Tenor Joseph Calleja Joins All-Star Macbeth Cast to Open Met’s Live in HD Season Tomorrow (Oct 11), Embarks on First North American Recital Tour and More in 2014-15

Comment Off 53 Views

Tenor Joseph Calleja Joins All-Star Macbeth Cast to Open Met’s Live in HD Season 

Tomorrow (Oct 11), Embarks on First North American Recital Tour, 

and More in 2014-15


“Arguably today’s finest lyric tenor.”  — NPR


Following his Hollywood debut in The Immigrant early this year, Joseph Calleja returns to the silver screen this coming Saturday, October 11, when he appears as Macduff in a critically acclaimed, all-star cast of Verdi’s Macbeth to open the Met’s 2014-15 season of Live in HD broadcasts. The Maltese tenor has earned consistent acclaim for his role in Adrian Noble’s chilling production since his first New York appearance as Macduff in 2008. With Anna Netrebko singing her first American Lady Macbeth, Zeljko Lucić in the title role, René Pape as Banquo, and Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi on the podium, this most recent revival bowed last week to a profusion of positive press; Calleja proved himself “in ardent, excellent voice” (New York Times), and indeed, as the New York Classical Review noted,


“He stood out for his creamy, golden sound, quick vibrato, and ringing top notes, which showed not a blemish. His account of the heart-rending aria ‘O figli! O figli miei’ was the evening’s vocal highlight.”


The Maltese tenor is no stranger to the movies. His rendition of Verdi’s aria “La donna è mobile” features on the soundtrack of No Reservations, a 2007 film starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart, and he made his own motion picture debut in The Immigrant (2013), a “rich, beautifully rendered film” (Variety), in which – alongside Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner, and Academy Award-winner Marion Cotillard – Calleja “magnificently impersonates” (Hollywood Reporter) his idol Enrico Caruso in a scene on Ellis Island. This casting is especially apt, for it was after seeing The Great Caruso at just 14 that the Maltese tenor was first inspired to start formal vocal studies. In the 1951 biopic, Caruso is portrayed by Mario Lanza, to whom movie buff Calleja also pays tribute on his 2012 Decca release, Be My Love. A collection of arias and songs made popular by the beloved Italian-American singer-actor, the album includes “The Loveliest Night of the Year,” as sung by Lanza in The Great Caruso.


The day after his Live in HD appearance, Calleja takes part in the 2014 Richard Tucker Gala at Avery Fisher Hall, where he celebrates the great tenor’s legacy alongside Netrebko and other of his fellow operatic luminaries, with Emmanuel Villaume leading a program of favorite arias and ensembles that will be recorded for future broadcast on PBS-TV’s Live From Lincoln Center (Oct 12).


Calleja’s season continues with his first North American recital tour, highlighted by his appearance in Boston’s “Celebrity Series”; his role debut in a new production of Un ballo in maschera at the Royal Opera House and a return to the company’s La bohème as part of their international “Live Cinema Season”; a quartet of leading roles in Germany; and four European orchestral galas, including his Portuguese debut. 


Between Met Macbeth appearances (Sep 24–Oct 18), the Maltese tenor made time for a solo recital at Canada’s Club musical de Québec, which marked the launch of his first North American recital tour. Supported by pianist Kevin J. Miller, with whom he collaborated last season at the U.S. Supreme Court, Calleja presented a program of arias and songs including Tchaikovsky’s “None But the Lonely Heart,” Handel’s “Ombra mai fu,” the Kleinzach aria from Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Tosti’s “La serenata,” and – offering a taste of his current operatic role – Macduff’s aria from Macbeth. As Le Soleil reports, the Quebec audience was so “carried away by his effortlessly ample voice, which was warm and perfectly controlled,” that Calleja was prevailed upon to give a full five encores. Forthcoming dates on the tour include recitals at Kansas City’s Folly Theater (April 14) and Boston’s Jordan Hall (April 17).


It is Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor – which, like Macbeth, sports a Scottish setting – that takes Calleja back to the Met. In the tragic role of Edgardo, he partners new coloratura talent Albina Shagimuratova in a revival of Mary Zimmerman’s staging, conducted by Maurizio Benini (March 16–April 10). The tenor last starred in the same production with Natalie Dessay as his unhinged bride, when the New York Times declared:

“Joseph Calleja was sensationally ardent as Lucia’s lover, Edgardo, one of the best roles of his young, exciting Met career. … In this performance Donizetti’s structure finally made sense. It felt more like Edgardo’s tragedy than Lucia’s, so why not let him have the last, gorgeously eloquent word?”


He scored similar raves opposite Diana Damrau in Filippo Sanjust’s staging of the opera at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, to which he returns for two performances this season, this time with South African soprano Pretty Yende in the title role (Feb 1 & 6).


