Press Room

Joseph Calleja headlines major international productions in 2013-14

Gramophone Artist of the Year Joseph Calleja – described as “an artist of the first rank” (New Yorker), “the real thing(New York Times), and “shiveringly good” (The Times of London) – is “arguably today’s finest lyric tenor” (NPR). The coming season sees him headline major productions on both sides of the Atlantic, with returns to New York’s Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, London’s Royal Opera House, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and the Vienna and Bavarian State Operas. In concert the Maltese tenor looks forward to making high-profile gala appearances at London’s BBC Proms and Royal Festival Hall as well as in Paris and Moscow, while two Decca releases – his solo album Amore and a live recording of Simon Boccanegra – will soon expand the Grammy-nominee’s already extensive discography. Calleja also portrays Enrico Caruso, the legendary tenor to whom his voice routinely inspires comparisons, in The Immigrant, a new film starring Joaquin Phoenix and Marion Cotillard.
In Verdi: Alfredo, Adorno, Macduff and the Duke of Mantua
The coming season is highlighted by four of the Maltese tenor’s celebrated Verdi roles. It was his portrayal of Alfredo in La traviata that inspired the New York Times to declare: “He is the real thing, a tenor who naturally combines plaintive sound with burnished intensity. He sings with heart and intelligence,” and that, in a live recording from Covent Garden, scored him his first Grammy Award nomination. Now the tenor returns to Lyric Opera of Chicago to resume the role in a new staging of Verdi’s masterpiece by Arin Arbus (Nov 20–Dec 20). The tenor also sings Alfredo at the Bavarian State Opera, where his co-stars include Diana Damrau and Simon Keenlyside (July 4–10).
When Calleja sang Adorno in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra opposite Thomas Hampson at the Vienna Konzerthaus last season, the Kurier exclaimed, “What a voice, what poetry, what melodiousness, what radiance!” Their performances were recorded for international release on the Decca label this fall, when Calleja and Hampson will both reprise their roles at the Vienna State Opera (Sep 27–Oct 4).
The tenor was just 19 when he made his operatic debut as Macduff in Macbeth at Malta’s Astra Theatre, and the new season sees him embody the role again at the Munich Opera Festival, in an all-star cast with Keenlyside, Anna Netrebko, and Ildar Abdrazakov (June 27; July 1).
Also in Munich, Calleja revisits the Duke of Mantua – the role that served as the vehicle for both his Met and Covent Garden debuts – in two upcoming presentations of Rigoletto at the Bavarian State Opera (Oct 12–18; May 3–9).
In Puccini: Rodolfo and Pinkerton
The tenor has long received rave reviews as Puccini’s Rodolfo and he scored another triumph with his most recent embodiment of the role at Chicago’s Lyric Opera. The Chicago Tribune concluded:
“It was wonderful…to have Calleja back, especially in a part that’s so congenial for him vocally and that he inhabits with such winning energy. The tenoral sound he poured out on Saturday was gleaming, even and powerful, its quick vibrato apt for conveying Rodolfo’s passionate and volatile nature. … Calleja earned the torrent of applause he received.”
Calleja revisits this portrayal when he returns to the Metropolitan Opera in the iconic Zeffirelli production of La bohème that marks his first New York performances of the season (Jan 14–30).
The tenor takes on another of Puccini’s leading men in one of five upcoming engagements at the Bavarian State Opera, where he sings Pinkerton opposite Ana María Martínez in Madama Butterfly (June 12–19).
In Gounod (Faust), Offenbach (Hoffmann), and Donizetti (Leicester):
In the first of two title roles in 2013-14, Calleja returns to the Royal Opera House to headline Gounod’s Faust – in which he was “in golden voice” (Associated Press) at the Met last season – in a revival of Sir David McVicar’s lavish production. He heads a stellar cast that also includes Netrebko, Keenlyside, and Bryn Terfel (April 4–25).
For his second title character of the new season, the tenor revisits another of his Met successes – the part in which he impressed the New York Times with his “ardor, stamina, and poignant vocal colorings” – in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann at the Bavarian State Opera (Feb 8–14).
In concert performances at Deutsche Oper Berlin, Calleja sings one of his great Donizetti heroes, Roberto, Earl of Leicester, opposite Joyce DiDonato in Maria Stuarda (June 4 & 7).
In concert:

