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Andrea Bocelli sings Joseph Calleja’s praises

Legendary voice will sing at Maltese tenor's yearly concert at the Granaries

Joseph Calleja performing in Surrey, England, in Grange Park Opera’s production of Tosca in June.

Joseph Calleja performing in Surrey, England, in Grange Park Opera’s production of Tosca in June.

Legendary tenor Andrea Bocelli has hailed Joseph Calleja as “one of the greatest protagonists of the current lyrical scene” as the two prepare to share the stage in Malta next month.

“The quality of his vibrato, the sweetness of his timbre, the sensitive approach in his interpretations make him a complete artist able to meet and fulfil the de-mands required by the great operatic masterpieces,” Mr Bocelli told The Sunday Times of Malta.

The Italian tenor will be the special guest at this year’s edition of Mr Calleja’s annual concert, to be held on August 19 at the Granaries in Floriana and marking 20 years since his opera debut.

“I feel particularly privileged to sing with him in this great concert that will celebrate his 20th anniversary and am happy to vouch for my admiration and friendship personally when I join him on stage in his beloved Malta – a land that shares a lot with Italy, including its geography, history, culture and a natural inclination towards beauty of nature and art.”

Andrea Bocelli describes Calleja as a complete artist.Andrea Bocelli describes Calleja as a complete artist.

Mr Calleja made his stage debut at the Astra Theatre aged 19, playing Macduff in Verdi’s Macbeth – the same role that began Mr Bocelli’s own career.

Having studied under the tutelage of the late Paul Axiak, he then began a glittering career that has taken him to the world’s most renowned venues and seen him sing 33 leading roles to date.

He will return to Malta for his much-anticipated concert next month, fresh from an acclaimed performance as Cavaradossi in Puccini’s Tosca with Grange Park Opera in the UK.

Mr Calleja was specifically sought for the performance, which inaugurated the company’s new opera house in Surrey, and critics described his casting as a major coup.

“This was truly a night of firsts – my first Cavaradossi, the first time I inaugurated a new opera house and definitely the first time I was (accidentally) punched on stage during the torture scene,” Mr Calleja said after his opening performance.

August’s concert will also feature the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and the BOV Joseph Calleja Children’s Choir under the direction of Gillian Zammit.

Access to the standing area is free of charge, while seated tickets, which start from €80, are available at www.showshappening.com or ticket freephone 7926 5066. The concert is organised by NnG Promotions.

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