St. Vincent de Paule residents treated to a private Joseph Calleja recital

Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja today gave a private recital during a visit to the elderly residents of the St. Vincent de Paule home.

The recital precedes Calleja’s annual summer concert in Malta. This Saturday, the tenor will welcome Italian pop star Riccardo Cocciante, the legendary Dionne Warwick and a host of other Maltese musicians on stage with him for what is promising to be the biggest musical event this summer.

The recital was made possible through a personal initiative of Calleja, who has always made it a priority to make classical music more accessible to all the Maltese. The initiative kicked off last year, when the tenor presented complimentary tickets to a number of children’s homes. The initiative proved to be a highly successful one, with some 300 children attending last year’s concert. Calleja has this year extended the initiative to include elderly people who cannot join him in Saturday’s concert. The recital, which was held at the St. Vincent de Paul theatre, was attended by a substantial number of residents in the home.

“It is both a dream and a priority of mine to make this beautiful music accessible to everyone, to people of all ages and all backgrounds. This is my way of giving something back to my fellow Maltese, by taking the music to those for whom, for a variety of reasons, it is not possible to attend the concert on Saturday. One of the greatest pleasures is making it possible for these people to enjoy the music,” said Calleja.

Calleja has gained immense respect not only for his natural ability as a Tenor but also for his continued efforts to widen the appeal of his Malta concerts to include audiences who would normally miss classical music events. Other initiatives include the setting up of the Joseph Calleja HSBC Children’s Choir and establishing low entry-level prices for the concerts he gives in Malta.

In the meantime, preparations at The Granaries in Floriana are in full swing for Saturday’s concert. NnG Promotions, who are organising the concert, announced that tickets in most seated areas have been completely sold out and that only a small number of general standing tickets and seated tickets remain available to the public.

This year’s concert will fuse elements of pop and classical. This experiment was carried out with great success for the first time last year when Calleja was joined on stage by singer Michael Bolton to the delight of thousands of Maltese fans. This summer, the line-up is equally stellar, with both Riccardo Cocciante and Dionne Warwick enjoying a strong following in Malta. Maltese tenor Maria Abela and singer Raquela will also be joining Calleja on stage.

The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by celebrated Maestro Paul Bateman, will also take part in the concert. Equally comfortable with both classical and lighter pop music, Bateman was a hit with the Maltese crowd when he first appeared on stage with Calleja and Bolton last year. A 500-strong children’s choir will also be taking part in the concert. An intensive rehearsal schedule for the choir is currently underway under the guidance of Soprano Gillian Zammit.

The few remaining general standing tickets for the concert are available from Agenda, Vodafone and Exotique outlets and from