The tenor comes home | Joseph Calleja

Next Saturday, international singers Gigi D’Alessio and Ronan Keating will join ‘the Maltese tenor’ Joseph Calleja for a long-awaited summer concert. We speak to Calleja about his undying loyalty to his Maltese audience and his plans for the (very busy) near future.

Joseph Calleja performing at the Granaries, Floriana in July 2010. Photo by Ray Attard.
Joseph Calleja performing at the Granaries, Floriana in July 2010. Photo by Ray Attard.

How does it feel to perform in Malta once again?

I give my best in all my performances around the world but there is certainly added pressure when I sing for my fellow countrymen. The expectation here is invariably high and since I do not appear that often, I have to basically ensure I am at my best on that one night.

What do you think of your co-performers this time around?

They both have a considerable following in Malta and we have a few nice surprises in what is a really beautiful program!

Throughout your career you've always strived to make opera more popular among the masses. Do you think you're succeeding with this, particularly when it comes to your Maltese listeners?

Undoubtedly there has been an increase in interest when it comes to classical music in Malta. I am sure that my summer concert played a part in this. At one point we had 500 children involved in the Joseph Calleja/HSBC choir. Just think of the domino effect that has caused in our small society.

How did feel like to return to Covent Garden for La Boheme? Are there any other shows you're looking forward to in the near future?

It is pretty incredible that I have been performing at the Royal Opera House for 10 years now having had my debut in Covent Garden way back in 2002 at the age of 23. I have built a great relationship with the administration and I'm happy that I have a considerable amount of projects linked with that opera house!