Joseph Calleja

Discussion of contemporary singers: Jonas Kaufmann, Juan Diego Flórez, Anna Netrebko, etc.
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Orestes
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Joseph Calleja

Postby Orestes » 11 Feb 2016, 19:48

What do you think about the Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8SlQj6R1JI

Here he sings Oronte's aria from Lombardi alla prima crociata

TifosoBonisolli
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Re: Joseph Calleja

Postby TifosoBonisolli » 12 Feb 2016, 13:23

The three comments on Youtube say it all - his rendition of this aria is a complete failure, unfortunately. It's an example for his chewing and pushing (particularly the high) notes instead of placing them straightly and forwardly - just look at the grimaces he is forced to make to reach those notes at all. It's a pity because basically, he is producing what is perhaps the most beautiful tone among modern tenors. However, if you're *that* unable to sing a difficult aria like this one, just don't.
On the positive side, I found his vocal placement greatly improved in the meantime, and when I last saw him (two or so years ago), he was surprisingly excellent in Madama Butterfly.
Ah yes, and for comparison and recovery, this is how "La mia letizia" is properly done: http://redmp3.cc/6507551/leon-escalais- ... tizia.html.

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shutko
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Re: Joseph Calleja

Postby shutko » 12 Feb 2016, 17:18

He reminds me of Giuseppe Morino, with a smaller tighter voice...

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Pawelot
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Re: Joseph Calleja

Postby Pawelot » 13 Feb 2016, 08:26

That "La mia letizia" video is a decade old (from 2006!) and I know he was actually almost too sick to sing that night. He had flu/a heavy cold. His voice is radiant and produced with a freedom that is pretty rare nowadays. It's a bit of a modernized old school sound. He is of course a lyric and I think he should mostly stay in that repertory.

For something more recent, see this:



He's also been singing professionally since 19, and if you really want to dig up old material, here's Joseph Calleja at Operalia 1999. He was only 21(!) here.


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Aureliano
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Re: Joseph Calleja

Postby Aureliano » 13 Feb 2016, 17:08

I am not going to comment on Joseph specifically. I know Joseph a little bit so I have biases (in one direction or another!) that I simply can't avoid, somewhat making my opinion meaningless. What I will say is this though, and I think it a very serious point that gets almost completely ignored by so much of fandom: Being an opera singer in the current era is a fiendishly difficult proposition. The demands of what we must do, from travel, to rehearsal, to production and staging difficulties - make it very provably a more damaging career for the health of the voice then even 20 or 30 years ago. Certainly true when compared to 50+ years ago. Not to make excuses, but the point of what I am saying is that with all the exposure now on youtube etc. upwards of 80, 90% of what we perform live is now available for everybody to digest, and truly a lot of the time we are singing in compromised situations, in regards to health or whatehaveyou. So, for any given modern singer it is really far too easy to find one's best performance and also one's worst performance. I could cherry pick a dozen terrible nights for any tenor, and make all sorts of conclusions. It is a very difficult, but noble thing to do if we can all try to understand the modern demands and try to limit critique to the "high water marks" set by current singers, not the "low tides". I consider the example at the top of this thread as somewhat of a low water mark. I propose it be simply dismissed as an outlying statistic.

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LaGioconda
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Re: Joseph Calleja

Postby LaGioconda » 14 Feb 2016, 13:19

Absolutely agree that this is one of Calleja´s worst recordings - also given that he was sick, that´s not a good recording to judge him. We have been talking about him also elsewhere, where I have already stated my opinio.

BUT... - Aureliano has thrown a point in here which is well worth discussing.
Yes YT is both boone and bane of "modern" singers. What Aureliano said is true just as much as the fact, that even very mediocre singers get a LOT of attention worldwide by spreading recordings via YT. So it works both ways.

I fully agree that having a career today is much more challenging than 50 of 100 years ago: (too much) travelling, big houses, big orchestras, way too much marketing stuff to do...
STILL - every singers must make his own choices and take his own responsibilities. Nobody on earth can force him to sing or appear much too often. If a singer decides to give too much responsibility and decisions out of hand - that´s his choice.
But as a member of an audience I have no intention of bearing in mind in every performance that: a singer might not feel well / a family member is sick / the dog is sick / worrying about his mum, his children / has not eaten well yesterday / is lovesick - whatever. Of course, this will well BE so actually (and it has been that way also in earlier times) , but every performing artist should have enough professionalism also give a decent performance when you´re not feeling 100% well. When are there ever 100%.....?
No doubt, singers have nights off. But if 7 out of 10 nights are off - for whatever reason...!! - then something is wrong... Just saying...

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Orestes
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Re: Joseph Calleja

Postby Orestes » 14 Feb 2016, 18:28

The Calleja clip was a decade old - yes, but he was singing at the MET already at that point. Last year, I saw his Rodolfo at the London Royal Opera House. He had the same problems as in the "Letizia" clip, eg. nervous vibrato, the high C in the Che gelida manina was shaky and in the ensemble scenes, he became from an acting standpoint of view totally insignificant.

He had some moments of sensitive and caressing singing, like the act IV Duet - and his voice carried well throughout the auditorium.

The Rigoletto clip was fine. And Pawelot, you are probably right - I think it would probably be a wise choice for him to remain in lyric roles. But seems to me he chose heavier parts instead. Instead of Almaviva, Duca and Nemorino he sings Don José, Adorno, Riccardo and Roméo according to his schedule (http://josephcalleja.com/schedule/).

And Aureliano and LaGioconda - what you say makes sense. The career is in some ways harder for a singer today, especially for young singers, albeit when you are as established as Calleja is - there is some benifits. He has a fan base and can chose the roles he want to sing five years ahead of time. This also a weak side of modern opera, no one can stop ailing famous singers. For instance, if Domingo had been at this phase of his career he is now 60 years ago - Bing would never allow him to sing Boccanegra at the MET.

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Pantenor
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Re: Joseph Calleja

Postby Pantenor » 15 Feb 2016, 19:15

He's a good tenor. He lost his machine gun vibrato a long time ago. He just never secured his top, especially high C and higher. The high B is there, most of the time.


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