Another of the tenor’s signature roles is Rodolfo in Puccini’s La bohème, in which he has been justly celebrated at leading houses on both sides of the Atlantic. In John Copley’s take on the opera at Covent Garden, Calleja has already taken London by storm; The Independent marveled:


“Everything about his sound and delivery is personal – the openness, the portamenti, the gentle flutter of vibrato, the ‘covered’ pianissimo spun to glorious effect. … You know it’s special, you know you are in the presence of a little bit of operatic history.”


The tenor returns to the Royal Opera House this season, reuniting with Netrebko – his co-star last year in Puccini’s masterpiece at Lyric Opera of Chicago – to reprise his role in Copley’s staging, with Dan Ettinger on the podium (May 23–June 10). Now, for the first time, American audiences will have the chance to see his masterful Covent Garden performance when the closing night is shown in cinemas worldwide in the company’s Live Cinema Season series (June 10).


Calleja can also be seen at the Royal Opera House in a new production of Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera by Oper Dortmund’s Katharina Thoma. Making his role debut as Riccardo, the tenor will head another all-star cast that features both Liudmyla Monastyrska and Dmitri Hvorostovsky under the leadership of Daniel Oren (Dec 18–Jan 17).


He helps create another new production, this time by his fellow tenor Rolando Villazón, as Ruggero in Puccini’s La rondine at Deutsche Oper Berlin (June 29 & July 3). Also in Germany, at the Bavarian State Opera, Calleja resumes his star turn as Pinkerton in Wolf Busse’s staging of the Italian composer’s Madama Butterfly, with Kristine Opolais in the title role (Feb 21–26; July 13), and reprises the Duke of Mantua, the role that served as the vehicle for both his Met and Covent Garden debuts, in Árpád Schilling’s handling of Verdi’s Rigoletto (Nov 8–14).


The Maltese tenor rounds out his full 2014-15 line-up with high-profile orchestral galas in four European musical capitals. He collaborates with Kaspar Zehnder and the Orquesta Clásica Santa Cecilia at Madrid’s Auditorio Nacional de Música (Nov 18), makes his Portuguese debut with Frédéric Chaslin leading the Gulbenkian Orchestra at Lisbon’s Gulbenkian Grand Auditorium (Nov 21), and rejoins the French conductor in 2015 for a Viennese gala at the Wiener Konzerthaus (Jan 28) and an evening titled “Joseph Calleja’s Opera Passion: from Verdi to Puccini” with Het Gelders Orkest at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw (June 22).


Details of Joseph Calleja’s upcoming engagements follow, and more information is available at the web sites listed below.




Joseph Calleja: 2014-15 engagements


Sept 24, 26; Oct 3, 8, 11*, 15, 18

New York, NY

Metropolitan Opera

Macbeth (Macduff)

*Live in HD


Sept 29

Québec City, Canada

Club Musical de Québec



Oct 12

New York, NY

Lincoln Center (Avery Fisher Hall)

2014 Richard Tucker Gala


Nov 8, 11, 14

Munich, Germany

Bavarian State Opera

Rigoletto (Duke of Mantua)


Nov 18

Madrid, Spain

Auditorio Nacional de Música

Orquesta Clásica Santa Cecilia / Kaspar Zehnder

Gala concert with orchestra

Arias by Verdi, Puccini, Gounod, Tchaikovsky, and others
Nov 21

Lisbon, Portugal

Gulbenkian Grand Auditorium

Gala concert with orchestra

Gulbenkian Orchestra / Frédéric Chaslin


Dec 18, 22, 30; Jan 2, 6, 13, 17

London, England

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Verdi: Un ballo in maschera (Riccardo)


Jan 28

Vienna, Austria

Wiener Konzerthaus

Gala concert with orchestra
State Philharmonic Brno / Frédéric Chaslin


Feb 1 & 6 

Berlin, Germany

Deutsche Oper Berlin

Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor (Edgardo)


Feb 21, 23, 26

Munich, Germany

Bavarian State Opera

Puccini: Madama Butterfly (B. F. Pinkerton)


March 16, 19, 24, 28; April 1, 4, 7, 10

New York, NY

Metropolitan Opera

Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor (Edgardo)


April 14

Kansas City, MO

The Folly Theater



April 17

Boston, MA

Jordan Hall, Celebrity Series

Recital with Kevin J. Miller, piano


May 23, 27, 30; June 2, 5, 8, 10*

London, England

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Puccini: La bohème (Rodolfo)

*Live Cinema Season


June 22

Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Het Gelders Orkest / Frédéric Chaslin

Gala Concert with Orchestra


June 29; July 3

Berlin, Germany

Deutsche Oper Berlin

Puccini: La rondine (Ruggero)


July 13

Munich, Germany

Bavarian State Opera

Puccini: Madama Butterfly (B. F. Pinkerton)








#          #          #


© 21C Media Group, October 2014

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author

Editor of Don411.com Media website.
Free Newsletter Updated Daily