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Calleja makes Toronto recital debut & returns to Met

“The Maltese-born Calleja…has matured into one of the finest lyric tenors before the public today,” declared the Associated Press last month following his stellar performance in Houston Grand Opera’s new, season-opening production of Madama Butterfly.  Now Calleja turns his sights on Toronto, where he will make his recital debut at Roy Thomson Hall tonight (Friday, November 19), and the Metropolitan Opera, where he will perform three leading Italian roles between December and March. 
In spite of portraying a character so contemptible that it is frequently subject to booing by audiences, “[Calleja] brought all the ardor and beauty of tone one could wish for to the role of Pinkerton,” the Associated Press’s Mike Silverman elaborated in his review of Houston’s Butterfly.  “In fact, so sweet and alluring is the sound of his vibrato-driven voice that he made the arrogant lieutenant less despicable than he often seems.”  The Houston Chronicle agreed, saying that in the production, which marked the 32-year-old singer’s company debut as well as the American operatic debut of director Michael Grandage, “tenor Joseph Calleja…confirms himself a major star … [He] sings with such range, such ease and such a rolling, robust sound that every phrase is pure pleasure to hear.” 
Joseph Calleja is no stranger to Toronto audiences, having made his debut with the Canadian Opera Company as Rodolfo in La bohème a decade ago, when he was only 22.  For the November 19 performance, which is part of the prestigious International Vocal Recital series at Roy Thomson Hall, Calleja will offer a program of French and Italian opera arias and songs, and he will be joined on stage by pianist John Hess.  (Further details are at the venue’s web site, listed below.)
Despite his young age, Calleja has already performed 28 leading roles in opera houses around the world.   This season Calleja sings three of his favorites pieces from the Italian operatic repertoire at the Metropolitan Opera: Rodolfo in La bohème (December 1 – 11), Edgardo opposite Natalie Dessay in Lucia di Lammermoor (February 24 – March 19), and the role in which he made his house debut in 2006, the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto (January 11 – 27).  The March 19 performance of Lucia will be transmitted live to movie theatres around the world as part of “The Met: Live in HD” series.  Last season at the Met, Calleja made his role debut as the title character in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman in a new production by the Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher.  Of Calleja’s performance, the New York Times wrote that he “gave his all, singing with ardor, stamina, and poignant vocal colorings and winning a rousing ovation.”
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Joseph Calleja: upcoming appearances

November 19; Toronto, Canada
Recital: International Vocal Recitals
Roy Thomson Hall

December 1, 4, 8, & 11; New York City
Puccini: La bohème (Rodolfo)
Metropolitan Opera House

January 11, 15, 18, 22, & 27, 2011; New York City
Verdi: Rigoletto (Duke of Mantua)
Metropolitan Opera House
February 24 & 28, March 4, 8, 12, 16, & 19; New York City
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor (Edgardo)
Metropolitan Opera House
April 6, 10, & 24; Berlin, Germany
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor (Edgardo)
Deutsche Oper
April 14; Turkey, Istanbul
Orchestra recital
May 13, 16, 20, & 24; Munich, Germany
Puccini: La bohème (Rodolfo)
Bayerische Staatsoper
June 9 & 12; Tokyo, Japan
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor (Edgardo)
Metropolitan Opera Japan Tour
Tokyo Bunka Kaikan Music Palace
June 17 & 19; Tokyo, Japan
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor (Edgardo)
Metropolitan Opera Japan Tour
NKH Hall

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