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Calleja dedicates aria to Caruana Galizia, donates fee after controversial concert appearance

Protestors hold London protest against passport scheme

World-renowned tenor Joseph Calleja dedicated an aria to slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and donated his fee to charity after his performance at a concert hosted by Henley & Partners sparked controversy. 

Mr Calleja was filmed approaching protestors who gathered outside the Drapers’ Hall in London on Friday objecting to him singing at an event organised by the controversial passport advisory firm, for which Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was invited.

In a Facebook post late on Friday, he said he had closed off the concert by dedicating the prayer from Verdi's Requiem Ingemisco to Ms Caruana Galizia.

Furthermore, he said all of his fee will be split in two and donated to the BoV Joseph Calleja foundation and to Our Lady Mother of God, Carmelite Monastry.

"The Archbishop, who was aware of my plans before the concert, will supervise the whole donation," he wrote.

Protestors wore masks depicting Joseph Muscat's face and waved copies of Maltese passports. They also flagged the tactics Henley and Partners tried to use against Ms Caruana Galizia when the company threatened to sue her if she did not stop writing about it.

Before entering the building, Mr Calleja walked over to talk to the protestors. "Even though I strongly disagreed with many of Daphne’s writings, the fact is that she is dead... I am not here to endorse Henley and Partners but to fulfil a commitment that was made years ago before all this hullabaloo."

He added: "I know you disagree with me and I understand completely... This isn't an endorsement of Henley & Partners. When I sang at the Commonwealth a couple of years ago, how many of the leaders in front of me were dictators and murderers who killed tons of people? I am here against the advice of all my lawyers and all my friends, because I am not only cultural ambassador when it suits me."

Video footage showed protestors mocking Malta's passport scheme.

"Get your Maltese citizenship here. We offer you a great price and a great deal – no questions asked...Buy your Maltese passport from the greatest salesman Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat," protestors were heard telling passers-by.

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