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Tenor Joseph Calleja joins 21C’s roster

21C Media Group is delighted to announce that it now represents Joseph Calleja, handling his media and public relations.  One of the most promising artists of his generation, the Maltese singer is already one of the tenors most sought after by leading opera houses on both sides of the Atlantic.  His recent successes include runs at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, where he “brought the house down” in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore (Classical TV) and “gave his all, singing with ardor, stamina, and poignant vocal colorings and winning a rousing ovation” in the title role of Bartlett Sher’s new production of Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann (Anthony Tommasini, New York Times).

Calleja opens the Houston Grand Opera’s 2010/11 season as Pinkerton in a new Michael Grandage production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.  He also returns to the Met in the coming season, reprising three of his signature roles: Rodolfo in La bohème, the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto, and, opposite Natalie Dessay’s Lucia, Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor (winter 2010 – spring 2011). 

Calleja’s upcoming international highlights include an appearance in the prestigious International Vocal Recital series at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall on May 28.   The tenor is no stranger to Canadian audiences, having made his debut with the Canadian Opera Company as Rodolfo in La bohème a decade ago, when he was only 22 years old. 

This summer, Calleja sings Gabriele Adorno in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra opposite Plácido Domingo in the title role at London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and at the BBC Proms.  It was after a previous Covent Garden performance – as Alfredo in La traviata – that the Times of London declared: “The Maltese tenor’s beautifully rounded voice oozes old-school class – he’s shiveringly good,” while the New York Times agreed: “He is the real thing, a tenor who naturally combines plaintive sound with burnished intensity.  He sings with heart and intelligence.”

An exclusive Decca recording artist since 2003, Calleja has released two albums of opera arias, collaborating on the first with Riccardo Chailly, who explained: “For some time I have not heard such a talent at this young age, with a sound harking back to a quality I thought we had long lost.”  Both discs were “Editor’s Choice” selections in Gramophone magazine, and the British Observer described Calleja as “a rare discovery, evoking memories from Caruso to Domingo with the suppleness of his tone and the expressive, highly individual lyricism he brings to even the most familiar material.”  Calleja’s next recording for Decca, an album of Italian and French arias, will be released within the next year.

The tenor also appears as Tebaldo on Deutsche Grammophon’s recent recording of Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi, featuring Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca.  As Voix des Arts explains, he “announces his presence among the best singers of our time with this performance. … Mr. Calleja here contributes what seems, on balance, the best Tebaldo on records by a considerable margin.”

Born in Malta in 1978, Joseph Calleja began singing at the age of 16, training with Maltese tenor Paul Asciak.  He made his professional debut in Malta in 1997 as Macduff in Macbeth and won an award in the Belvedere Hans Gabor competition later that year.  He went on to win the 1998 Caruso Competition in Milan and was a prizewinner in Plácido Domingo’s Operalia the following year.


Joseph Calleja’s upcoming engagements:

May 1, 8, 10, 13, & 16, 2010; Frankfurt, Germany
Frankfurt Alte Oper
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor (Edgardo)
May 28; Toronto, Canada
Recital: International Vocal Recitals
Roy Thomson Hall
June 29, July 2, 5, 13, & 15; London, UK
Verdi: Simon Boccanegra (Gabriele Adorno)
Royal Opera House
July 18; London, UK
Verdi: Simon Boccanegra (Gabriele Adorno)
BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall
July 24; Floriana, Malta
Gala Concert with Dionne Warwick and Claudio Baglioni
October 22, 24, & 30, November 2 & 5; Houston, TX
Puccini: Madama Butterfly (Pinkerton)
Houston Grand Opera
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
June 9 & 12; Tokyo, Japan
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor (Edgardo)
Metropolitan Opera on tour
Bunka Kaikan
June 17 & 19; Tokyo, Japan
Puccini: La bohème (Rodolfo)
Metropolitan Opera on tour
NHK Hall

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© 21C Media Group, May 2010

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