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Night at the popera

Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja returned to his Floriana stage on Saturday night for a concert before thousands of people on the Granaries.

The annual concert by the internationally-renowned tenor is held every summer, bringing together pop and opera. The formula is a crowd-pleaser year in, year out.

This year’s line-up included the Neapolitan singer-songwriter Gigi D’Alessio and Irish heart-throb and former Boyzone lead singer Ronan Keating. Both performed duets with Mr Calleja. The 200-strong HSBC children’s choir also took part.

Among the best received numbers were Hallelujah, sung jointly by Calleja, Keating and the choir – which got an encore – as well as Because You’re Mine, You Raise Me Up and Brindisi.

Keating’s single When You Say Nothing at All, which was featured in the film Notting Hill and peaked at number one in several countries, got a huge cheer from the audience.

The choir was particularly applauded for its beautiful rendering of the Anvil Chorus, which kicked off the second part of the concert.

Several of the musical arrangements were made by Kevin and Paul Abela

Mr Calleja was also joined on stage by soprano Gillian Zammit and Amber, fresh from the Eurovision Song Contest where she was part of Kurt Calleja’s team.

The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra was directed by the internationally acclaimed conductor Steven Mercurio, who has collaborated with Mr Calleja on his new album, a tribute to opera star Mario Lanza.

The concert included a moving tribute to Lucio Dalla, who was in Malta last year shortly before he passed away suddenly.

The concert was organised by NnG Promotions and supported by HSBC, Vodafone and Allied Newspapers.

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