian State Opera (Duke in a new production of Verdi’s Rigoletto). In a concert tour of Europe (January and February, 2013) he will perform selections from his CD Be My Love: A Tribute to Mario Lanza, stopping in London, Paris, Munich, Prague, Vienna, Amsterdam, and Baden-Baden. In March he will perform at the Lyric Opera of Chicago the role of Rodolfo in a new-to-Chicago production of Puccini’s La bohème opposite Anna Netrebko as Mimi. In May and June he will sing at the Oper Frankfurt (Riccardo in Un ballo in maschera) and Berlin Deutsche Oper (Nadir in a concert version of Bizet‘ Les pêcheurs de perles), and in July in Gasteig, Munich (Edgardo in a concert version of Lucia di Lammermoor) and at the Bavarian State Opera (Duke in Rigoletto).
Last season, Joseph Calleja was the featured soloist for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Stockholm, performed the title character in a new production of Gounod’s Faust at the Metropolitan Opera, and sang Rodolfo in his triumphant return to the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden. Other recent highlights have included his role debuts as the titular character in a new Bartlett Sher production of Les contes d‘Hoffmann at the Met and as Gabriele Adorno opposite Plácido Domingo as Simon Boccanegra at Covent Garden, the latter of which is now available as a DVD from EMI Classics.
An exclusive Decca Classics recording artist since 2003, Joseph Calleja’s first three albums of opera arias, The Golden Voice, Tenor Arias, and The Maltese Tenor captured both critical and popular acclaim. His third solo album, The Maltese Tenor, became the best-selling vocal album on the core classical charts in the U.K. and Germany and at number one on the Billboard Classical Traditional Chart in the U.S. The success of The Maltese Tenor was closely followed by Calleja’s first nomination for a Grammy Award, which he received in the category of Best Opera Recording for his portrayal of Alfredo in the Royal Opera House's production of La traviata. Recorded in the summer of 2009, the Opus Arte DVD features Renée Fleming as Violetta and Thomas Hampson as Germont. On his new solo recording, Be My Love: A Tribute to Mario Lanza, Calleja pays homage to the famous Italian-American singer and actor, whose film The Great Caruso inspired Calleja to pursue a career in opera.
In great demand as a concert artist, Calleja has toured throughout Germany both as a soloist and with soprano Anna Netrebko. Additionally, he has appeared in opera galas in Leipzig, the Hampton Court and Faenol Festivals in the UK with Bryn Terfel, and at the Sejong Cultural Center in Seoul, South Korea. Calleja has sung in Rossini’s Stabat Mater at the Festival de Música de Canarias; Verdi’s Requiem at London’s BBC Proms; and Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass at the Salzburg Easter Festival. As a recitalist, he has appeared in France, Romania, Japan, and his native Malta.
Born in Malta in 1978, Joseph Calleja began singing at the age of 16. After singing in his church choir, he began formal training with Maltese tenor Paul Asciak. Calleja made his professional debut in Malta in 1997 as Macduff in Macbeth, and later that year won an award in the Belvedere Hans Gabor competition, launching his international opera career. He went on to win the 1998 Caruso Competition in Milan and was a prizewinner in Domingo’s Operalia the following year. In February 2012, Calleja was named Malta’s first cultural ambassador.
At his Prague concert, Joseph Calleja’s partners will be Navarra Symphony Orchestra and conductor Frédéric Chaslin. The program will consist of two parts: opera arias in the first half (Puccini, Verdi, etc.) and Neapolitan songs followed by Hollywood songs in the second half.