Joseph Calleja
A young and exciting presence in today’s music world, Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja has established himself as one of the most promising artists of his generation. An exclusive Decca recording artist since 2003, his first two albums of opera arias captured critical and popular acclaim, and prompted Riccardo Chailly, with whom he collaborated on the first recording, to proclaim “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 albums were Editor's Choice in Gramophone Magazine, and the 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.”

Joseph Calleja begins the 2005-2006 season with his return to Frankfurt Opera in performances as Rodolfo in La boheme. Performances in Germany continue as he tours in concert with soprano, Anna Netrebko, and appears in an opera gala concert in Leipzig. Audiences at the Deutsche Oper Berlin see him in his first performances of the title role in Gounod’s Faust before he returns to Royal Opera, Covent Garden to reprise the role of Macduff in Verdi’s Macbeth.

The role of Macduff is also the vehicle for Mr Calleja’s return to the United States when he appears with Seattle Opera, and the tenor remains on the West coast as he makes his debut with Los Angeles Opera as Alfredo in La traviata. Other highlights of the tenor’s season include performances as Arturo in I Puritani with the Vienna Staatsoper, performances in opera and concert in his native Malta, as well as further concerts and recitals throughout Germany to conclude the season.

Joseph Calleja is well-known to audiences in the music capitals of the world. His engagements have taken him to virtually every major European city where he has appeared in twenty leading roles in theatres such as Royal Opera House – Covent Garden, the Vienna State Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper – Munich, Zurich Opera, Teatro Communale di Bologna, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and the Salzburg Festival.

Joseph Calleja made his debut with Royal Opera, Covent Garden as the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto, and he soon returned for performances as Alfredo in La Traviata. His debut at the Vienna State Opera was as Elvino in La Sonnambula, and he has since returned for performances as Arturo in I Puritani, the Duke in Rigoletto, and Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore. The tenor has appeared with Zurich Opera as Verdi’s Duke and as Elvino, and he appeared at the Salzburg Festival as Tebaldo in concert performances of I Capuleti e i Montecchi, conducted by Ivor Bolton. The Duke of Mantua was the vehicle for his debuts with the Bayerische Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Netherlands Opera, and Welsh National Opera, and the tenor recently returned to the Deutsche Oper Berlin for performances as Arturo in I Puritani. Audiences at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre de Liceu first saw Joseph Calleja as Donizetti’s Nemorino, and he first appeared with Dresden Semperoper and Frankfurt Opera as Rodolfo in La Boheme. Joseph Calleja soon returned to Frankfurt Opera for his first performances as Roméo in Roméo et Juliette.

The tenor’s German debut was as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni at the Regensburg Festival, and he recently returned to this role for his debut with the Teatre Principal, Majorca. His first appearance at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro was in the role of Lind in the world premiere of Azio Corghi's Isabella. Other highlights of recent seasons include performances as Alfredo in a new production of La Traviata at the Opera National du Rhin, Strasbourg; Ernesto in Don Pasquale in Brussels; Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia in Liege; Fenton in Falstaff at the Teatro Regio Torino; Edoardo di Sanval in Verdi’s Un giorno di regno in Bologna; the Duke in Rotterdam and Copenhagen; Rodolfo in La bohème for the Bregenz Festival; and Leicester in Maria Stuarda in Stockholm and Parma.

Calleja made his debut in the United States as Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi at the Spoleto Festival. Further appearances in the US include Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia for Washington Opera and Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor for Minnesota Opera. He made his Canadian debut as Rodolfo in La bohème in Toronto.

Joseph Calleja is also in great demand as a concert artist. He has toured throughout Germany in solo concerts and has appeared in several opera galas, including the Hampton Court and Faenol Festivals in the UK with Bryn Terfel as well as at the Sejong Cultural Center in Seoul, Korea. He has performed Rossini’s Stabat Mater at the Festival de Música de Canarias and Verdi’s Messa da Requiem, both with Riccardo Chailly and Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass at the Salzburg Easter Festival.

Born in Malta in 1978, Joseph Calleja began singing at the age of 16 and was discovered by the Maltese tenor Paul Asciak, with whom he continues to study. He made his professional debut in Malta in 1997 as Macduff in Macbeth and went on to become a prize winner in at the Belvedere Hans Gabor competition the same year. He later won the 1998 Caruso Competition in Milan and was a prize winner in Placido Domingo’s Operalia in 1999.