Joseph Calleja

“Only one lyric tenor on the scene today has the honeyed tone and ingratiating style to make comparisons to Pavarotti and Gigli seem serious, and it is Calleja, the man from Malta, who is now maturing into an artist of the first rank.” (New Yorker)

Blessed with a golden-age voice that routinely inspires comparisons to “legendary singers from earlier eras: Jussi Björling, Beniamino Gigli, even Enrico Caruso” (Associated Press), Maltese-born Joseph Calleja has quickly become one of the most acclaimed and sought-after tenors today. His expansive discography and frequent appearances on the world’s leading opera and concert stages prompted NPR to hail him as “arguably today’s finest lyric tenor,” and led to his being voted Gramophone magazine’s 2012 Artist of the Year. A Grammy-nominated recording artist for Decca Classics, he has released five solo albums for the label.

Calleja was only 19 when he made his operatic debut as Macduff in Verdi’s Macbeth at the Astra Theatre in Malta, shortly before winning an award in the Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition that launched his international career. He went on to win the 1998 Caruso Competition in Milan and was a prize winner in Plácido Domingo’s Operalia in 1999, the year of his U.S. debut at the Spoleto Festival. Since then Calleja has gone on to appear with the world’s great opera companies.

The 2021/22 season marks appearances in signature roles and exciting role debuts for Joseph Calleja. He kicks off the season with performing his signature rule Mario Cavaradossi (Tosca) at Zurich Opera. At Paris Opera Joseph Calleja celebrates his house debut performing the role of Duca (Rigoletto) before returning to the Metropolitan Opera as Mario Cavaradossi. At Deutsche Oper Berlin the tenor presents another acclaimed signature role of his – Rudolfo (La Bohéme) and sings Rodolfo at Hamburg State Opera for the revival of Luisa Miller. At Grange Park Opera Joseph Calleja stars in a new production of La Gioconda (Enzo) and finishes the season at Royal Opera House London with concert performances of Atilla (Foresto).

A sought-after concert soloist, Joseph Calleja can be heard on the best stages worldwide with his very broad repertoire. The tenor stars at the Festival Andorra before performing with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra at the InClassica Festival in Israel. As an acclaimed guest of Opera Naples in Florida, Joseph Calleja will return to perform at the houses gala concert after singing at the winter festival in Ljubljana. Invited as a special guest, the tenor will perform alongside Anna Netrebko at the 175th Anniversary concert at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona presenting many of both of their acclaimed signature roles.

Highlights of the 20-21 season were Joseph Calleja’s return to the Deutsche Oper Berlin as Enzo Grimaldo in concert performances of La Gioconda. He starred in the Metropolitan Opera’s new series of Met Stars Live in Concert together with Diana Damrau, performing at the at the Royal Palace of Caserta, Italy. The program featured popular arias and duets by Verdi, Bizet, Rossini. At the Teatro Real Madrid, the tenor had his house debut performing his signature role Mario Cavaradossi in performances of Tosca. An acclaimed concert soloist, Calleja presented his well-loved Lanza programme with the WDR Radio Orchestra at the Konzerthaus Dortmund after performing at the Opera Naple’s Festival under the Stars in Florida. Further, he stared in the renowned Open-Air Gala in from of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. Scheduled performances as Mario Cavardossi (Tosca) in Berlin and Chicago, as Duca (Rigoletto) and Riccardo (Un Ballo in Maschera) at the Bavarian State Opera Munich, Rodolfo (La Bohéme) at the Metropolitan Opera and Alfredo (La Traviata) in Toronto in 2020/21 were cancelled due to pandemic.

Highlights from recent operatic seasons include the title characters in new productions of Faust and Les Contes d’Hoffmann at the Metropolitan Opera; Alfredo in La traviata opposite Renée Fleming, Adorno in Simone Boccanegra alongside Plácido Domingo, and another turn in the title role of Faust at Covent Garden; new productions of La Bohème, opposite Anna Netrebko, and La Traviata at the Lyric Opera of Chicago; Maria Stuardaalongside Joyce DiDonato in concerts with the Deutsche Oper Berlin; and a new staging of Rigoletto at the Bavarian State Opera. He made his role debut as Riccardo in a new treatment of Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, as Don José in Carmen at Oper Frankfurt in a staging of Barrie Kosky, as Cavaradossi in Tosca at Grange Park Opera and portrayed Ruggero in Rolando Villazón’s staging of Puccini’s La Rondine at Deutsche Oper Berlin. Calleja appears extensively in concert throughout the world, singing with leading orchestras at summer festivals, including Salzburg, and in outdoor concerts in front of tens of thousands of people in Malta, Paris, and Munich. He was the featured soloist at the 2011 Nobel Prize Concert in Stockholm, was selected by the Maltese president to perform a private concert for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, and toured Germany with soprano Anna Netrebko.

As an exclusive Decca Classics recording artist since 2003, the tenor boasts an extensive discography that includes complete operas and concert repertoire, as well as six solo albums: The Golden Voice, Tenor Arias, The Maltese Tenor, Be My Love: A Tribute to Mario Lanza, Amore and The Magic of Mantovani. His rendition of the Verdi aria “La donna è mobile” is featured on the soundtrack of No Reservations, a 2007 motion picture starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart. He made his Hollywood debut in 2014’s The Immigrant, in which he portrays the legendary tenor Enrico Caruso in a cast with Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, and Jeremy Renner.

Born in Malta in 1978, Joseph Calleja began singing at the age of 16, first in his church choir and then in formal training with Maltese tenor Paul Asciak. One of his native land’s biggest celebrities, Calleja was selected to serve as Malta’s first cultural ambassador in 2012, and he was named a brand ambassador for Air Malta. Calleja recently teamed up with Malta’s Bank of Valletta to form the BOV Joseph Calleja Foundation, which will serve to help children and families in need. Calleja is the recipient of the 2014 International Opera Awards’ Readers’ Award.