After making a special guest-star appearance at 2012’s Last Night of the Proms, when his “artistry…was a delight” (Independent, UK), Calleja returns to the London festival for two performances to close out the summer. First he headlines a gala concert at the Royal Albert Hall to celebrate Verdi’s 200th birthday (Sep 5), and then marks the Last Night of the Proms in an open-air concert at Hyde Park, where he joins violinist Nigel Kennedy and Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music (and now Great Gatsby) fame (Sep 7).
The tenor’s other notable concert engagements over the coming season include Verdi arias with Daniele Gatti and the Orchestre National de France at Paris’s Théâtre des Champs-Élysées (Sep 19); a program of favorite arias with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at London’s Royal Festival Hall (April 29); a gala concert at Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Concert Hall (Feb 25); and performances of Verdi’s Requiem with Antonio Pappano leading the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in London (May 18) and Birmingham (May 16).
On disc and in film:
A Decca artist, Calleja’s third solo disc, The Maltese Tenor, debuted as the best-selling classical vocal recording on the core classical charts in the UK and Germany. Now September sees the European release of Amore, his new album of romantic arias and songs, scheduled for U.S. release in mid-October. The Vienna Konzerthaus Simon Boccanegra is also due for release in the fall.
The tenor makes his motion picture debut in James Gray’s new film The Immigrant, which premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Slated to open in theaters this fall, the “rich, beautifully rendered film” (Variety) stars Academy Award-winner Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, and Jeremy Renner. Calleja “magnificently impersonates” (Hollywood Reporter) peerless Italian tenor Enrico Caruso in a scene on Ellis Island. The casting is especially fitting, for it was after seeing the film The Great Caruso at the age of 14 that Calleja was first inspired to start formal vocal studies.
Details of Joseph Calleja’s upcoming engagements follow, and more information is available at the web sites listed below.
Joseph Calleja: 2013-14 engagements
Sep 5
London, England
BBC Proms
Royal Albert Hall
Verdi Gala
Sep 7
London, England
BBC Proms
 “In The Park”
Sep 19                  
Paris, France
Orchestre National de France / Gatti
Théâtre des Champs Élysées
Verdi: arias
Sep 21
Istanbul, Turkey
Sep 27; Oct 2, 4
Vienna, Austria
Wiener Staatsoper
Verdi: Simon Boccanegra (Adorno)
Oct 12, 15, 18
Munich, Germany
Bayerische Staatsoper
Verdi: Rigoletto (Duca)
Nov 20, 27, 30; Dec 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 20
Chicago, Illinois
Chicago Lyric Opera
Verdi: La traviata (Alfredo)
Jan 14, 18, 22, 25, 30
New York, NY
Metropolitan Opera
Puccini: La bohème (Rodolfo)
Feb 8, 11, 14
Munich, Germany
Bayerische Staatsoper 
Offenbach: Tales of Hoffmann (Hoffmann)
Feb 25
Moscow, Russia
Tchaikovsky Concert Hall
March 1
Helsinki, Finland
Music Centre
March 8               
Puerto Rico
Concert with Yali-Marie Williams
April 4, 7, 11, 14, 17, 22, 25
London, England
Royal Opera House
Gounod: Faust (Faust)
April 29
London, England
Royal Festival Hall
May 3, 6, 9
Munich, Germany
Bayerische Staatsoper
Verdi: Rigoletto (Duca)
May 16
Birmingham, England
Symphony Hall
Santa Cecilia Orchestra / Pappano
Verdi: Requiem
May 18                                   
London, England
Royal Festival Hall
Santa Cecilia Orchestra / Pappano
Verdi: Requiem
June 4, 7
Berlin, Germany
Deutsche Oper Berlin
Donizetti: Maria Stuarda in concert (Leicester)
June 12, 14, 19                                
Munich, Germany
Bayerische Staatsoper
Puccini: Madama Butterfly (Pinkerton)
June 27; July 1                                  
Munich, Germany
Bayerische Staatsoper
Verdi: Macbeth (Macduff)
July 4, 7, 10
Munich, Germany
Bayerische Staatsoper
Verdi: La traviata (Alfredo)
July 12
Losheim-am-See, Germany
Losheim Klassik Open Air
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© 21C Media Group, August 2013

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